Hints and tips for using the Google search bar

Did you know that in addition to checking your email, Facebook, and seeing the current weather, you can search Google from the home page? It’s true (and oh so very handy). To make using the search bar even easier, here are some tips and hints for getting the most out of your Google search.

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First, forget worrying about spelling, punctuation, and upper and lower case letters. Google’s spell checker automatically defaults to the most common spelling of a given word and most punctuation and/or special characters are ignored. In addition, Google search is not case sensitive so it doesn’t care if you’re searching for “Wheaties” or “wheaties.”

Here are a few more things you might not know you can do with Google:

Search by location: Are you looking for a barbecue rib joint? Just Google “barbecue ribs [your zip code]” (so “barbecue ribs 53717” if you were in Madison, Wis.) and you’ll get hits in, or close to, the location you specified (no more typing in the full city name and state abbreviation to get location-based hits).

Search an exact phrase: Use quotes to search for an exact word or set of words (quite handy for song lyrics or movie quotes).

Link two words in your search: By linking two words together with an underscore (_), your search results will find this pair of words linked together—either as one word (e.g. quicksort) or connected by an underscore (e.g. quick_sort).

Search using a dollar sign ($): For Google, the dollar sign indicates prices so you’ll get a much different result for “Panasonic 200” then you will for “Panasonic $200.”

Find strongly connected ideas and phrases: Do this by using the ampersand (&) and you’ll find results for “brothers & sisters” or “A&E.”

Search within a site or domain: If you’re looking for results from a certain website, include “site:[website]” in your search. For example, find all mentions of “Olympics” on the New York Times website by entering “olympics” in the search bar.

Exclude search results: Add a dash (-) before a word you don’t want included in the results. You can even do this for entire sites by putting a dash and then “Site:” for example.

Search for either of two words by using OR: If you want to search for information on an event that happens in multiple years, you could search for “Olympics 2014 OR 2018.” Make sure the “OR” is in upper case.

In general, keep your search as simple as possible. Usually one or two words will cast the widest search and more will narrow it. Happy searching!

About Missy Kellor

Missy works on the Corporate Communications team and reports stories to TDS employees and customers. This is right up her alley because she’s an extrovert and also a big fan of research (really, she’ll look up just about anything that strikes her interest). Missy is a native of Madison, Wis. with an undergraduate in Anthropology and a master’s degree in Life Sciences Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interest in the Internet as a mass media shaped her work towards a PhD in Journalism and Mass Communications. She’s also worked as an editorial assistant, copywriter, and production artist. In her off hours, Missy is a crafter, Pinterest addict, reader, wife, and mom of two kids.
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