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Finding the information you want on the Internet

Here are a few ideas for improving the results of searches

  • Use specific words rather than generic categories. For example, instead of searching for dogs, search for a specific breed of dog.
  • Use quotation marks to search for specific phrases. Surrounding terms with quotation marks limits the search results to only those webpages that contain the exact phrase you've specified. Without the quotation marks, the results will include any page that contains the words you've used, regardless of what order those words are in.
  • Use the minus (-) sign before a keyword to tell search providers to exclude pages with that term. Using a minus sign will retrieve webpages that do not include the word. It's important not to include any spaces between the signs and the search terms (for example, -Bogart, not - Bogart).
  • Eliminate common words such as a, my, or the, unless you're looking for a specific title. If the word is part of something you're looking for (a song title, for example), include the common word and surround the phrase with quotation marks.
  • Use synonyms or alternative search terms. Be creative or use a thesaurus for ideas. Type thesaurus in the Instant Search box to find an online thesaurus.
  • Search only a specific website or domain. Type the search term you're looking for followed by site: and the address of the website you want to search to narrow the search to that specific site. For example, to search Microsoft.com for information about viruses, type virus site: www.microsoft.com.
  • Use a specialty search engine or provider, such as MSN Image search, to look for pictures. Many websites offer their own special searches for anything from shopping to hobbies. Internet Explorer can detect specialty search providers on some websites, which you can add to your list of search providers.