Filtering Search Results in PubMed

Overwhelmed with the number of results retrieved in a PubMed search? You can narrow down the results by using PubMed Filters, located to the left of your results. Filters allow you to limit your results based on certain criteria: article type, publication date, age, language, and more.

To see additional filters, click on Select Additional Filters and mark the category(s) of interest. Once checked they will be displayed for you to select them to limit your search.

However, there are some things to consider when using Filters. The majority of Filters rely on MeSH (Medical Subject Headings), and only articles from the journals indexed in Medline have MeSH. And while Medline comprises the majority of PubMed, there is some content found in PubMed which is not indexed in Medline. This can be due to recent publications that are still “In-Process” and awaiting MeSH indexing, or content that is deposited in PubMed through the Open Access initiatives of PubMed Central (PMC).

Since most of the Filters are MeSH, by applying them you automatically limit your search results to Medline content, thus excluding the most recent, In-Process, Medline content and the rest of PubMed. The only Filters that are not MeSH and can be safely applied to your search are ‘Publication dates’ and ‘Languages’.

What if you want to still use the Filters and conduct a comprehensive search or include the In-Process citations? You will need to apply the Filters to retrieve Medline citations and use additional search strategies to retrieve as much of non-Medline content as possible.


  • Medline is not the whole of PubMed.
  • Only references from Medline indexed journals are searchable with MeSH (with the exception of the most recent ones which are In-Process).
  • Most Filters are MeSH and using them automatically limits your search to Medline processed citations.
  • If you still want to use Filters yet to capture both Medline and non-Medline citations you need to devise your search strategies accordingly.
  • In case you need help with searching ask your Librarian.