How can I filter and sort Atomic Search results?

Review filters and sorts available, including keyword, wildcard, and phrase searching, content type filtering, sorting by relevance or recency, and filtering by context and term.

Filtering and sorting search results

You can do keyword, wildcard, and phrase searching to narrow results.


Example: strategy

  • Finds items that contain the word strategy or a variant


Example: strat*

  • Finds items that contain words that start with "strat"


Example: "leadership characteristics"

  • Finds items that contain exactly the words "leadership characteristics"

To help refine search results further you can filter by content type, by relevance or recency, and by contexts. 

Filtering by content type

After a search, a Type filter is displayed below the search box. Click and select a type from the Type filter to narrow your search by a specific type of content. The Type list will show the types of content that were found for a search term and will vary depending on the search.

Search Results, Type Dropdown List

Figure 1: Type dropdown list

More information on the types of content you can search can be found in the help article, What content does Atomic Search allow you to search?

Sorting by Relevance or Recency

Results are default-ranked according to relevance. The titles of items are weighted more heavily than the body of an item. Sorting by Relevance will return the results that are most relevant to the search terms you entered first. Sorting by Recency will return the items most recently added to Canvas first. 

Relevance and Recency drop down in Search results

Figure 2: Relevance/Recency dropdown

Filtering by context

You can filter content by different contexts depending on where the search was executed.

Search results, my courses dropdown

Figure 3: Course context dropdown

Content displayed by context

  • Current course. Displays the current course.
  • My courses. Displays the current course and the course(s) you are enrolled in.
  • Institution courses*. Displays the current course, my courses, and courses with institution visibility.
  • Public courses*. Displays the current course, my courses, courses with institution visibility, and courses with public visibility.
  • Current Account (for admins only). Displays the current sub-account and all child sub-accounts.

*Please file a support ticket if you would like more information on how to enable Institution and Public search contexts for your institution.

Filter by term (admins)

Canvas admins have the ability to filter by Term when searching at the account level.

Search results, all terms dropdown for admins

Figure 4: Term dropdown in the account context