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Special Notation

Note: Nancy uses this page for presentations on her favorite Google features. You can find more information about these features in other sections of Google Guide.

You can fine-tune your search query and increase the accuracy of its results by using special characters and operators, such as +, , ~, .., OR, and quotation marks.

Force Google to include a term by preceding the term with a “+” sign.

Google search box with [ Thomas +the Tank Engine ].  

The + operator is typically used in front of stop words that Google would otherwise ignore or when you want Google to return only those pages that match your search terms exactly.

Precede each term you do not want to appear in any result with a “” sign.

Google search box with [ bush -president ].  

Find synonyms by preceding the term with a “~”, which is known as the tilde or synonym operator.

Google search box with [ google ~guide ].  

Note: Currently the synonym operator is only supported on Google Web and Directory search.

Specify synonyms or alternative forms with an uppercase OR or | (vertical bar).

Google search box with [ Tahiti OR Hawaii ].  

Use quotes (“ ”) to group compound words and phrases together.

Google search box with [ filter OR stop "junk email" OR spam ].  

Specify that results contain numbers in a range by specifying two numbers, separated by two periods, with no spaces.

Google search box with [ Russian Revolution 1800..2000 ].  


Google search box with [ trail-a-bike $50..$350 ].  

This table summarizes how to use basic search operators.

You may include any of these operators multiple times in a query.

Notation Find result Example
term1 term2 with both term1 and term2 after-school activity ]
term1 OR term2 term1 | term2 with either term1 or term2 or both Tahiti OR Hawaii ] [ Tahiti | Hawaii ]
+term with term (The + operator is typically used in front of stop words that Google would otherwise ignore or when you want Google to return only pages that match your search terms exactly. However, the + operator can be used on any terms.) +i spy ]
term without term twins –baseball ]
~term with term or one of its synonyms (currently supported on Web and Directory search) google ~guide ]
number1..number2 with a number in the specified range trail-a-bike $50..$350 ]
phrase with the exact phrase, a proper name, or a set of words in a specific order

“I have a dream” ]

“Rio de Janeiro” ]

tags (keywords): , , ,

This page was last modified on: Friday February 2, 2007

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By Nancy Blachman and Jerry Peek who aren't Google employees. For permission to copy & create derivative works, visit Google Guide's Creative Commons License webpage.

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