Updated: October 21, 2011
Here, in one place, are all of the currently documented advanced search operators for web search. Note that Scholar, Groups, etc. may have some unique operators listed elsewhere. Also note that some operators come in pairs (e.g., allinanchor along with inanchor: ). We’ve written about them together rather than having two entries for the same kind of operator. Also, we followed the square brackets convention where a query is surrounded by square brackets. When doing the query, you wouldn’t actually use the square brackets in your query. (Although it won’t hurt anything either...)
allinanchor: / inanchor:
- Google restricts results to pages containing all query terms in the anchor text on links to the page. For instance: [ allinanchor: best restaurant Sunnyvale ] will return only pages in which the anchor text on links to the pages contain the words “best” “restaurant” and “Sunnyvale” – that is, all of the words following the allinanchor operator. So, when using allinanchor: in your query, do not include any other search operators. By contrast, using the operator inanchor: only searches for the term that’s next. Example: [ inanchor:sales offer 2011 ] will search only for “sales” in the anchor text.
- Anchor text is the text on a page that is linked to another web page or a different place on the current page. When you click on anchor text, you will be taken to the page or place on the page to which it is linked.
allintext: / intext:
- Restricts results to those containing all the query terms you specify in the text of the page. For example, [ allintext: camping tent stove] will return only pages in which the words “camping” “tent” and “stove” appear in the text of the page. Using the operator intext: will search only for the next term in the text of the page. . (Note: using intext: in front of every word in your query is the same as using allintext: at the front of your query, e.g., [ intext:Victorian intext:artists ] is the same as [ allintext: Victorian artists ].)
allintitle: / intitle:
- Restricts results to those containing all the query terms you specify in the title. For example, [ allintitle: university relations ] will return only documents that contain the words “university” and “relations” in the title of the page. Using the operator intitle: will search only for the next term in the title of the page. For instance, [ flu shot intitle:help ] will return documents that mention the word “help” in their titles, and mention the words “flu” and “shot” anywhere in the document (title or not).
allinurl: / inurl:
- Restricts results to those containing all the query terms you specify in the URL. For example, [ allinurl: google faq ] will return only documents that contain the words “google” and “faq” in the URL, such as “www.google.com/help/faq.html”.
term1 AROUND( n ) term2
- Limits results to those documents where term1 appears within a certain number of words of term2. For instance, [ search AROUND (3) engine ] will find only documents that have the words “search” within 3 words of “engine” – this is particularly useful when searching for common words that are relevant to your search only when in close proximity.
- Gives definitions from pages on the web for the term that follows. Useful for finding definitions of words, phrases, and acronyms. For example, [ define: peruse ] will give a definition of the word “peruse.” This also works for many phrases, [ define:Hobson’s choice ]
- Limits results to pages whose names end in suffix. The suffix is anything following the last period in the file name of the web page and can be many characters in length.
- Example: [ search engine guidelines filetype:pdf ] will return Adobe Acrobat pdf files that match the terms “search,” “engine,” “guildelines,” and are pages whose names end with pdf
Fill in the blanks (*)
- The *, or wildcard, is a little-known feature that can be very powerful. If you include * within a query, it tells Google to try to treat the star as a placeholder for any unknown term(s) and then find the best matches. For example, the search [ Google * ] will give you results about many of Google's products (go to next page and next page -- we have many products). The query [ Obama voted * on the * bill ] will give you stories about different votes on different bills. Note that the * operator works only on whole words, not parts of words.
inanchor: (see allinanchor: above )
[ info:googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/introducing-google-project-real-life.html ]
- info: will gives some additional information about the specified web page. For instance, the query --
will show information about this Google web blog page, including a cached version, links to pages that link to this page, other pages
on this site, etc.
intext: (see allintext: above)
intitle: ( see allintitle: above)
inurl: (see allinurl: above)
- Note that the link: operator does not return a complete list of all the links available. It simply returns a representative sample.
Minus sign ( – ) to exclude
- Placing a minus sign immediately before a word indicates that you do not want pages that contain this word to appear in your results. The minus sign should appear immediately before the word and should be preceded with a space. For example, in the query [ anti-virus software ], the minus sign is used as a hyphen and will not be interpreted as an exclusion symbol; whereas the query: [ anti-virus –software ] will search for the words 'anti-virus' but exclude references to software. You can exclude as many words as you want by using the – sign in front of all of them, for example [ jaguar –cars –football –os ]. The – sign can be used to exclude more than just words. For example, place a minus sign before the 'site:' operator (without a space) to exclude a specific site from your search results. (NOTE: If you copy and paste these searches into a search bar, please note that we have elongated the minus sign here so you can see it--please replace with a regular minus sign.)
Number range ( .. )
- The number range operator searches for results containing numbers in a given range. Just add two numbers, separated by two periods, with no spaces, into the search box along with your search terms. Example: [ Willie Mays 1950..1960 ] You can also specify a unit of measurement or some other indicator of what the number range represents. For example, here's how you'd search for a DVD player that costs between $50 and $100: [ DVD player $50..$100 ]
- The Boolean operator OR specifies alternatives to use as synonyms in search. For instance, the query:
[ mesothelioma OR “lung disease” treatment ]
could be used to search for a treatment for either mesothelioma or the quoted phrase “lung disease” (Be sure to make the OR all
uppercase. Lowercase or won’t work.)
Phrase search (using double quotes, “…” )
- By putting double quotes around a set of words, you are telling Google to consider the exact words in that exact order without any change. Google already uses the order and the fact that the words are together as a very strong signal and will stray from it only for a good reason, so quotes are usually unnecessary. By insisting on phrase search you might be missing good results accidentally. For example, a search for [ "Alexander Bell" ] (with quotes) will miss any pages that refer to Alexander G. Bell.
- A search for related:URL lists pages that are similar to the web page you specify. For instance, [related:en.wikipedia.org] will list web pages that are similar to the Wikipedia homepage.
Search exactly as is ("word")
- Google employs synonyms automatically, so that it finds pages that mention, for example, childcare for the query [ child care ] (with a space), or California history for the query [ ca history ]. But sometimes Google helps out a little too much and gives you a synonym when you don't really want it. By enclosing the single word you want to freeze in quotes as in the query [ "ca" history ], you are telling Google to match that word precisely as you typed it.
- Using the site: operator restricts your search results to the site or domain you specify. For example, [ penquins site:.aq ] will search for pages about penguins from web sites that have an AQ top-level domain name. (AQ is Antarctica, and is mostly research stations located there.) A query like [ accidents site:bls.gov ] will find pages about accidents within the bls.gov domain (BLS = Bureau of Labor Statistics). You can specify a domain with or without a period, e.g., either as .gov or gov.
Combinations of operators:
- Many of the search operators –, OR, and " " can be combined. For example, to find articles on security from all sites except Wikipedia.org you would search for:
[ article security –site:Wikipedia.org ]
- Similarly, you might want to exclude some kinds of documents with a search such as [ salsa recipe -tomatoes -filetype:pdf ] which would find salsa recipes that do not include the term “tomatoes” and are not PDF files.
More advanced search options:
- Note that the Advanced Search page (http://www.google.com/advanced_search) also provides a set of search options that are not available as special operators. Using the Advanced Search page you can also:
- filter by language (e.g., find pages only in Spanish, Chinese, German, etc.)
- date (filter by time)
- usage rights (filter by Creative Commons license)
- reading level (find pages that are Basic, Intermediate or Advanced reading levels)