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Google Tips & Tricks: Create Better Searches

Learn tips & tricks about Google, and become an expert searcher.

Exclude Words from Your Search

You can use a minus sign next to a word you want to exclude.  For example, if you want to learn about dolphins but are frustrated by all the results about Miami's football team, search for dolphins -football

Search within a Specific Web Site

You can limit your search to a specific web site.  For example, if you want information on ethanol from the Wall Street Journal, search for ethanol  You can also limit your search to a specific category of sites, such as or 

Use a Wildcard

A wildcard allows you to search unknown words.  For example, you can search for harkin voted * on ethanol to see how Iowa's senator voted on this issue.  You can substitute the wildcard for more than one word; for example, you can try a search for grassley voted * on * to see different bills. 

NOTE:  You can only use the wildcard for whole words, not parts of a word. 

Limit by File Type

In Google, you can limit your search to a specific file type.  Simply add filetype: before the file type you want. For example, you remember seeing a great eggplant recipe once that was in PDF format.  Try searching for eggplant recipe filetype:pdf