Shorthand for search terms

Some search terms can be written using “short” forms, which consist of a tilde (“~”) followed by a single character that identifies the term, and finally the arguments (if any) to the term. For instance, the short form of ?name(aptitude) is ~n aptitude.

When writing a term using its short term, “whitespace” -- that is, space characters, tabs, and so on -- will break the term off and start a new term. For instance, “~mDaniel Burrows” will match any package whose maintainer field contains “Daniel” and whose name contains “Burrows”. To include whitespace characters in the search expression, you can either place a tilde in front of it (as in Daniel~ Burrows) or place quotation marks around it (as in "Debian Project" or even Debian" "Project). Inside a quoted string, the backslash character (“\”) can be used to cancel the special meaning of the quotation mark: for instance, ~d"\"email" will match any package whose description contains a quotation mark followed immediately by email. [13]

Table 2.1, “Quick guide to search terms” lists the short form of each search term.

[13] The backslash escapes \\, \n, and \t are also available.