Advanced Google Search Commands

Narrow your searches, dig deeper, and retrieve accurate information

Magnifying Glass above Google
  Rafie Geam / EyeEm/Getty Images

If you've ever performed a Google search and wondered why the returned results were different than what you were expecting, you're not alone. Even though search technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the last several years, search engines are still somewhat limited in what they are able to do, and they certainly haven't evolved to read the average web user's mind. Lets learn how to use basic and advanced Google search commands to help you find exactly what you're looking for when you need it.

Note: This article serves as a quick reference for the most common Google shortcuts and commands. For more in-depth tips, see Fun Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With Google SearchSix Things You Didn't Know that Google Could Do and Simple Google Search Tricks

Basic Google Search Rules

Note: Google searches ignores punctuation that isn’t part of a search operator

Google ShortcutFinds Pages That Have...
nokia phonethe words nokia and phone
sailing OR boatingeither the word sailing or the word boating
"love me tender"the exact phrase love me tender
printer -cartridgethe word printer but NOT the word cartridge
Toy Story +2movie title including the number 2
~autolooks up the word auto and synonyms
define:serendipitydefinitions of the word serendipity
how now * cowthe words how now cow separated by one or more words
+addition; 978+456
-subtraction; 978-456
*multiplication; 978*456
/division; 978/456
% ofpercentage; 50% of 100
^raise to a power; 4^18 (4 to the eighteenth power)
old in new (conversion)45 celsius in Fahrenheit
site:(search only one website)site:lifewire.com "torrent sites"
link:(find linked pages)link:www.lifehacker.com
#...#(search within a number range)nokia phone $200...$300
daterange:(search within a specific date range)bosnia daterange:200508-200510
safesearch: (exclude adult content)safesearch:breast cancer
info: (find info about a page)info:www.lifewire.com
related: (related pages)related:www.lifewire.com
cache: (view cached page)cache:google.com
filetype:(restrict search to specific filetype)zoology filetype:ppt
allintitle: (search for keywords in page title)allintitle:"nike" running
inurl:(restrict search to page URLs)inurl:chewbacca
site:.edu (specific domain search)site:.edu, site:.gov, site:.org, etc.
site:country code (restrict search to country)site:.br "rio de Janeiro"
intext:(search for keyword in body text)intext:parlor
allintext: (return pages with all words specified in body text)allintext:north pole
book(search book text)book The Lord of the Rings
phonebook:(find a phone number)phonebook:Google CA
bphonebook: (find business phone numbers)bphonebook:Intel OR
rphonebook:(find residential phone numbers)rphonebook:Joe Smith Seattle WA
movie:(search for showtimes)movie:wallace and gromit 97110
stocks:(get a stock quote)stocks:wrld
weather:(get local weather)

weather:97132

 

Tip: To search social media via Google, put @ in front of a word. For example: @twitter.

Google Searches on PC vs Mac

For the most part, Google works the same on every OS and every browser, but some of the shortcuts may work differently depending on your device. The major difference between Google shortcuts on Mac and PC is that PC commands require use of the Ctrl key while Mac commands require you to use the Command key instead.

 

Advanced Google Shortcuts

Note: The following shortcuts are for PC users, but Mac users can simply replace the Ctrl key with the Command key to achieve the same result.

Open a new tab: Hold Ctrl and press T

Close the current tab:  Hold Ctrl and press W

Reopen last tab closed: Hold Ctrl and Shift, then press T

Jump to a specific tab: Hold Ctrl and select the appropriate number

Open a hyperlink in a new tab: Hold Ctrl and click the link

Open a link in a new window: Hold Shift and click the link

Put a cursor in the search bar: Hold Ctrl and press L

Erase the current search: Hold Ctrl and press Delete

Go forward to the next page: Hold Shift and press Delete

Reload the current page: Hold Ctrl and press R

Open the find bar: Hold Ctrl and press F

Scroll to the next keywords in find bar: Press Enter

Scroll to previous keywords in the find bar: Hold Shift and press Enter

Save the current page as a bookmark: Hold Ctrl and press D

Open the settings page: Hold Ctrl and press the comma (,) key

Open the downloads page: Hold Ctrl and Shift, then press J

Open a new window: Hold Ctrl and press N

Drag a tab out of your window: Click the tab and drag it downwards

Close the current window: Hold Ctrl and Shift, then press W

Minimize the current window: Hold Ctrl and press M

Scroll down the web page: Tap the Space Bar

Quit Google Chrome: Hold Ctrl and press Q

Jump to the last tab: Hold Ctrl and press the number nine (9)

Hide Google Chrome: Hold Ctrl and press H

Refining Your Google Web Searches

Once you have all of the above search commands mastered, you should see a marked increase in the quality of your search results. Of course, it's always smart to experiment a little with how you frame your Google search query. If at first you don't succeed, try again using a different search string.

Tip: Avoid putting spaces between the symbols and words in your search term.

For example, a search for site:lifewire.com will yield different results than site: lifewire.com.