Elasticsearch is a powerful search and analytics engine that allows you to store, search, and analyze large volumes of data quickly and in near real-time. As your use cases become more complex, you need more advanced querying capabilities to get the most out of your data. In this post, we'll explore some of the advanced querying techniques available in Elasticsearch that enable complex analysis and unlock deeper insights.

An Overview of Query DSL

At its core, Elasticsearch uses the Query DSL (domain-specific language) to construct search queries. The Query DSL provides a flexible, powerful way to query your data and supports:

  • Full text queries
  • Term level queries
  • Matching on multiple fields
  • Boolean logic
  • Fuzzy matching
  • Proximity searches
  • Regex
  • Ranges
  • Sorting
  • Aggregations
  • Geo queries
  • Joining queries across indices

With the query DSL, you can search in structured, unstructured, geospatial and time-series data effectively.

Here's a simple example of a query DSL search:

This will match documents in my-index that contain the phrase "Search techniques" in the title field.

The query DSL is very flexible - you can construct simple keyword searches like this or much more complex queries. Now let's look at some advanced query types.

Full-Text Queries

Full text queries search against one or more text fields and find documents that match the specified text. Here are some advanced full text queries:

Multi-Match Query

The multi-match query allows you to query multiple fields with the same text:

This searches for "advanced search" in both the title and content fields. The multi-match query is handy when you want to search important fields but don't know which field might contain the keywords.

Common Terms Query

The common terms query ignores common words like "a", "the", "is" etc. and finds documents that contain the important keywords.

This will search for documents containing the distinct words "techniques" and "elasticsearch" in the title, ignoring common words.

Match Phrase Query

The match phrase query finds documents that contain the exact phrase specified:

This will match the exact phrase "advanced search techniques" in the title field.

Query String Query

The query string query allows you to query multiple fields with logical operators like AND, OR, NOT. For example:

This searches for documents containing either "elasticsearch" or "elastic" in the title or content, and also containing either "query" or "search". The query string syntax allows complex sub-queries connected with boolean logic.

Term and Range Queries

Term and range queries allow you to filter documents based on exact values, ranges or sets of values:

Term Query

Matches documents that contain an exact term:

Terms Query

Matches documents that contain one or more exact terms from a list:

Range Query

Matches documents that have a field value in the specified range:

This will match products with a price between 10 and 20. Range queries are very useful for filtering on numerical or date ranges.

Compound Queries

Compound queries allow you to combine multiple queries with boolean logic:

Bool Query

The bool query allows complex boolean logic with must, must_not, should clauses:

This does a boolean AND of the must clauses, filters out deleted docs, and boosts docs tagged with "analytics".

Boosting Query

The boosting query allows you to "boost" the score of one query relative to another:

Here we are boosting docs with product_type "mobile" and decreasing the score of docs with type "gadget". Very useful for fine-tuning relevancy.

Sorting, Aggregations, and Scoring

There are several ways to influence the sorting, aggregations, and scoring of your search results:


The sort parameter sorts the results by one or more fields:


Aggregations allow you to generate aggregations and analytics over your data at search time:

This performs an aggregation to calculate the average price. Many types of aggregations are supported.

Boosting Fields

You can boost certain fields which increases their weight in scoring:

Here we boosted title 3x and content 2x their normal weight. Boosting allows relevance tuning.

Analytics with Script Fields

You can add computed fields to your search results using script fields:

This adds a computed "profit_margin" field to each result. Useful for analytics.


Elasticsearch provides an incredibly rich query DSL for searching and analyzing data. We've covered some of the advanced querying capabilities like multi-match, compound and range queries that enable you to construct complex search requests.

With its real-time search and analytics, Elasticsearch powers data discovery for many businesses. Mastering the query DSL unlocks the ability to extract powerful insights from your data. Combine this with aggregations, sorting, scoring adjustments and script fields and you have an analytics workhorse at your fingertips.

The key is to understand what questions you want answered from your data, then utilize the appropriate query types and features to construct targeted queries that deliver those insights. With some practice and the techniques covered here, you'll be ready to unlock the full potential of search and analytics with Elasticsearch.

1. What is the Elasticsearch Query DSL?

The Elasticsearch Query DSL (Domain Specific Language) is a JSON-based search query language that allows you to construct complex queries to search and filter documents in Elasticsearch. It provides a flexible, expressive way to query data and supports full-text, term, range queries, geo queries, aggregations and much more.

2. How do I perform a fuzzy text search in Elasticsearch?

You can use the match query with the fuzziness parameter to perform fuzzy text searching:

This will match documents containing words similar to "helo" such as "hello", "helol" etc. Fuzziness is great for catching typos and spelling mistakes.

3. What are the different types of compound queries in Elasticsearch?

The main compound queries in Elasticsearch are:

  • Boolean query: Allows combining queries with boolean logic using must, should, must_not clauses.
  • Boosting query: Boosts one query over another, useful for increasing scores of positive matches.
  • Constant score query: Wraps a filter query and scores all matching documents equally.
  • Dis max query: Query against multiple fields and takes max score from each field.

4. How do I sort results by multiple fields in Elasticsearch?

You can pass a list of fields to the sort parameter to sort by multiple fields:

Results will be sorted first by price in ascending order, then by product_id in descending order.

5. What is the difference between a filter and a query in Elasticsearch?

Filters are used to filter matching documents efficiently using the inverted index. Filters like term, range, geo_bounding_box execute very fast.

Queries like match, query_string actually search the text of documents to find relevance matches. Queries are slower than filters.

So filters are used to narrow results, while queries find results.

6. How can I boost certain fields higher in search ranking?

You can boost certain fields using the boost parameter:

This will boost matches in product_name twice as high as description.

7. What is a script field in Elasticsearch?

A script field allows you to add a computed field to each search result hit using a script. For example:

This computes a profit_ratio for each result on the fly.

8. How can I implement pagination for search results in Elasticsearch?

Use the from and size parameters:

This will return 10 results starting from the 0th offset. Play with from and size to implement pagination.

9. What is the difference between a term query and match query in Elasticsearch?

A term query does an exact term match, which is fast using the inverted index. A match query analyzes the search phrase into tokens and finds relevant text matches, which is slower.

For keyword filtering use term. For full text search use match.

10. How can I boost documents containing recent dates higher in search results?

You can use a function_score query along with a gauss decay function to boost recent dates:

This will score documents with recent dates higher, with a decaying effect over time. Very useful for recency boosting.

Rasheed Rabata

Is a solution and ROI-driven CTO, consultant, and system integrator with experience in deploying data integrations, Data Hubs, Master Data Management, Data Quality, and Data Warehousing solutions. He has a passion for solving complex data problems. His career experience showcases his drive to deliver software and timely solutions for business needs.

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