How to Use Advanced Google Search Commands

Narrow your searches, dig deeper, and retrieve accurate information

What to Know

  • Enter define:term for a definition; use OR between terms to find either; use quotes (") to find an exact match.
  • Don't use a space after the colon, and feel free to join multiple commands in a single search.
  • Multiple commands mean fewer results, which can be good or bad, depending on what you're looking for.

There are several other ways to use Google. Many advanced search techniques are helpful and easy to use. Use search commands to get the results you expect and avoid showing unnecessary items. We've compiled a list of all these little-known Google search operators below.

Advanced Commands for Google Search

It's easy to use these secret Google search operators with your regular search terms. You'll see in the examples below that there are really just minor adjustments you need to make to dig deeper and find the stuff you're really after.

Google Search Operators Cheat Sheet
Command Example Explanation
This and That iPhone deals Search all words: iPhone and deals; similar to using AND between the terms
This or That sailing OR boating Search sailing or boating
Exact Match "love me tender" Search this phrase as a whole
Exclude Words printer -cartridge Search printer but hide results that include cartridge
Definitions define:serendipity Definitions for serendipity
Partial Search san * california Search all words but allow for another word between them
Add 978+456 1434
Subtract 978-456 522
Multiply 978*456 445968
Divide 978/456 2.14473684211
Percentage 50% of 100 50
Power/Exponent 4^18 Calculates 4 to the power of 18, returns 68719476736
Unit Conversion 45 Celsius in Fahrenheit How 45 Celsius is expressed in Fahrenheit, returns 113; also works with currencies, weight, distance, and more
Domain Search "best phone" Search for "best phone"
News Source tesla source:lifewire Search Google News for Tesla, but prioritize results from Lifewire
Search a Range "Android phone" $300..$500 Search "Android phone" but only show results where the price ranges from $300-$500; also works for dates and other numbers
Before a Date before:2000-01-15 internet Search for articles that mention internet published before a certain date.
After a Date after:2021-01-15 internet Search for articles that mention internet published after a certain date.
Cache Search The latest cached version of
Filetype Search filetype:pptx zoology Search all PPTX files that include the word zoology (not all file extensions are supported)
Map Search map:pie town Force Google to show map results for a location
Weather Search weather:new york city Search for location-specific weather
Stock Search stocks:msft Search for stock information with a stock symbol/ticker
Title Search title:running Search for pages with running in the title; use allintitle to search multiple words
URL Search inurl:chewbacca Search for pages that include chewbacca in the URL; use allinurl to search multiple words
Body Text Search intext:parlor Search for pages that include parlor in the body of the page (won't return pages that include the search in the title or URL but not the body); use allintext to search multiple words
Words by Proximity tech AROUND(3) android Search tech and android, but only show results where the terms are within three words of each other
Related Sites Find websites that have similar content as another one
Group Multiple Searches (ice OR snow) weather Group multiple searches
Illustration of a person typing "" into Google search on a computer
Lifewire / Theresa Chiechi

The AROUND search operator doesn't seem to work reliably. Other search techniques that no longer work include using phonebook, info, blogurl, location, and link.

Tips for Using Advanced Google Search Commands

Avoid putting spaces between the symbols and words in your search term. For example, will yield different results than site:

You can combine multiple Google Search operators to make use of more than one at once. Here's an example where we're requesting a definition, but we want the results to be restricted to just websites with the ORG top-level domain, but nothing from two specific domains, or from URLs with a certain word:

define:hypothesis site:org -inurl:wiki

Below is another, where we're looking for a PDF manual for a specific kind of router on Linksys' website. Just the domain search provides tens of thousands of results, but it eventually dropped to fewer than 100 with the other commands added,

filetype:pdf "user guide" wrt54gl

Be careful how many of these commands you use in one query. If you stuff the search box full of several, you're bound to end up with fewer results. This can be good to a certain point (that's the idea behind them, after all), but eventually, you'll run out of results and have to step a few of them back.

Instead, it's better to start with fewer, and slowly build up more as you realize which kind of results you're not interested in seeing.

Google Advanced Search is a visual way to run some of these search commands, and others. Just enter what you're after in the appropriate boxes, and pick things like the language, file type, or last update date from the menus provided on that page.

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