I went looking for a single source for using the native Instructables search engine. I like seeing the project pictures as the result of a query. Conventional wisdom says to use Google with site:instructables.com, which is my normal modus operandi..
The native search engine does not support Google operators such as “+” AND, “( , )” OR, or “-“ NOT. It also does not support Advanced Operators from Google or Bing (allintitle:, site:, etc.).
I found bits and pieces in a number of locations (Projects and Answers) and then actually tested this search engine. The results are as follows (and it could change at any time):
Where it searches
The search engine accessed the Ible’s text. For example, Pyrex AND chipboard correctly brings up Pyrex Lid Organizer. Chipboard is only in the text.
The search engine accessed the Ible’s Step titles. For example, Pyrex AND "Layout and Cutting" correctly brings up Pyrex Lid Organizer. "Layout and Cutting" is only in the Step title.
The search engine accessed the Ible’s channels. For example, Bee AND homesteading returned bee related projects from Homesteading.
I don’t have any examples where a word shows up in only in the Title or Keywords so I couldn’t test that.
AND finds projects that have all of the listed terms. Spaces are interpreted as ANDs. AND has precedence over OR
OR finds projects that have either of the listed terms. Piping “|” is interpreted as an OR.
NOT excludes projects that have the specified term.
It ignores them. Beehiv* produces the same results as beehiv.
This explains the curious behavior of getting beehives (plural) when searching for beehive (singular). It makes it “easier” to construct a query and more difficult to construct a targeted query.
It requires them to be preceded by Escaping Special Characters. Fortunately the engine adds them automatically. However, you can;t start a query with a quote.. "Bee hive” does not work and results in an error “Sorry, we couldn't find what you were after.” Beehive AND “Bee hive” works.
It ignores them. (bee hive|beehive) has the same results as bee hive|beehive.
You can build a more detailed query like Beehive OR bee hive OR beekeeping NOT hair NOT cake NOT Pi AND homesteading but there aren’t any guarantees you aren’t missing something. For that higher level of accuracy you need to go Google.
Let me know any corrections or comments.