When you’re using Google to find out any kind of research or information, there are several types of web searches you can do to improve your chances of finding exactly what you’re looking for and save yourself a lot of time.  Here are some really useful commands.

Firstly a great search to know is How to use Google as a Dictionary;  if you’re interested in finding a quick dictionary style definition of any word,  then use the syntax define: .  You just type define: yule and you will be simply given the meaning rather than a general search of anything that includes the word “yule”.  If you’re not sure if you have the correct spelling Google will helpfully suggest an alternative just as it does for regular searches.

How to Search within Website Titles:  sometimes you may want to find Web pages where one or more words appear in the title of the page.  There may be many web pages that mention what you’re looking for, but it may not be the main focus of the page.  If you only want pages that are dedicated to the subject then you use the syntax intitle: .  So if you type intitle:Saint Nicholas, you will only be shown pages that are solely about Saint Nicholas, useful!

Searching for Synonyms; use this search when you’re not really sure what you’re looking for!  When you put a tilde ~in front of your search word Google will show searches for your chosen word and synonyms i.e. different words with almost identical or similar meanings.  You should not leave any space between the tilde and the word you’re searching for i.e ~fir trees, this search will bring results for pine trees & evergreens too.

Boolean Search: There are two basic Boolean search commands in Google, AND and  OR. AND searches for all the search terms, “Santa Claus AND Elves”, so you will be shown any pages that contain both Santa Claus and Elves.  However if you use OR, “Santa Claus OR Elves”, this will bring up all pages that are about either Santa Claus or Elves.  Google defaults to the AND search so you don’t really need to type AND in to get the results. The OR command needs to be in capital letters otherwise Google will ignore it.

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