Have you ever tried to search Google for something specific at work and the results come back with completely unrelated topics? Here are five Google search tricks to help save you time during your workday.
- Use quotes to search for an exact phrase. This one’s a well-known, simple trick: searching a phrase in quotes will yield only pages with the same words in the same order as what’s in the quotes. It’s one of the most vital search tips, and it’s especially useful if you’re trying to find results containing a specific phrase.
- Use an asterisk within quotes to specify unknown or variable words. Here’s a lesser known trick: searching a phrase in quotes with an asterisk replacing a word will search all variations of that phrase. For example, it’s helpful if you’re trying to find all forms of an expression (e.g. “* is thicker than water”).
- Use the minus sign to eliminate results containing certain words. You’ll want to eliminate results with certain words if you’re trying to search for a term that’s generating a lot of results that aren’t of interest to you. Figure out what terms you’re not interested in, put the minus sign immediately before it (e.g. computer -Apple) and re-run the search.
- Search websites for keywords. Think of the “site:” function as a Google search that searches only a particular website. For example, if you want to see every time TIME.com mentioned Google, use the search “Google site:TIME.com”.
- Use “DEFINE:” to learn the meaning of words—slang included. Streamline the dictionary process by using, for example, “DEFINE: firewall.” For words that appear in the dictionary, you’ll be able to see etymology and a graph of its use over time alongside the definition. Google will even sift the web to define slang words or acronyms. Try “DEFINE: ICYMI”.