Google resources

Getting the most from your time on the web includes knowing how to best search the web. Below are some tips and tricks to help you become a power searching using Google.

  Search by Site
[ ]
This will narrow your search results to a particular site. To exclude the site from your results, add a negative sign (-) before the word site such as [].

Example: [ Android ]

  Search by Filetype
[ filetype:pdf ]
You can easily limit your search results to only include the fileteype of which you are interested. You may get some outliers in your search results but, for the most part, this can be a real time saver if you are looking for a Word doc (.doc), graphic (.png), or a handout (.pdf).

Example: [ flipped classroom filetype:pdf ]

  Search using Similar Terms
[ ~child ]
If you want to search for a term but also want to include similar words or synonyms then add a tilde before the word. Not only will your search terms be bolded in the results but the similar words will also be bolded so you can see what additional words have been used.

Example: [ ~child math activities ]

  Search within Website Titles
[ intitle:activity ]
This is a great way to easily get better results. Place a minus sign (-) before the term if you want to exclude websites with that term. Place a plus sign (+) before the term if you want to make sure that the term appears on the page.

Example: [ intitle:"Professional Development" ice breakers]

  Include and Exclude Terms
[ +student -children ]
This is a great way to easily get better results. Place a minus sign (-) before the term if you want to exclude websites with that term. Place a plus sign (+) before the term if you want to make sure that the term appears on the page.

Example: [ +"Texas Rangers" -baseball +"law enforcement" ]

  Combining Several Advanced Techniques
Sometimes you have several search techniques that you want to use and it becomes quite cumbersome to enter them all in the search text box. Consider using the Advanced Search Page. Enter information in the fields that are appropriate and leave the others blank. In the example below, we are looking for pages that contain technology and the phrase "professional development" in the title of the page that occur during 2011 through 2013.

Example: [ allintitle: technology "professional development" 2011..2013 ]

  Filter by Images by Color
There are times I am needing an image with a transparent background. Google to the rescue! Once I've entered my search query and get my results, I click on the Images tool to refine my search results to only images. To reveal more options, click on the Search Tools button; click on Color and select Transparent. Voila!

Example: [ question mark ] Image search filtered by Tranparent

  Filter by Reading Level
Whether you are trying to search for content for your students or for you, sometimes it is handy to be able to adjust the search results by reading level (either up or down). This handy feature is great for students to know how to do in order to better manage their own learning.

Begin your search like normal to get the results page. No click on the Search Tools button to reveal more options; click on All Results and select Reading Level from the list.

Example: [ water cycle ] Web search filtered by Reading Level

You results will be refreshed. A bar chart will precede your search results. Clicking on the links (Basic, Intermedia, and Advanced) will filter the results to that specific reading level. The reading level of each site is alsoidentified under the link (shown highlighted below).

  Filter by Time Range
This is very handy when you are trying to locate current information and don't want older info to clutter up your search results. Use this when you are looking for more current information and articles when doing research, too.

After you do your search, click on the Search Tools button to reveal several different filter options. Click on Any Time and select a more appropriate filter. Choices include: Any time, Past hour, Past 24 hours, Past week, Past month, and Past year. You can also specific a specific date range to better refine your search results.

If you want to automate the process, check out my bookmarklet javascript below. Since Google doesn't allow you to set a date range as a preference for your searching, you might want to consider it.

Example: [ iPads in the Classrom ] Web search filtered by Past year

  Javascript Bookmarket to Filter Date Range
If you find that you filter by date ranges quite frequently then you might want to consider checking out this bookmarklet as suggested by Jefferson Scher. If you want different ranges,you'll need to create a specific bookmarket for each range. Below are directions for creating a bookmarklet to refine your search results from January 1, 2012 through Today. Begin by viewing your search results page and making sure your browser's bookmarks toolbar is displayed.
  1. Right-click and choose Add Bookmark (Firefox) or Add page (Chrome); in IE, click the star icon with the green arrow to add the current results page to the Favorites Bar, then right-click it and choose Properties.
  2. In the "Location" slot (Firefox) or "URL" slot (Chrome and IE) paste this string of JavaScript code (it's all one line) -- make sure to completely replace the existing URL in the box, if any: javascript:window.location.assign(window.location.href + "&tbs=cdr%3A1%2Ccd_min%3A1%2F1%2F2012%2Ccd_max%3Atoday");
  3. In the "Name" slot type something like 2012-Today; in IE, click the General tab to edit the name of the bookmark (and say Yes to the message about the javascript: protocol).
  4. Click the Add Bookmark button (Firefox) or Save button (Chrome) or OK button (IE).

video screenshot If you have a smartphone or tablet then be sure to check out Handwrite. It lets you write your search query on the screen instead of typing it in. Go to to search - you may need to activate it (or disable it) in your mobile search settings. Learn more about Handwrtite by clicking on the video to the right or by reading about it at Inside Search.
  Searching for News as Seen by Other Countries
We are so used to seeing headlines on the web and newspapers that we assume that other people around the world are viewing the same headlines. By taking advantage of Google's News search engine you can find top stories of any particular country. Here's how...

Begin by going to Google News ( Click on theU.S. Edition button to reveal a dropdown listing other countries. Selecting a country will filter your results to those that are headlining in that area.

Go deeper in your news searching by clicking on the small dark triangle in the right-hand portion of the search bar. This will reveal the advanced search features for the news.

If you want to personalize your Google News page, click on the small gear icon. Then, ajust the sliders to increase/decrease the amount of news for that topic. Add your own news topics by entering your topic and click in the small plus sign. Easily adjust your sources as well.

Click on the Advanced>> link (just above the Adjust Sources section) to search for specific sections you might want to consider adding to your personalized news page.