Google Advanced Image Search Options

How to use Google's image search to find anything

For most of us, a simple image search on Google is enough to return the results we're after. However, Google Images also has advanced search options you can use to better refine the results.

If you're having trouble finding large images on Google, for example, you can adjust a filter so that only high-resolution images are shown. Or, maybe you're looking for images of a certain color that are on a particular website, and you want to hide all other results that don't pertain to that.

Below are two ways to run an advanced image search on Google, both of which have their own set of options.

Google Images Advanced Search Filters

You can access the "normal" Google Images page at images.google.com. After entering a search term, selecting Tools gives you five ways to filter the results.

Google image search filters

As you'll see in the screenshots below, you can use more than one Google Images search filter simultaneously.

Filter by Size

Selecting Size lets you choose how big the images from the results should be. If you're looking for really small photos, you might pick Icon or Medium. High-resolution photo searching can be done by selecting Large.

You might do this if the project you're working on requires that the picture be fairly large. This might be the case if you're looking for wallpapers for your big computer screen or a cover photo for a social media page.

Size filter on Google Images

Filter by Color

The Color option when using the advanced Google Images filtering options will show you pictures where the overwhelming color is whatever you choose. You can pick Black and White or select a specific color.

The Transparent Google Images filter is good for when you need something where the background is gone. This is typically ideal when combining multiple images together in an image editing program (no background makes layering much easier).

Color filter on Google Images

Filter by Usage Rights

Another way to use Google's advanced image search tools is to find free images. There are several usage options you can pick from, including Labeled for reuse and Labeled for noncommercial reuse with modification.

Google Images search with usage rights option chosen

Filter by Type

The option to filter Google Images results by type is extremely helpful. Instead of sifting through millions of results to find a cartoonish picture or drawing of a cat, for example, you can just choose Line drawing or Clip art.

Google Images search results filtered by clip art

Use GIF to find GIFs on Google Images.

Filter by Time

The Time advanced image search option lets you restrict the results to photos that became available on the web during a specific time period. Past 24 hours is the heaviest filter here but you can also choose Past year.

Time filter on Google Images

Advanced Image Search Tool

Google Images also has a tool called Advanced Image Search that employs some of the same filters as above, but with even more advanced options. If fine-tuning your search results using filters didn't work as well as you had hoped, you might have luck using these options to narrow down the results.

Advanced Image Search tool from Google

Here are some of the unique advanced search options you'll find with this tool:

  • This exact word or phrase: Identical to using quotes in a web search, this option helps find images on Google when your multi-keyword search includes words that should remain together as a single phrase.
  • Aspect ratio: If the images you want to see on Google should be tall, square, wide, or panoramic, use this advanced Google Images option.
  • Region: Use this option to have the results show only the images that were published in a particular area of the world, such as Cuba, United States, Italy, etc.
  • Site or domain: Like a Google site search, use this advanced image search option to limit the results to photos from a particular website URL or TLD.
  • SafeSearch: Enable or disable SafeSearch to decide whether to filter sexually explicit content.
  • File type: If your Google Images search needs to include certain file types, you can pick which image file format Google should look for (e.g., JPG, PNG, SVG).

After choosing all the advanced search options that you want to use, select the Advanced Search button at the bottom to start the Google Images search.

Most of these advanced photo search options can be performed from the regular Google Images search box, but only if used in conjunction with advanced Google Search commands.