Skip to Main Content

Google Guide

The Google Guide is a tool to help you find information, manage information, and learn how to navigate Google tools. You will become a Google Ninja by mastering the search capabilities.

Google Search Tips

Google offers tips to Refine web searchesFind a few more below.

Basic search tips:

  • Use quotation marks when searching for a phrase, example: "common sense"
  • Don't use AND but do make use of OR, example: moonflower or "Ipomoea alba"

Search specific sites or domains:

  • Limit your search to specific sites or domains by using the command site:google search using command site:
    Useful domain searches include
    • search educational websites
    • searches nonprofit websites
    • searches U.S. government websites

Search for specific file types:

  • Search for specific document types, such as PDF, Power Point, etc, by using the command filetype: at the end of your search. Example: filetype:.pdffiletype:.pptfiletype:.doc, or filetype:.xls

Find a definition:

  • Use command define: to return a definition for a word, ex. define: yada yada yada

Advances Google Searching

How to be a Google power user

Here are some tips and tricks to become a more savvy Google searcher to increase your relevant results.

(This content was adapted from an infographic by Camila Souza)

Search exact phrases 

If you're looking for an exact phrase put it in quotations. Here's an example "greatest of all time"

Exclude a word (-search)

If you want to omit a word from your search, add a hyphen before a word. This is helpful if you're searching for a word that has multiple meanings or is used in multiple contexts. An example search is "Apollo 13" -movie.

Search within a site:

This search will retrieve results from a single domain. For example, to find reviews of films from the New York Times, the search looks like this movie reviews

Search for related: or similar sites

To find new sites similar to another, use the term related paired with a URL. This should find site with similar content. Here's how the search phrase looks -

Search for words in text (allintext: or intext:)

These types of queries look for either all searched words in webpage (allintext) or for a single term in the text (intext) with other terms appearing elsewhere in the site. This one sounds a little confusing, so try a few sample searches to see how it works. 

Sample search string for all in text = allintext:tax free weekend

Sample search for in text =  bill murray intext:chicago

Search for words in the title (allintitle: or intitle:)

These are very similar to the in text searches, only for page titles. Use all in title (allintitle) to find all the search words in a title or in title (intitle) to find a particular word in the title with other terms elsewhere in the page. Here are sample search strings for both

All it title = allintitle:darjeeling limited review

in title = covid vaccine intitle:help

Search for words in the url (allinurl:)

This search technique finds pages with the query in the URL. Here's an example music

Find news related to a particular location:

Use this approach when searching Google News to find stories coming from a specific location. The search will look like this hurricane location:New Orleans

Search for file types

When looking for a power point, pdf, jpg, or other file type, add the filetype: suffix to the search query. Here's an example of a file type search string mountains filetype:ppt

Search for a number range

Separate numbers with two dots to see results containing that range. When looking for a washing machine that costs between $1200 and $1800, the search will look like this washing machine $1200..$1800

Finding the wildcard*

Drawing a blank or forgot a piece of a phrase, the asterisk acts as a wildcard to help find the missing work in a phrase. Here's an example don't count * before *

Finding either

Use OR to find pages with one of several words. Forget the OR and the results will include pages that contain all the words. Example: World Cup 2022 OR 2019

Punctuation that works in Google

Not all punctuation works in Google. Here's what does work in Google and how. 

plus sign ase the plus sign when searching for things like blood type (O+ or HIV+)

at sign use the at sign when searching social tags (@UNTLibraries)

image of an ampersand use the ampersand with searching for strongly connected ideas of phrases (Libraries & information literacy)

image of a percent sign   use this when searching for percent values (% of women in STEM careers) 

 use the dollar sign when looking for prices ($5.99 pizza)

image of a hashtag symbol use this when searching for trend that use hashtags (#collegelfe)

image of an em dash use this when searching for strongly connected words (john-beatles)


Other Google search features

Stock Quotes
Current Time
Sports Scores
Sunrise and Sunset Times
IP Address
Film Showings
Flight Status
Package Tracking


Other ways to search on Google

Google Search Tricks
Google Images
Google Goggles
Google Trends
Google Books
Google Scholar

Additional Links