Google Modifiers for Better Searches

Google Search Operators - Search Engine Tips & Advanced Search Modifiers

Cheat Sheet

These days, whenever we’re looking for information on a topic, we tend to turn to Google, type in a few keywords and see what comes up. But when you’re searching for something specific, it’s sometimes hard to find exactly what you’re looking for. Enter Google search operators: they’re neat little modifiers that you can add to your search query in order to help the search engine understand what you’re looking for more clearly.

Whether you’re trying to figure out how many liters are in 2 gallons, find new articles by your favorite writer, or you’re just trying to find your next time waster website (have you gotten tired Cute Overload yet?) there’s a search modifier out there for you.

Check out some of our favorite search operators:

weather: Local Weather

Use it: to find current weather information and four-day forecast for a specified city/town
Type:  weather warwick ri
To find: a current weather report for Warwick, RI

 “ ”      Exact Phrase

Use it: when searching for an exact phrase.
Type:  “the most fascinating kind of art”
To find: results that include the exact phrase “the most fascinating kind of art.”

OR      Multiple Words

Use it: to find webpages that include either term.
Type:  vacation packages Rome OR Venice
To find: results with the words “vacation,” “packages,” and either “Rome” or “Venice”

define:      Definitions

Use it: to learn the definition of a word
Type: define:gamut
To find: definitions for the word “gamut”

~      Similar Words

Use it: when you’re searching for a word and/or its synonyms
Type:  ~automobile
To find: results containing the word “automobile” or “car,” “auto,” “vehicle,” “Toyota,” etc.

related: Related Sites

Use it: to find more sites that are similar to a specific website. It’s a great way to discover new favorite sites.
To find: other websites that are similar to The Onion

stocks:    Stock Information

Use it: preceding stock ticker symbols, in order to see stock information.
Type:  stocks: AXP
To find: stock information about the American Express Company.

site:     Within Specific Site

Use it: to find webpages matching your search term(s) on a specific site
Type: rhode island
To find: references to Rhode Island on CNN’s website

Or type:
To find: all indexed webpages for

author:   Articles By

Use it: to find articles by a specific author (use in Google News only)
Type: author:irons Or type: author:”meghan e irons”
To find: news articles by all authors with the name “irons” or only news articles authored by Meghan E. Irons. You can also add a subject/search keyword BEFORE the author modifier in order to find articles from that author about a particular subject. [schools author:”meghan e irons”]

filetype:pdf  Find a PDF

Use it: to find a pdf file about your search term. This can be especially useful when you’re looking to find whitepapers or case studies. (You can also substitute other file extensions for “pdf”, and conduct searches for Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, etc.)
Type:  cloud computing filetype:pdf
To find: PDF documents about cloud computing.

 –  Exclude Specific Word

Use it: to exclude search results that contain a specified word or phrase
Type:  oklahoma -city
To find: results about Oklahoma, but not Oklahoma City

movie:  Movie Showtimes

Use it: to find movie titles and showtimes near you
Type: movie:warwick, ri
To find: movie theatre listings and showtimes for theaters in and near Warwick, RI


News from Location

Use it: to find articles from specified location (when searching in Google News only)
Type: budget cuts location:ri
To find: articles about budget cuts from websites in Rhode Island

x oz in L:


Use it: to convert units of measure
Type: 50 oz in L, 50 yards in meters, 50g in lbs, 50C in F, 50$ in euros, 50 stone in pounds, etc.
To find: the converted amount

For more advanced tips on using search engines, check out Google Search Features, Time-Saving Search Shortcuts, or SEW’s Web Searching Tips.

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