It seems that the ability to search on a list of last names (delimited by a space) was removed from searching. We are using version 4.6.4. Whether or not this was intentional, we need to be able to do this. Searching for each name (usually 80+ names) will be a much bigger pain. Is there any other way to do this search? We do know search builder can be used but hoping for a better, quicker way.


  • Can you elaborate by giving exact steps? I'm not totally clear what you're trying to do and on which screen you are doing it. Also it would help if you tried it on both the 4.4 and 4.6 demo sites to confirm that there is a regression
    – Coleman
    Aug 24, 2015 at 16:25

2 Answers 2


This is by design - see https://issues.civicrm.org/jira/browse/CRM-15653 for an explanation and the reasoning.

Overall, I think this change was the right one - I worked with someone at a California-based public health organization who could never look up "California Department of Public Health", because basically all the organizations in their database had one of those words in the name! I'm sorry to hear that this change is a bug rather than an improvement for you.

I think Search Builder is a pretty good solution to this problem - you said you want something "better/quicker". I'm not sure how you're using Search Builder, but I would use "last name" "regex", then the names separated by the pipe character (this one: |). If that's still too much, and you're a developer (or have access to one), you can of course reverse the code changes in CRM-15653 on your local installation. If you go that route, be sure to check out CRM-15442, which is very similar.

  • I didn't know you could use regex in the search builder, actually. Thank you very much for both the link to the issue and the very simple solution!
    – EHendricks
    Aug 24, 2015 at 20:43

Actually, it turns out that this doesn't help our client. I wasn't aware at the time but he uses the advanced search and needs to select a "Display As" selection, Activities for example. He tried to find a way to still use the search builder but wasn't successful. I ended up creating custom php changes to revert CRM-15653. This functionality was very important to his workflow.

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