For Python developers

Basic usage

By default using the Database Backend, Wagtail’s search will only index the title field of pages.

All searches are performed on Django QuerySets. Wagtail provides a search method on the queryset for all page models:

# Search future EventPages
>>> from wagtail.wagtailcore.models import EventPage
>>> EventPage.objects.filter("Hello world!")

All methods of PageQuerySet are supported by wagtailsearch:

# Search all live EventPages that are under the events index
[<EventPage: Event 1>, <EventPage: Event 2>]

Indexing extra fields

Changed in version 0.4: The indexed_fields configuration format was replaced with search_fields

Changed in version 0.6: The wagtail.wagtailsearch.indexed module was renamed to wagtail.wagtailsearch.index


Indexing extra fields is only supported with ElasticSearch as your backend. If you’re using the database backend, any other fields you define via search_fields will be ignored.

Fields must be explicitly added to the search_fields property of your Page-derived model, in order for you to be able to search/filter on them. This is done by overriding search_fields to append a list of extra SearchField/FilterField objects to it.


This creates an EventPage model with two fields description and date. description is indexed as a SearchField and date is indexed as a FilterField

from wagtail.wagtailsearch import index

class EventPage(Page):
    description = models.TextField()
    date = models.DateField()

    search_fields = Page.search_fields + ( # Inherit search_fields from Page

# Get future events which contain the string "Christmas" in the title or description
>>> EventPage.objects.filter("Christmas")


These are added to the search index and are used for performing full-text searches on your models. These would usually be text fields.


  • partial_match (boolean) - Setting this to true allows results to be matched on parts of words. For example, this is set on the title field by default so a page titled “Hello World!” will be found if the user only types “Hel” into the search box.
  • boost (number) - This allows you to set fields as being more important than others. Setting this to a high number on a field will make pages with matches in that field to be ranked higher. By default, this is set to 100 on the title field and 1 on all other fields.
  • es_extra (dict) - This field is to allow the developer to set or override any setting on the field in the ElasticSearch mapping. Use this if you want to make use of any ElasticSearch features that are not yet supported in Wagtail.


These are added to the search index but are not used for full-text searches. Instead, they allow you to run filters on your search results.

Indexing callables and other attributes


This is not supported in the Database Backend

Search/filter fields do not need to be Django fields, they could be any method or attribute on your class.

One use for this is indexing get_*_display methods Django creates automatically for fields with choices.

from wagtail.wagtailsearch import index

class EventPage(Page):
        (False, "Public"),
        (True, "Private"),

    is_private = models.BooleanField(choices=IS_PRIVATE_CHOICES)

    search_fields = Page.search_fields + (
        # Index the human-readable string for searching

        # Index the boolean value for filtering

Indexing non-page models

Any Django model can be indexed and searched.

To do this, inherit from index.Indexed and add some search_fields to the model.

from wagtail.wagtailsearch import index

class Book(models.Model, index.Indexed):
    title = models.CharField(max_length=255)
    genre = models.CharField(max_length=255, choices=GENRE_CHOICES)
    author = models.ForeignKey(Author)
    published_date = models.DateTimeField()

    search_fields = (
        index.SearchField('title', partial_match=True, boost=10),


# As this model doesn't have a search method in its QuerySet, we have to call search directly on the backend
>>> from wagtail.wagtailsearch.backends import get_search_backend
>>> s = get_search_backend()

# Run a search for a book by Roald Dahl
>>> roald_dahl = Author.objects.get(name="Roald Dahl")
>>>"chocolate factory", Book.objects.filter(author=roald_dahl))
[<Book: Charlie and the chocolate factory>]