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The below tips work for most major search engines.
The more specific your search is, the more likely you
find what you want. Don't be afraid to tell a search
engine exactly what you are
example, if you want information about Windows 8
search for "Windows 8 bugs," not
Or even better,
search for exactly what the problem is,
for example. "I can't install a USB device in
You'll be surprised at how often this works.
Using The + Symbol
Sometimes, you want to make sure that a search engine
pages that have all the words you enter, not just
some of them. The + symbol
lets you do this.
For example, imagine you want to find pages that have
references to both lions and tigers on the same page.
could search this way: +lions +tigers.
Only pages that
contain both words would appear in your results.
some other examples:
+windows +7 +bugs
would find pages that have all
three of the words on them. Helpful if
you wanted to
narrow down a search to Windows 7 bugs, rather than
7 in general.
+star +trek +insurrection would get you pages about
Star Trek that also
specifically mention "Insurrection,"
the title of a Star Trek film.
The + symbol is especially helpful when you do a
then find yourself overwhelmed with
information. Imagine that you wanted to
camping space in California's Yosemite National Park.
You might start
out simply searching with the word
Yosemite. If so, chances are, you'll probably get too
results. Instead, try searching for all
the words you want to appear, for example,
+Yosemite +camping +reservations.
Using The -
Sometimes, you want a search engine to find pages
one word on them but not another word.
The - symbol lets you do this.
For example, imagine you want information about
but don't want to be overwhelmed by pages relating to
tigers. You should search this way: lions -tigers.
the search engine to find pages that mention "lions"
then to remove any of them that also mention "tigers."
Similarly, perhaps you are looking for information
specifically about Windows
8 but keep getting pages
7 or Windows XP. You could eliminate
them with a search like this: windows -7 -XP
Perhaps you are a fan of the original Star Trek series
instead keep finding pages about Voyager, Deep Space
Nine or Star Trek: The Next
Generation. Try a search like
this: star trek -voyager -deep -space -nine -next
In general, the - symbol is helpful for focusing results
you get too many that are unrelated to your topic.
Simply begin subtracting
terms you know are not of
interest, and you should get better results.
Marks To Multiply
Now that you know how to add and subtract terms,
we can move
on to multiplication. As in normal math,
multiplying terms through a
"phrase search" can be a
much better way to get the answers you are
For example, remember above when we wanted pages
reserving a campsite in Yosemite? We entered all the
terms like this: +Yosemite +camping +reservations
That brings back pages that have all those words on
there's no guarantee that the words may
necessarily be near each other. You
could get a page that
mentions Yosemite in the opening paragraph but then
talks about getting camping reservations in the
Grand Canyon. All the words you
added together would
appear on this page, but it still might not be what you are
Doing a phrase search avoids this problem. This is
tell a search engine to give you pages where the terms
appear in exactly the
order you specify. You do this by
putting quotation marks around the phrase,
"Yosemite camping reservations"
Now, only pages that have all the words and in the exact
shown above will be listed. The answers should be
much more on target than with
Likewise, remember this addition example?
+windows +XP +bugs. As you can imagine, multiplying the
terms together within a
phrase search would work better,
because that exact phrase probably appears on
dealing with Windows 98 bugs.
So try this: "windows 98 bugs".
Remember the search for information about the latest
Star Trek movie? We
could transform that into a phrase
search like this: " Star Trek
But the movie's title actually has a colon after the
"trek," and many pages might also follow this format.
Thus, a better
phrase search might be:
Once you've mastered adding, subtracting and
can combine symbols to easily create
targeted searches. For example, remember the person
who wanted pages only about
Star Trek's original series?
We searched this way:
star trek -voyager -deep -space -nine -next
A better search might use subtraction and multiplication:
"star trek" -voyager -"deep
space nine" -"next generation"