Google Searching (Reynoso): Smooth Operators


Your instructor may ask you to use a webpage as one of your sources for a paper. To weed out unreliable webistes, you may want to limit your searches to government or academic websites. You can do this by typing in any of the following:


Note: DO NOT include spaces between characters. The "." is optional, so you could also type: site:gov or site:edu


You can also limit your search results to specific types of files, like PDF, or KML. To do this, type in:

  • filetype:.pdf
  • filetype:kml
  • filetype:csv

Note: DO NOT include spaces between characters. For a full list of available file types, click here.


Operators allow you to narrow down your search. By typing in the operator, followed by your search term, you can eliminate results that are not useful to you while improving the results that you do see.


Use quotes around a phrase if you are looking for an exact phrase. Some examples include:

  • "black cats"
  • "child care"
  • "drunk driving"

Note: If you do not do this, your search results will include any resources that include those words in any part of the text.


If you want to broaden your search, you can use "OR" to search for either search term. Here are some examples:

  • cats OR dogs
  • trucks OR SUVs
  • babies or children

Note: Be sure to capitalize "OR" in this case.


There might be instances when you want to exclude certain results from appearing. Here are some examples.

  • salsa -dancing
  • python -snakes
  • bikes -motorcycles

Note: Be sure to leave a space before the "-" If you do not, Google will think you want to search for both terms.