International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
Teacher Standard 3.d: Model and facilitate
effective use of current and emerging
digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and
use information resources to support research and learning

Hints for Power Searching
in Google and Beyond

Each of the following tips or operators will help you narrow your search to get fewer results that are closer to what you're really looking for.
Amaze your friends with these nifty tricks!

Be sure you are using Chrome as your browser.

Type your search in the omnibox

There is no reason to go to If you're using Chrome, you can just type directly in the address bar (which, in Chrome, is called the omnibox).

"put your search in quotations"

Using quotation marks holds the words together as that exact phrase and will narrow your search results. For example, special education strategies yields far more results than "special education strategies"


With no space after filetype: you can add any of the following and Google will return only that type of file.  doc, docx, jpg, pdf, ppt, pptx.

Your search might look like "special education strategies" filetype:pdf


Using the site: operator allows you to narrow down your search to one particular site, or one domain (edu, com, org, etc.) So maybe you want only edu sites, or to search within a particular website. You could try "research on dyslexia" filetype:pdf site:edu or maybe "information literacy" filetype:pdf

~ (tilde)

The tilde will search for synonyms when you're not quite sure what word might have been used. As an example, I use this when I'm not sure if I'm looking for a manual, userguide, or directions. The search would look like "mavis beacon" ~userguide


The related: operator is great for finding sites similar to one you really like. For example, let's say you have done a search for stories in sign language and especially like the website To find more sites that more closely resemble that particular site, your search would be

Note: after related: you will include the entire website address MINUS the http:// at the front. See example above.

Country codes

To find websites originating in countries other than the United States, use a country code in your search. Use this when showing students differing perspectives about world events; for example, the story of the American Revolution is told very differently on sites from the UK. Or maybe you want to know about special educational strategies in Sweden or Norway. Your search would look like "special education strategies" site:SE

- (minus sign)

The minus sign excludes certain terms, which is great when you have an ambiguous search term. For example, a search for information about the speed of a large wild cat might look like jaguar speed -car

* (asterisk)

The asterisk serves as a placeholder (wildcard) for an unknown term. Example search:
* manning broke * record

Date range

Want your search to include the latest results? Or maybe you want to compare today's opinions with those of 10-15 years ago? Use the Search Tools button, then the first drop-down menu to select  Any time, past hour, past month, past year, or a custom date range.

Information panel

Information about certain topics (such as countries, landmarks, chemical elements, etc.) appears in a panel on the right side of the page. Useful for kids for acquiring the key words necessary for more detailed searches. Useful for you when you just want a quick reminder about, say, the capital of Nebraska.

Use Ctrl+F

On any web page, to quickly locate the keywords you're looking for, press Ctrl + F on your keyboard (the shortcut for "Find"). Type the word in the bar at the top right of the page and click enter to be taken to each instance of the word.

Use Google as your dictionary or thesarus

No need to type Just type define:yoursearchterm in the omnibox.

Image search: narrow your results

When searching images, click Search tools. You can search by image size, color, and type (photo vs. clipart, for example).

Usage rights is my favorite, to make sure I get presentation images that are not going to have copyright issues! Select Labeled for reuse. Also, there is a GREAT Google extension called Crafty Rights that automatically forces the search results as "Labeled for reuse." Super time saver - be sure you are logged in when using Chrome as your browser and CraftyRights will follow you anywhere.


If you need a countdown timer for something you're doing in class (or to make sure you don't overcook that roast), search for timer and the number of minutes.
Example: timer 5 minutes


Type any needed conversion in the omnibox. Examples: 12 dollars in euros; 37 cm in inches; 100 degrees F in C

Sports facts

Type the name of any in-season team and the first result will be the team's record, upcoming games, and other useful info. You can also see live scores (or the results of the game most recently played) by entering one team vs. another. Example: mavericks vs. wizards


Type the airline and flight number in the omnibox. Google will tell you the flight status - the green airplane shows you how relatively close the plane is to landing. Try Southwest 35 as an example. You can also search flights to and your destination. Google will show you flight times, prices, and links to the airlines.

Healthier food options

Use Google to compare nutritional content of foods. Try potato vs. rice or apple vs. potato chip


Search movies your zip code and see all the movies playing near you.

Time zones

Do you have a loved one far across the world? Search time in and the location to learn whether it's a good time to call. Example: time in Dublin


Curious about what people are searching for on Google? Try Google Trends at - you can use the date drop-down to search as far back as 2004. Show your students what was trending in the year they were born! (Fun fact: most-searched actors in 2004 included Orlando Bloom and Pamela Anderson.)


Search weather your zip code for an easy way to get the forecast.

Did you know...

Your results may or may not match the results of the person next to you. Google knows who you are and will return results based on your searching history. Kinda cool/creepy!

Google ngram viewer

The Google Ngram Viewer is an online viewer, initially based on Google Books, that charts frequencies of any word or short sentence using yearly count of n-grams found in the sources printed between 1800 and 2012. Fascinating to see how words come and go over time! Try Alaska, Hawaii or rain forest.

Google maps

On, after you search for an address, there is a small yellow person in the lower right hand corner. Click and drag that little guy to a location on the map and drop him there - you'll see the street view.

Search for restaurants, stores, etc. near a map location.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar searches peer-reviewed journal articles and other scholarly literature. Use when you need results from brainier sources.

Just for fun

Google isn't all serious! Try these fun Google hacks when you have a little time on your hands: