Top Time-Saving Yahoo! Search Tips

  • Posted October 25th, 2007 at 11:00 am by Yahoo! Search
  • Categories: Search Tips

When it comes to the Web, there’s nothing wrong with cutting a few corners. That’s why we decided to focus today’s post on some time-saving tips for your next search. Some may seem obvious; others you may already know and use. But we hope a few will help you cut through the chase. You can find a full list of shortcuts and search tips here.

1. Square Brackets, “inurl,” “originurlextension,” and Site Restriction
To get a more targeted search, try these tricks out:

  • Words within square brackets — adding square brackets to your search makes the keyword match order dependent. So typing in ‘[Jack Black]‘ will return results such as ‘jack with black’ but not ‘black jack.’
  • “inurl” — if you want to be sure that a specific term will appear in the site’s URL, use the “inurl:[query]” operator. For example: ‘inurl:iPod.’
  • Site restriction — to restrict your search to pages within a specific domain, use the “site:[domain]” operator, followed by your query. For instance: ‘Site:Apple.com iPod.’
  • “orginurlextension” — to search on specific file types, add ‘originurlextension:[file format]‘ after your search query. For example: ‘nanotechnology originurlextension:swf‘ OR ‘nanotechnology originurlextension:pdf.’

2. Package Tracking
Did you know that you can track your packages right in Yahoo! Search? Here’s How it works:

  • For UPS packages, simply type in your tracking number
  • For FedEx or the U.S. Postal Service, just add the name before the tracking number. For example: ‘FedEx [tracking number]‘ or ‘USPS [tracking number]‘

3. Definitions & Synonyms
To look up the definition of a word, try adding “define” or “definition” to your search term. For example: ‘quixotic definition,’ ‘definition of globalization‘ or ‘define ergonomics.’ Or, if you’re looking for a synonym, try adding “synonym” to your search term. For example: ‘humorous synonym.’

4. Exclude Terms, Either/Or and Exact Phrase Match
This one’s been around for a while, but a few simple operators can be a huge time-saver:

  • Exclude terms — if you want a term to be excluded from your results, use a minus sign before it. ‘Simpsons -movie‘ returns results for “The Simpsons” TV show, books, games, etc., but not the movie.
  • Either/or — by default, all of the words you use in a search are included in the results. If you want to be more flexible, try adding “OR” (note the capitalization) between two terms. For example: ‘Sony laptops OR notebooks‘ gives you results containing either “Sony laptops” or “Sony notebooks.”
  • Exact phrase match — if you want results to contain an exact phrase, put quotation marks around it: “Queen Elizabeth I”.

You can also combine these tricks for even more refined searches. Try: ‘“Sony VAIO” laptops OR notebooks.’

5. Travel
With the holidays approaching, many of us have travel on our minds. Here are a few shortcuts to get you to your destination even faster:

  • Flight tracker — search for the airline and flight number and you’ll get a shortcut to the flight’s status. Try: ‘American 83‘ or ‘Lufthansa 421.’
  • Traffic — if you’re driving instead of flying, you can search for traffic before you leave. Example: ‘traffic Los Angeles.’ Click on the shortcut and you’ll get a map with traffic alerts.
  • Maps — try searching for the exact address: ‘1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC.’ Don’t have the address? No problem. Add “map” before the city: ‘map San Francisco.’ You can also search for the zip code by itself: ‘20502.’

You can go here to check out more handy travel shortcuts.

Map Penn Ave

6. Yahoo! Services
If you’re looking for a Yahoo! site, simply add an exclamation point after the site name and voila! Try it out with ‘Mail!,’ ‘News!,’ ‘Sports!,’ or ‘Finance!

7. Yahoo! Open Shortcuts
Yahoo! Open Shortcuts are the ultimate time-saving search feature. Add an exclamation point to the front of certain terms to instantly navigate to a URL, search a site, recall a favorite Yahoo! search, or start an application.

  • !wiki queen elizabeth‘ takes you directly to the Wikipedia page for Queen Elizabeth.
  • !wsf‘ gives you the Yahoo! Search results for “weather San Francisco.”
  • !clist‘ takes you to Craigslist.
  • !ebay lamps‘ searches eBay for lamps.

Search for ‘!list‘ to see a bunch more. Those examples have already been set up for everyone to use, but the real power is that YOU can create your own customized shortcuts.

Have new ideas or suggestions for us? Let us know in the comments below. We’re always looking for ways to make Yahoo! Search more efficient for you.

Michael Chu
Yahoo! Search

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