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5. Perform an Advanced Google Search



Perform a Basic Google Search

About Google Search Operators

About Power Searching Strategies

If you're doing a search that returns too many results and you want to zoom in on your search results as quickly as possible, the best way to do it is with an advanced search, as you'll learn to do in this task. An advanced search provides many more controls over what results are returned. For example, you can limit the search results to a specific language (instead of changing the options in the Preferences dialog box, as explained in Perform a Basic Google Search, which affects all searches, you can limit just the current search to a specific language), specify words you do not want returned in the search results, and so on.

Perform an Advanced Google Search

Go to the Advanced Search Page

From Google's main search page, click the Advanced Search link to the right of the main search text box at the top of the page. You are sent to the Google Advanced Search page.

Type Search Terms

The top part of the page, highlighted in blue, enables you to type search terms and to combine them in unique ways. Keep in mind that you can combine several of these options. For example, you can search for pages that have the exact phrase rhubarb patch but that do not have the word Barber on them. Here are your choices:

  • The with all of the words option means that Google returns results in which pages contain all your search terms. If a page is missing just one of the terms, it won't be included in the search results.

  • The with the exact phrase option means that Google returns results in which pages contain the exact phraseit's the same as putting quotation marks around the words in your search phrase.

  • The with at least one of the words option means that Google returns pages that contain any of your search terms. This is the default Google search method.

  • The without the words option is meant to be used in combination with one of the previous search options as a way to narrow a search. When you use this option, Google excludes any pages that contain the search terms you type on this line.

Choose Language, File Format, and Date

The next set of options on the Advanced Search page allows you to narrow your search even further:

  • The Language option enables you to narrow the results returned to pages that are primarily written in a single language. Click the drop-down box to make your choice of language. There are dozens of languages from which you can choose. The default search language is any language.

  • The File Format option enables you to search for files, rather than web pages. So if you know that a particular piece of information is in a specific file format, use the File Format option to make it easier to find the file. You can search for files in half a dozen formats: Adobe Acrobat (.pdf), Adobe Postscript (.ps), Microsoft Word (.doc), Microsoft Excel (.xls), Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt), and Rich Text Format (.rtf). You can also tell Google to have your results exclude the selected file formats by choosing Don't from the drop-down list just to the right of File Format. (When you find a .pdf file, for example, Google gives you the option of viewing the content in HTML rather than as a .pdf file.)

  • The Date option enables you to specify web pages that have been updated in a specific time period: in the past three months, the past six months, or the past year. You can also leave this option set to the Google default of anytime. Make your choice from the drop-down list.

Choose Domain, Usage Rights, and SafeSearch

The next set of choices on the Advanced Search page allow you to narrow your search in these ways:

  • The Domain option enables you to search through only a specific domain or domains, such as To search multiple domains, separate the URLs by commas. You can also exclude domains from your search by selecting Don't from the drop-down box to the right of Domain. (A domain is a main location such as or

  • The Usage Rights option enables you to search through pages or material that is boundor not boundby specific usage rights (that is, by the way in which the information can be used). The default is not filtered by license, which means that Google searches for any material. From the drop-down list, you can make a wide range of choices, from free to use or share, up to free to use, share or modify, even commercially.


The Usage Rights section of the Advanced Search page is primarily of use to those searching for software, not for material on web pages.

  • The SafeSearch option enables you to filter searches so they do not contain sexually explicit or inappropriate material.

Use Page-Specific Search Options

The Page-Specific Search section of the Advanced Search page enables you to do two types of searches:

  • Similar enables you to find pages similar to a page you've already found. For example, let's say you've found a page about the Hindenburg disaster, you want to find other pages about the disaster, and you've found that the site gave you a great deal of information about the topic. Type that page's URL here and click the related Search button to get similar pages. This option functions the same as if you clicked the Similar pages link on a search results page.

  • Links enables you to find pages that link to a specific page. For example, you could type the URL and click the related Search button to see all the pages that link to the specified URL. This is a very useful tool if you run a website and you notice a sudden surge in traffic; you can find out where that traffic came from by typing the URL for your home page in the Links box.

Do Topic-Specific Searches

The final section of the Advanced Search page enables you to search through topic-specific pages (such as pages related to Microsoft or Apple Macintosh) or through scholarly pages. When you click any of the topic-specific searches, you are sent to a new Google page (Google determines which page has the most relevant information). Type your search term on that page, and you'll do a topic-specific search.

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