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Google Tips & Tricks: Create Better Searches

Learn tips & tricks about Google, and become an expert searcher.

Exclude Words from Your Search

You can use a minus sign next to a word you want to exclude.  For example, if you want to learn about dolphins but are frustrated by all the results about Miami's football team, search for dolphins -football

Search within a Specific Web Site

You can limit your search to a specific web site.  For example, if you want information on ethanol from the Wall Street Journal, search for ethanol  You can also limit your search to a specific category of sites, such as or 

Use a Wildcard

A wildcard allows you to search unknown words.  For example, you can search for harkin voted * on ethanol to see how Iowa's senator voted on this issue.  You can substitute the wildcard for more than one word; for example, you can try a search for grassley voted * on * to see different bills. 

NOTE:  You can only use the wildcard for whole words, not parts of a word. 

Limit by File Type

In Google, you can limit your search to a specific file type.  Simply add filetype: before the file type you want. For example, you remember seeing a great eggplant recipe once that was in PDF format.  Try searching for eggplant recipe filetype:pdf

Celebrating 75 Years of Excellence!

Westchester Community College provides accessible, high quality and affordable education to meet the needs of our diverse community. We are committed to student success, academic excellence, workforce development, economic development and lifelong learning.

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75 Grasslands Road
Valhalla, NY 10595
Tel: (914) 606-6600