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To get the most out of Google search, try using some of Google's advanced search operators for narrowing your searches. These search operators are commands that let Google users search specific parts of web pages or specific types of information. They are a great way to get very specific results without having your search terms get too specific.

Want to improve your Google skills? Check out this video as our expert librarian, Alex Kustanovich, guides you through a variety of advanced Google search operators.

Google Special Syntaxes


Search Operator Description
"search term"

eg. "to each his own"

Force an exact‐match search. Use it to refine results for ambiguous searches, or to exclude synonyms when searching for single words. This example searches the exact phrase, to each his own.

eg. Maui OR Hawaii

Search for X or Y. This will return results related to X or Y, or both. This example will return results related to either Maui or Hawaii.

eg. Maui AND Hawaii

Returns only results related to both X and Y. Note: It doesn't make much difference for regular searches, as Google defaults to “AND” anyway. But it is useful when paired with other operators.


eg. virus -computer

Exclude a term or phrase. In this example, any pages returned will be related to viruses but not computers.

eg. steve * apple

Acts as a wildcard and will match any word or phrase. This example will return results for both Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (or any other 'Steve' related to Apple)

eg. ipod

Allows you to search for your keywords in a particular website. In this example we are searching for "iPod" only on the pages of ''.

Note: You can also use site: operator to exclude certain domains from a search. eg. google


eg. define:ontology

Will get the definition of the term that you have entered. This operator can be used to get the definitions of words, phrases, and acronyms

eg. "sparc education" filetype:pdf

Restrict results to those of a certain filetype. E.g., PDF, DOCX, TXT, PPT, etc.

Note: The “ext:” operator can also be used—the results are identical.



Find sites that are related to a particular domain. In this example, the results show pages related to the New York Times such as, USA Today, Washington Post and TIME.

eg. apple AROUND(4) iphone

Proximity search. Find pages containing two words or phrases within X words of each other. For this example, the words “apple” and “iphone” must be present in the content and no further than four words apart.



Finds a copy of the page that Google indexed even if that page is no longer available at its original URL or has since changed its content completely. This is particularly useful for pages that change often.

eg. inurl:help

Restricts search to the URLs of web pages. It tends to work well for finding search and help pages, because they tend to be regular in composition.

eg. intitle:"george bush"

Finds pages with certain word(s) in the title. In this example, any pages with "george bush" in the title tag will be returned as results.

eg. inanchor:"tom peters"

Searches for text in a page’s link anchors. A link anchor is the descriptive text of a link.

eg. intext:""

Searches for the keyword in the body text of webpage. While its uses are limited, it’s perfect for finding query words that might be too common in URLs or link titles. This example would return results where "" appeared in the webpage content.

eg. inventions 1850..1899

If you want to search for a range of numbers then you can use two dots (without spaces) to represent a range of numbers. This example returns results for inventions between 1850 and 1899.

eg. stocks:goog

See stock information (i.e., price, etc.) for a specific ticker.This example returns a NASDAQ summary for Alphabet Inc (the parent company of Google).


Adapted from 'Google Search Operators: The Complete List (42 Advanced Operators)' at