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EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Consult and manage the list of search results

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Each document or legislative procedure is displayed with a set of metadata. If you are a registered user, you can customise the display of the result list in your search preferences

If you are not a registered user or if you are not signed in, the following default metadata are displayed:

For documents:

  • identifier (CELEX number, e.g. 31994D0295) and title
  • publication reference (e.g. OJ L 130, 25/05/1994, p.43-63);
  • type of act (form);
  • ‘direct text access’ links in the language of the search;
  • author;
  • date of the document.

For legislative procedures:

  • procedure reference (e.g. 2013/0259/NLE);
  • title;
  • initial reference (e.g.: COM (2013) 531);
  • initiating document (usually a CELEX number with link, e.g. 52013PC0531);
  • adopted acts – if any (usually a CELEX number with link).

Using the tools available at the top of the search result list or on the left-hand side, you can:

  • refine your search query (filter) by domain, year of document, author, etc. using the clickable filters (links) on the left-hand side;
  • edit your search ;
  • edit in expert search ;
  • save the criteria of your searches using ‘Save to my searches’ (registered users only; select documents by clicking the box next to the titles) ;
  • create a feed in ‘My RSS feeds’ (registered users only) ;
  • save and organise documents in folders using ‘Save to my items’ (registered users only) ;
  • change the sort order of the list using the drop-down menus;
  • export selections /export all search results (PDF, XML, Excel, TSC, CSV);
  • change displayed metadata;
  • go to another page of the results.

Registration on EUR-Lex

1. Refine your search

After a search, you can use the clickable filters on the left hand side to narrow your search results by domain, year of document, author, etc.

  • On the left-hand side of the search results, clickable filters are displayed arranged by category. For each filter, the number of results you will get after clicking is displayed in parentheses (e.g.: Codecision procedure (COD) (9)). To display more filters, click the ‘See more’ drop-down menu. The maximum number of filters is 100. Only the filters with the most search results are displayed.
  • When you click on a filter, the search results are updated to reflect the new criterion, and the criterion is added to the ‘Search criteria’ box above the search results. An overview of any filters you choose is given just above the filter list on the left, under the heading ‘You have selected’. In the results list, only those results corresponding to the new search criteria are shown. Note that if you save the search at this point, it will be saved in its refined form, taking into account the filters you selected.
  • You may click more than one filter. With each filter you click, fewer and more targeted search results are displayed. To widen your search again, remove a filter in the ‘You have selected’ section in the menu on the left.

The list of filters depends both on the search form you used and on the information you entered into it. For example, if you specified an author in your advanced search form, the filter for authors will not be displayed, because all documents already correspond to the author of your choice, and therefore the search cannot be refined on this criterion. The selected author is listed in the ‘Search criteria’ box.

Some filters concern hierarchical data. In this case, only the first level of descriptors is displayed (e.g. when you click on a year under ‘Year of document’, the next level down of the hierarchy — the month — is displayed. Directory codes and EuroVoc descriptors work the same way.

For all filters with hierarchical data, this continues until you reach the lowest level of the filter — at which point the filter disappears from the left hand side. To climb back up the hierarchy, remove the corresponding filter(s) under ‘You have selected’.

2. Edit your search

If you want to change your search, you don’t need to write it again. Different edit functions are offered based on the type of search you carried out.

2.1. Edit a quick search

Change the term(s) you searched for directly in the search box where you typed your initial query.

 You can also transform your quick search into an expert search by clicking ‘Edit in expert search’ (registered users only).

Read more on how to edit in expert search.

2.2. Edit an advanced search

In the ‘Search criteria’ box on top of the result list, click on ‘Edit search’ to go back to the form and modify your original search criteria.

 You can also transform your advanced search into an expert search by clicking  ‘Edit in expert search’ (signed-in users only). This allows you to customise your search with options that are not available in the advanced search.

Read more on how to edit in expert search.

2.3. Edit in expert search

In the ‘Search criteria’ box on top of the results list, click on  ‘Edit in expert search’ to go back to the form and modify your original search criteria. All types of searches can be edited via expert search (registered users only).

Quick or advanced searches first need to be transformed into an expert query. This is done automatically when you click  ‘Edit in expert search’ at the top of your results list. An expert search form is displayed containing your search and this can be edited, using all the related possibilities.

