The following is an edited version of the MediaWiki help pages for Go and Search.

Go Button

The Go button appears on all pages, next to the Search button. The function of the Go button is to display a page directly, instead of first having to select it from the search result page. In other words, it allows you to quickly navigate from page to page without following links.

To view a page, just enter its name in the search field and click "Go". The Go button is more complex than it looks. It works as follows (each time, only continuing if there is no match):

  1. Check existence of the page exactly as it is entered, e.g. Test Page and Test page are different pages (but most projects have case-insensitivity of the first character of the whole page name, and in the case of a namespace prefix, of the first character after that).
  2. Try all lower case (with the first letter capitalized), e.g. if you type "TEST PAGE", Test page and not Test Page would be displayed.
  3. Try the version with all words capitalized.
  4. Try the all upper case version.
  5. Carry out a full text search as if you clicked the "Search" button.

If you use the Go button wisely, it will allow you to quickly jump to your most frequently used pages. It is also a good idea to use it for unambiguous searches -- if a direct match fails, it will always fall back to the normal search anyway, and if it succeeds, you are immediately taken where you want to go. In general, the go button generates little server load, and therefore usually remains functional even if the fulltext search is deactivated for performance reasons.

Search Button

Pressing the Enter key while the search field is active is equivalent to clicking on the Go button. While this is obvious when using Internet Explorer (tested on version 6), Mozilla (version 1.6 at least) provides no such indication.

Avoid short and common words. 
This is the most likely cause of an unexpected failed search. If your search terms include a common "stop word" (such as "the", "one", "your", "more", "right", "while", "when", "who", "which", "such", "every", "about", "onto"), then your search will fail without any results. Short numbers, and words that appear in half of all pages, will also not be found. In this case, drop those words and rerun the search.
Search is case-insensitive. 
The searches for "fortran", "Fortran" and "FORTRAN" all return the same results.
There is no method for searching for a phrase. 
Contrary to what you might expect, enclosing phrases in double quotation marks such as "can of tuna" will retrieve all pages containing "of" "tuna" and "can".
No regular expressions or wildcards. 
You cannot use regular expressions or wildcards such as ? or *. If you don't know what that is, don't worry about it. To search for pages with the words "boat" or "boats" search like this: "boat or boats".
Words in single quotes. 
If a word appears in a page with single quotes, you can only find it if you search for the word with quotes. Since this is rarely desirable it is better to use double quotes in pages, for which this problem does not arise.
An apostrophe is identical to a single quote, therefore Mu'ammar can be found searching for exactly that (and not otherwise). A word with apostrophe s is an exception in that it can be found also searching for the word without the apostrophe and the s.
Delay in updating the search index. 
For reasons of efficiency and priority, very recent changes to pages are not always immediately taken into account in searches.
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