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Google Searching Tips


Constructing a Search Strategy

Google searches on words in the order they appear, so book paper would get you a different result than paper book. Google only searchings the first ten words that you enter.


Use if you want to search for words in a particular, like "milk chocolate", which will give you a more effective search than searching for "milk" and "chocolate" as separate words.

Phrase searches are also very useful when searching for people and places, such as "Las Vegas" or "Elvis Presley".

Special Searches

Tells Google to search for just words found in Web page titles. Example: intitle:dark chocolate .

Google looks only in URLs of Web pages. Example: inurl:baseball .

There are a number of file types searched by Google in addition to standard HTML-formatted pages. Example: Typing filetype:doc dark chocolate brings back only Word documents on the subject of dark chocolate. Similarly for other file types, only files created with the corresponding program are returned. Examples:

  • Adobe Acrobat (pdf )
  • Lotus 1-2-3 (wk1, wk2, and so on)
  • Microsoft Excel (xls)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (ppt)
  • Rich Text Format (rtf )
  • Shockwave Flash (swf)
  • Text (ans, txt)

Google searches only in the body text of Web pages but not in links, URLs, or titles. For example, intext:chocolate or intext:dark chocolate .

Use this bit of syntax when you want to limit Google's search to a particular site. For examle, Microsoft mouse would offer only references to Microsoft mice that are on PC World's Web site. Likewise, Philosophy would give you pages at the main Windward CC site that mentioned philosophy.

Use the minus sign to exclude certain sites. For example, -site:com would keep Google from returning results from every .com sites

Include Stop Words (common words that it would otherwise ignore, such as the )
to include those words, use a + (plus sign). To make Google exclude stop words, replace the + with a - (minus sign). (With all syntax words, make sure there is no space after either sign or after a colon.) Example: To find a list of the keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Word, type keyboard+shortcut+word . Replace word with any other application name to get key board shortcuts for it, such as OE (for Outlook Express), Quicken, or Acrobat.

Specialized Collections

Google Scholar (
Type in DA Krupp to find scholarly journal articles by WCC's own Dave Krupp.

Google Book Search (
Type in Melal to view pages from a novel by WCC's own Robert Barclay.

Google Local (
Type in an address to see a map and satellite image, and get driving directions.

Other Google Features

Find definitions to words by typing define:word . Only the definition is returned. If you want sites based on the word as well, drop the colon. Example: define word .

Google as Caculator
Just enter the numbers you'd like to calculate, without the equal sign. Example: 2+2 returns with 2+2=4. For multiplication, use an asterisk (*); for division, use a forward slash (/) You can also use Google's calculator to query higher-level mathematics. Go to for directions.

Get a Map
Enter map location (where location is a city and/or state) for your choice of maps. Or do a more exacting search by entering a U.S. street address, city, state, and/or zip code. (For a region map, enter a phone area code.) Example: 123 main street san francisco ca .

Enter a Ticker
Enter the symbol for a company or mutual fund on the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, or American Stock Exchange for a current quote.

Find Someone
Enter a residential phone number (312-555-1212) to get a listed address (and map), or enter a first name (or initial), last name, and city to get the number, if listed. You can also zero in by adding the area code or zip code as well. Don't have an address? List the last name and a zip code or city and state to get a search result.

Track a Package
Enter your tracking number from Federal Express, United Parcel Service, or the United States Postal Service. Try a search for 9101183107838206641207.

Universal Product Codes
Enter the UPC number to get information on the product and its maker.

Flight Status
Enter the airline name and flight number for status. Example: United Airlines 150 or usair 150 .