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Quick Guides

A Guide to Google

A Guide to Google

Google Default Searching


It's Automatic!

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Google's Boolean default is AND.  If you enter terms without any modifiers, Google will search for all of your items in the text of pages, in pages that link to a result page, and in other pages on the same site. Notice that use of AND in the example expands the results slightly.

google pagerank
google AND pagerank


Google will stem some items automatically, which means it will find terms with various endings.

kite flying

Note: results include kite, kites, kiting, flying, fly, and flies.

STOP words are ignored

Google ignores common terms (a, on, the, etc.)

vacation rentals in the woods

Note: in and the are excluded from the search

PUNCTUATION is not ignored

Google does not ignore the following punctuation:

(') apostrophe

(-) hyphen

accent marks

Notice your results for each of the following searches:

people's same-sex elephant

peoples' same sex elephant

peoples same-sex elephant


Standard Search Operators


What is it?

Why use it?

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+ (Google+)

Searches for Google+ pages To quickly locate Google+ social pages among search results based on a user's name or handle. +hillary

- (Exclude)

Tells Google to exclude results that include specific terms. To narrow results to pages that more accurately match query when a specific term is commonly associated with an unrelated topic.

 soup stock -market

java coffee -programming

" " (Quotes)

Tells Google to match results to an exact phrase. To narrow results to pages that specifically match phrase query.

 "global climate change"


A capital OR used between two terms or phrases tells Google to match results using either one or the other. To expand search results to pages that match different specified combinations of terms.

cheese cheddar OR swiss

Note: must use capital OR; lowercase or will be treated as a STOP word.

~ (Synonym)

Tells Google to query related terms and include them in search results. To not miss out on some useful results when a specific term is not the only way to express query.


Note: results include monkey and gorilla

.. (Number Range)

Tells Google to look for results falling inside a specified number range. To convey a range of dates, currency, size, weight, height, etc. specific to query.

prada pumps size 5..6

"babe ruth" 1921..1935


Google Keyword Operators


What is it?

Why use it?

Try it!


Restricts a search of specified terms to only the title of web pages. Narrows results dramatically and can increase relevancy. intitle:mileage "hybrid cars"


Restricts a search of specified terms to only the URLs of web pages. Works well for finding search and help pages, also good for searching subdirectories.

 inurl:help "ipod shuffle"


Finds sites similar to the website you already know. Identifies the strongest associations or "major players" in a field or market based on the URL.


Restricts a search to only suffixes or filename extensions. Search exclusively by file types such as: .pdf, .doc (Word), .xls (Excel), .ppt (PowerPoint), etc. filetype:pdf "montessori method"


Google URL Operators


What is it?

Why use it?

Try it!


Searches for pages that contain links to the specified URL. Useful evaluative tool to discover which sites link to a specific page.


Provides information about a specified URL. Another great evaluative tool.  Google will display a list of links to more information on URL.


Restricts search results to a specified URL. Useful tool for searching within a specified site URL.

 hurricane katrina


Displays Google's cached (stored) information on specified URL. For viewing older content on web sites that have changed or disappeared.


Google Information Operators


What is it?

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A dictionary feature that finds web pages and web-based dictionary entries for specified terms, includes related terms and phrases.


define: portmanteau

Note: when searching for terms without a modifier Google includes a definition link in the blue bar above the search results.


A phone number and address lookup feature.

phonebook: jones 95616

phonebook: stacey's 94105

Note: enter a last name or business name and either a state abbreviation or a zip code.  Google will display a full address, phone number and map link when available.


A direct link feature that takes you to Yahoo! Finance when preceding a stock ticker symbol.


Note: A Google search on stock ticker symbols without a modifier provides brief stock information listed above the search results.


Adapted from U.C. Davis Libraries

Last modified: December 20, 2010

More Tools

More Handy Google Tools

What is it?

Try it!


Click Translate this page after links to web pages in a foreign language on the Google results page to get a rough translation into English.


The Google calculator does basic arithmetic, some advanced math, measures and conversions, and physical constants.  For a list of suggested symbols, see



20% of 150



1.21 GW/88 MPH

Number Lookups

Tracking for UPS, FedEx, USPS: type the tracking number

VIN vehicle info, history: type the number

UPC product identification: type the code

US patent lookup: type the word patent and the number

More Shortcuts

 Area codes (US): type the 3 digit code to see location on map

 Airport conditions: type the airport code or city and the word airport

 Flight tracking: type the word airline and the airport

 Maps: type an address

 Stock info: type one or more NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ or mutual fund codes

 White pages: type rphonebook: name address

 Yellow pages: type bphonebook: name address

 Zip codes: type a zip code



Adapted from U.C. Davis Libraries

Last modified: December 20, 2010