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Selected Google Commands

Google Search Tips

Top Search Tips (HTML)
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Summary & Comparison of Commands (HTML)
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Selected Google Commands

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Command What it does Example
" " Double quote marks around terms to search for a phrase . (Google sometimes ignores quote marks if your search returns zero or what it thinks are too few results). "carbon emissions" looks for carbon immediately followed by emissions

The plus sign is no longer available in web search for forcing an exact match search. Use intext: before single words or the Verbatim option in the Search options links above your results. (Search tools, All results, Verbatim). It can still be used in Google Scholar, though. Simply add the + sign to the front of your term (no spaces).

north sea +norne oil field [Note: only works in Google Scholar]
- Minus sign before a term excludes pages containing that term. It can also be used before commands, for example to exclude a particular site or domain from a search. zeolites
OR Use OR to specify alternative terms. OR must be in capital letters. oil OR petroleum
* Use the asterisk to stand in for 1 to 5 terms between two words. Useful when you are not sure of the industry jargon and for identifying additional search terms and phrases. solar * panels finds solar PV panels, solar photovoltaic panels, solar electricity panels, solar water heating panels
.. Numeric range search. This can be used with numbers of any kind for example years, temperatures, weights, prices, distances. Separate the two values in your search by two full stops (no spaces). See also numrange: TV advertising spend forecast 2016..2020
cache: cache: followed by the URL of a page displays Google's cached version of a web page instead of the current version of the page.
daterange: DISCONTINUED  

Finds definitions and synonyms of words. Also provides information on the origin of a word, use over time and translations. (No colon is required after ‘define').

define dialectic
filetype: Restricts your results to the specified file format. zeolites environmental remediation filetype:pdf

Find and view information and data on a website such as Google's cached copy, similar pages, pages that link to the URL (limited number shown), web pages listed on the site
intext: Word must be in the text of the page and match exactly your term. Very useful now that Google no longer gives you pages containing all of your search terms and automatically runs synonym searches UK public transport intext:biodiesel
intitle: Searches for pages that have the term or phrase immediately following intitle: in the title of the page. Other terms can be anywhere in the document. statistics intitle:"diabetic retinopathy"
inurl: Searches for pages that have the term or phrase following inurl: in the URL. Other terms can be anywhere in the document. inurl:coffee UK consumption
numrange: The original version of numeric range search but still works. TV advertising spend forecast numrange:2016-2020
related: Finds pages that are similar in content and from similar organisations.
site: Restricts your search to the specified site or domain. car ownership statistics
Verbatim Not a command but a search option that can be applied to your results. Stops Google looking for synonyms and variations on your terms. It should also stop Google dropping terms from your search but it does not always work. On a desktop/laptop, run your search and from the options across the top of the results page select ‘Tools'. From the second row of options that should appear select ‘All results' followed by Verbatim. In some browsers you may see ‘Search tools' instead of “Tools”. The location of Verbatim on mobile devices varies.

Last updated January 11, 2017

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