Read more on how to perform an expert search.

2.4. Use the suggestions

If your search returns no results, and the system thinks that you might have misspelled the term you were searching for, it will suggest an alternative just below the ‘Search criteria’ box.

Example: ‘Did you mean ombudsman?’ Click the suggested term if it is the one you meant to search for.

3. Customise the list of search results

The results list is displayed in a pre-set format,

  • if you are not signed-in;
  • if you are signed in, but haven’t set a search profile.

All users can customise the display of a results list immediately after performing a search, without signing in. Registered users have to sign, if they want to set changes permanently via ‘Preferences -> Search preferences’.

Read more on setting your search preferences.

3.1. Change the displayed metadata

  1. Look for ‘Change displayed metadata’ just above the first title.
  2. A window opens, in which you can select the profile for your search preferences.
    1. If you are a registered user and you have saved one or more search profiles, pick one from the drop-down list. Once you have made your choice, the information saved in the profile is loaded and you can change it if needed.
    2. If you are not logged in or if you don't have any saved display profiles, the standard profile is automatically selected for you.
  3. Tick the checkboxes in front of the metadata to choose them. These will also be added to the results when you print, save or export them.

    The metadata are grouped into categories. You can either select a single element within a category or tick the box in front of the name of the category to select all elements within that category. Categories can be collapsed to hide their elements by clicking on the arrow in front of the name.

    There are two selection trees, which you can switch between by clicking the corresponding tab. ‘Simple selection’ contains a selection of the most common metadata. ‘Advanced selection’ allows you to choose from all available metadata.

    Note: a small number of metadata cannot be removed from the selection, including title and Celex number.

  4. You can also define the number of results shown per page in the drop-down menu.
  5. Click ‘Apply’ at the bottom of the window.

Note: your changes will NOT be saved if you click Cancel or click outside the window and return to the results list.

3.2. Sort search results

When you do a quick search, sorting is done on two levels. Search results are first sorted in descending order of relevancy. This means that the results that correspond best to your query are listed on top of the result list.

On the second level, results are by default sorted by document identifier (Celex number). This means that if several results correspond equally well to your query, they will be listed in ascending order by Celex number — the document with the smallest Celex number comes first.

To change the sort order, choose sort criteria in the ‘Sort by’ drop-down menu on top of the list of search results. Specify also if you want the criteria in a descending or ascending order. The available sort criteria depend on the search type and the selected domain in the advanced search.

As a registered user, you can also modify the default settings under ‘Search preferences’ in your account. Find out more about search preferences and read more on registering.

3.3. Go to another page of results

When a search returns a large number of results, they will be displayed on several pages.

Pagination is available above and below your results list.

Use arrows to go to the next/previous page of results (, ). Use double arrows to go to the last/first page of results (, ).

Jump to a specific page by modifying the page number and pressing ‘Enter’.

If you are a registered user, you can define the number of results displayed on one page in your search preferences. The minimum number of results per page is five and the maximum is 20. Read more on setting your search preferences.

4. Export the list of results

  1. Select some search results by ticking the boxes next to them and click on ‘Export ’on top of your result list. You can export the entire list or just a selection.
  2. Select your export format in the drop-down menu. Available export formats are CSV, TSV, Microsoft Excel, XML and PDF.
  3. Tick the checkboxes in front of the metadata to choose them. The metadata are grouped into categories. You can either select a single element within a category or tick the box in front of the name of the category to select all elements within that category. Categories can be collapsed to hide their elements by clicking on the arrow in front of the name.

    There are two selection trees, which you can switch between by clicking the corresponding tab. ‘Simple selection’ contains a selection of the most common metadata. ‘Advanced selection’ allows you to choose from all available metadata.

    Note: The CELEX number, author, relevancy and direct access links will always be exported.

  4. Click ‘Export’. Depending on your operating system and your browser, the file will download automatically or open. You might need to specify what you wish to do with the file on your device.

5. Boosted items

A list of boosted items is displayed in case of a quick search that uses specific key words related to key documents (e.g. VAT). These items are highlighted in blue. A maximum of 10 boosted items are displayed.