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Search and filter elements in a model

Depending on the size of your model it may be difficult to find an element with a specific name or type. You can search and filter to find a specific element in ModelBuilder.

Search for elements

To search for a model element, type in the name of the desired element in the Search box in the top right of the model view. As you type you will see a list of suggested model elements that match the characters you have entered. Select an element name from the suggestions list to select the element in the model.

Search to find an element in your model

Regular expressions can be used to search for model elements. The table below demonstrates a number of example searches using regular expressions.



Select elements that match the exact keyword.

Searching for Polygon


Find elements that start with the characters before *.

Searching for Polygon*


Find elements that end with the characters after *.

Searching for *Polygon


Find elements that contain multiple keywords.

Searching for Polygon&Raster*


Find elements that contain characters between two *.

Searching for *Polygon*


Find elements with any character in a list [ ].

Searching for *[()]*


Find elements that match keywords on either side of |.

Searching for Buffer|Near


Find elements that matches one keyword and contains another keyword.

Searching for Buffer|(*Near*)


Find elements that contain either a keyword or elements that begins with a specific keyword.

Searching for Buffer|Near*

Search results

If the search produces multiple selected elements use the Next and Previous arrows to navigate between the selected elements. Previous search history can be accessed from the Recent Searches drop-down menu.

Recent Searches


Filters in a model help refine the search results. Checking multiple filters Filter returns elements matching any of the selected filters. When you apply filters the model will zoom to selected elements that match the filter. When the filter is unchecked the model will zoom back to the original level.



Selects all model elements.


Selects only the input variables (blue ovals).


Selects all tool outputs (green ovals).


Selects all variables that are model parameters.

Add To Display

Selects all variables that have Add To Display checked on.

Model Tools

Selects all model tools, nested models, or sub-models.


Selects all built-in-tools in the model.

Script Tools

Selects all script tools in the model.

Elements with Preconditions

Selects all element pairs that use preconditions.

Elements with Inline Variable Substitution

Selects all elements that use inline variable substitution.

Uncheck everything

No elements are selected.

You can combine filters and search to find elements that meet both the filter and the search criteria. For example, Searching for an element with the keyword *Polygon* with the filters Parameter, Add To Display and Model Tools checked will select elements with the word Polygon in the name that a model parameter or have Add To Display checked on or are a model tool.

ModelBuilder filtered search