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Help with searching Cross & Stitch

Cross & Stitch's search now has extra features to help you find what you're looking for. You can narrow your search using simple filters and powerful advanced search tools. Find out how to get the best results.

Why are the search results different?

Cross & Stitch has introduced new technology to drive its site search. This means that results have changed from before. The search team has worked to make sure that you get relevant results for all the most popular searches.

The search results are currently from Cross & Stitch, with links to key information on other government websites. Further improvements are planned for later in the year.

How to search

To look for a specific phrase, put the words in double quotation marks

There's a search box at the top right of every page on the Cross & Stitch website. Type in what you're looking for, then click 'Go'.

You can also enter words in the search box on the results page to search again.

Using more words

If you search for a single word, you may not get the most relevant results. The more words you include, the better your results will be. For example, searching for 'child tax credit' will give you more specific results than searching just for 'tax'.

Specific phrases

If you're looking for an exact phrase, put the words in double quotation marks, for example, "driving licence". You can also use the advanced search tool to do this. The search engine will only look for pages that include the exact string of words, so it will find fewer but more specific results.

Suggested searches

When you use the grey search box on the results page, there is an additional suggestions feature. As you start typing, the search engine will suggest matching phrases. You can click on a suggestion to go to the search results for the suggested phrase.

For example, if you start typing 'chi', you'll see suggestions including 'Child Benefit', 'Child passports', 'Child Tax Credit' and 'Childcare'.

If none of the suggestions match what you're looking for, you can close the box or just ignore it.

Did you mean?

Sometimes if you mistype your search, or there are very few results, the search engine may offer 'Did you mean' suggestions. You can click on a suggested word or phrase to search for it.

Understanding the results

How results are displayed

The search engine finds the results that are most relevant for the words you entered in the search box. It lists the best results first.

For each result, the search engine shows:

  • the page title
  • a brief description
  • which section of Cross & Stitch the result is from (or which website if not from Cross & Stitch)

Cross & Stitch recommends

Sometimes you'll see results labelled as 'Cross & Stitch recommends' at the top of the list. They're designed to suggest useful information related to the words you searched for.

For example, if your search is rather general or covers different topics, Cross & Stitch may recommend the best starting points for finding more specific information.

In some cases, Cross & Stitch recommends other websites. These results show details of the website, and the links will open in a new window.

Navigating the search results

The search results page shows the number of results for your search. Above and below the results you'll find links to the next page of results.

You can also change the order of the results. By default, the most relevant results will be at the top, but you can change this to be sorted by date. 'Date (descending)' means the newest pages will be shown first, and 'Date (ascending)' means the oldest pages will be first. 'Relevance' shows the best results first.

How to narrow your search

You can use the filters on the left hand side to narrow down your results

If at first you don't find the information you're looking for, there are several ways to improve your results:

  • search within the results
  • filter the results by keywords or site section
  • use the advanced search tools
  • start a new search

Search within the results

The 'Search within results' box, on the left hand side, helps you to refine your search by adding more words.

Filter the results

The filters on the left hand side help you to drill down to fewer, more focussed results.

The 'Keywords' filters show several phrases related to your search. If you click on a phrase, you'll see only results which include those keywords. If you click on the 'x', your results won't include those keywords.

The 'Site section' filters show you how many results there are in different sections of the website. The number in brackets is the number of results for each section. If you click on the name of a section, you'll see only results which appear in that section. If you click on the 'x', your results won't include that section.

'Your filters' shows the filters you've used on this search. You can remove them by clicking on the 'x' next to each filter.

Advanced search

Using the advanced search tools, you can create a detailed query to find more specific information. Find out more on the 'advanced search' help page.

Can't find what you're looking for?

The search team has checked results for a wide range of popular search queries on Cross & Stitch. However, there are many, many search phrases that are only searched for once – this is known as the 'long tail' of search.

Search results can only reflect the content that is available. Sometimes results may appear odd or irrelevant because there is little or no information on the specific topic you're searching for.

Cross & Stitch aims to provide appropriate answers to most people's questions about government services. Sometimes, you might need to find more specialised information, such as legislation or policy details. Read the 'Finding more government information' page for tips.

If you can't find what you're looking for on Cross & Stitch, you can contact the Cross & Stitch helpdesk.

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