Google Tips and Tricks Every Student/Teacher Should Know

Whether you’re a student in college (or earlier) or a lifelong learner, Google is an essential tool for learning. Here are a few tips for using Google search and other apps more effectively to further your education.

Many of these tips you’ve no doubt learned before from our previous Google coverage, but every worthwhile subject is worth reviewing now and again, and today we’re looking specifically at the best Google tricks for students. So here we go!

Quickly Find Exactly the Information You Need

Everyone knows how to “Google,” but not everyone Googles efficiently. This one-minute video from Hack College offers these three essential tips:

  1. Be Specific. Find pages within sites using site:[website URL] and your search phrase, find authors using author:[name], and type intitle:[word] to find a page with that word in the title.
  2. Format. Use filetype:[jpg or other extension] to find images and all sorts of files (such as docs and pdfs)
  3. Broaden Your Search. Use an asterisk (*) as a wildcard search operator to fill in the blanks. For example, “Why money is *

Taking this further, you can also:

Find exams to practice with and other reference materials. Taking the “site:” operator a little further, you can search only education sites by typing in site:edu. This comes in handy when search for exams you can use to practice with: “site:edu advanced chemistry exam.” Combine this with the “filetype:pdf” or “filetype:doc” format for additional exams and documents. You can find a list of Google search operators on this Google help page and even more advanced operators here, but there are also non-official filetypes, such as “hlp for help files and js for Javascript files” you can search for (which we know thanks to the NSA, oddly enough).

History/politics students (or anyone interested in government) should also remember they can search site:gov.

Find more research. Use the “related:” operator to find similar sites to broaden your research. For example, “” or “” to make sure you’re covering all your bases in your research.

Limit search results. Let’s say your professor doesn’t want you to use certain sources. Use the minus sign () operator to exclude results from a certain site (e.g., “encryption –”). You can also do this to refine the results when a word can mean more than one thing (e.g., “jaguar –car”).

Similarly, if there’s only a range of dates, measurements, or other numbers you want to find, use two periods (..) to set that range, e.g., “manufacturing 1990..2001” or “laptops ..$1000” (leave out one of the numbers to set a minimum or maximum).

Use Google Search Shortcuts to Pull Up Quick Answers

Google Tips and Tricks Every Student Should Know

You shouldn’t have to dig around or visit web pages for easy answers.

Get definitions. Use “define [word]” to quickly bring up a word’s definition.

Make your browser do math. Also, start typing in your browser to do instant calculations and conversions (you don’t even have to hit enter!) just write the equation e.g. 12+14*50 or type calc for calculator