How to Use Google's Advanced Image Search

Find Exactly What Picture You're Looking for With this Guide

Magnifying glass leaning on striped background

Caiaimage/Andy Roberts/Getty Images

Google's search engine searches for images as well as web page results. If you're looking for a specific photo or screenshot, here's how to use Google's Advanced Search feature to find the exact image you need.

How to Use Google's Advanced Image Search

A basic Google Image Search gets the job done for most internet users, but if you want to fine-tune it, select Settings at the top of the search results page, then select Advanced Search.

Screenshot of Google's Advanced Image Search options

This opens a new page with a variety of search parameters:

  • Find Images With: Search using specific keywords or phrases.
  • Image Size: Search for images in a specific resolution or with a certain amount of megapixels.
  • Color: Search for a specific color in an image, or search for black and white or transparent images.
  • Type of Image: Search for clip art, animated pictures, or other types of images.
  • Region: Search for images by region or country.
  • Site or Domain: Enter a URL to search for an image on a specific website.
  • SafeSearch: Filter out websites that contain explicit results.
  • File types: Look for specific image file formats.
  • Usage: Locate images that are free to use, modify, and share.

The Advanced Image Search page comes in handy if you're looking for images of a particular file type. For example, a project that requires images in a JPEG-only format. It's also handy if you're looking for a large or high-resolution image for printing, or a low-resolution image that will work on the web.

View Your Images

When you perform an image search, Google returns paginated results displayed in a grid and organized by relevance to your original search terms. Google lists the size, file type, and the originating host's URL for each image in the search results.

When you select an image, it opens in a frame in the middle of the page. Google also shows information about the image, a link to the original website, sharing and saving options, and related images. Select the image to go to the creator's site.

Screenshot of the Google Images information panel

Some images that are found using Google Image Search aren't viewable because the website owners use special codes and search engine instructions to keep non-authorized users from downloading images without permission.

Filter Your Image Results

If you don't want to encounter something offensive while searching images, Google offers many options for keeping searches safe. A moderate SafeSearch content filter is enabled by default when you use Google Images. This filtering blocks potentially offensive images, but not the accompanying text.

Screenshot of the SafeSearch menu in Google Images

To toggle the SafeSearch filter in any search results page, select the SafeSearch dropdown arrow in the upper-right corner and choose Filter Explicit Results. Or, shut off SafeSearch to see the raw, unfiltered results of your query.

A Warning About Copyrights

Although Google Image Search displays targeted photos and line drawings, you cannot download those images and re-use them without attribution. Most images have copyright protection and cannot be modified, used, or displayed without the original owner's consent.