Cognitive Search User#

Profile: Cognitive Search User

This page details cognitive search as it relates to you as the end user on the Squirro platform.

For in-depth learning, see our Deep Dive into Cognitive Search course offering at the Squirro Academy.


As the end user, cognitive search is a tool that enables you to perform your work better by helping you find more relevant information quicker.

With that said, at its highest potential, cognitive search is about more than faster and more relevant results.

Cognitive search can lead you to questions or ideas you hadn’t considered before searching, adding tangible value to your work beyond efficiency.

By understanding the intent and context of your search, Cognitive Search can help you answer the questions you haven’t thought of yet.

Cognitive Search Features#

This section introduces the cognitive Search features you can use to return better, more relevant results.

Advanced Query Syntax#

Query/syntax refers to how the text entered into the search bar is structured.

Using advanced query syntax can return more focused and more relevant results. The following are a few examples of advanced search query options:

  • Boolean operators like AND, OR, NOT to require or exclude certain keywords.

  • Wildcards like ? or “*” to use partial keyword matching.

  • Field limiting using $**<field>:**

  • A caret (^) to boost the relevance of a specific search term.

Reference: Download the Query/Syntax Cheat Sheet for quick tips.


Communities is a powerful Squirro feature that allows you to prioritize results within your project and view results by community.

You can subscribe to and unsubscribe from communities relevant to your interests by clicking on the Communities tab under the search bar.

Communities tab within Squirro dashboard showing subscribed and unsubscribed communities.

When Squirro returns your search results, the communities widget displays the most relevant communities to your search query, allowing you to subscribe to those communities on the spot.

Example search of the term salmonella showing how relevant communities present.

Your Project Creator manages your project’s communities.

Other People Ask#

This feature provides suggestions for search terms relevant to your intent based on other people’s search queries.

Other People Ask goes beyond suggesting superficially similar terms, however. It looks at the meaning behind the original search term and provides semantically-related suggestions.

The feature presents as a widget next to your search results.

Your Project Creator can modify the configuration of this feature to fine-tune results.

Question Answering#

This feature presents a direct answer to a user search question separately from the search results list (in its own widget.)

Not all questions have direct answers, however. This feature will not always apply, but it will provide a direct answer to a question where possible.

The feature highlights an answer within its document context while providing a link to the document.

To activate this feature, formulate your search as a question. For example, instead of searching for “birth year Albert Einstein” and browsing keyword results, search “What year was Albert Einstein born” and Squirro will return the answer “1879”.

Note: A question mark is not required to trigger this feature.


This feature presents search suggestions as you type within the search bar.

Example search-as-you-type examples showing multiple different types of suggestions.

Depending on your project setup and specific search query, two types of Typeahead suggestions may present:

  • Document-generated suggestions

  • Activity-generated suggestions

Document-generated suggestions#

These suggestions are generated based on the content of your project documents. There are three types of document-generated suggestions:

  • Content suggestions, based on Squirro’s underlying search algorithms paired with your project’s documents. These suggestions attempt to predict your search input based on project content.

  • Label suggestions, based on predefined project labels. Squirro presents these as suggestions in orange, surrounded by an orange outline.

  • Communities suggestions, based on predefined project communities. Squirro presents these under the Communities subheading.

User-generated suggestions#

These suggestions are generated based on your user activity within your project, including your own activity. There are three types of activity-generated suggestions:

  • Saved searches suggestions, based on searches that you have saved within your dashboard.

  • Search history suggestions, based upon your previous search activity within Squirro.

  • Popular queries suggestions, based on popular search queries of other users across the project.

Spell Check#

When Squirro identifies a misspelled search query, it will suggest the word’s correct spelling as a new search term through the spell check widget.

Clicking the suggested term will re-run the search with the correct spelling.

Example spell check return of the proper spelling of the word salmonella.


Synonym lists can be powerful search tools, especially within projects containing many industry-specific terms or jargon. Squirro can also apply synonym lists to specific groups of documents.

However, modification of the synonym feature is not directly available to the end search user. If you have a list of synonyms to improve search performance, speak with your Project Creator for help.

FAQ & Troubleshooting#

Q1: Where can I log into my Squirro dashboard?

  1. Login to your dashboard at

  2. Click on My Instances in the upper right-hand corner.

  3. Select your desired instance.

Q2: I forgot my password, what can I do?

Click Forgot Password? on the login screen and follow the instructions.

If you’ve forgotten your user ID, contact your Project Creator for help.

If you’re unsure who your Project Creator is, contact Squirro Support for assistance.

Q3: I see a feature listed that is not available to me in my dashboard, how do I access this feature?

Not all features are automatically available on all projects. Contact your Project Creator to discuss adding additional features to your project.