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Become a search wizard

Whether you are searching for something online or within your own file system, this guide will show you exactly how to get what you want

Search better on Google

From simple tips like using quotes, to advanced operators like Filetype. It’s always good to get a refresher on these basics.

  • Use double quotes (“”) to search for a phrase exactly.
  • Using “Site:” in front of a query will give you better results than the site’s own search functionality. Always.

site search

  • Exclude a word from your search by adding a minus sign (“-”) before it without a space. For example, “Linux Distributions -ubuntu” will display all results for “Linux distributions” that don’t contain the word “Ubuntu” on the page.
  • Use “Filetype:” when you specifically want to find, say a PDF, or an EPUB file. Example: “filetype:pdf global warming” will give you PDF files related to global warming
  • Use the Tools button to further enhance your search to narrow results down. This will allow you to choose results from a certain time or only from your country.

Search using these browser customisations

  • If you liked Firefox’s Awesome Bar, which searches through history, bookmarks and open tabs all at once, you can get the same for Chrome. Just download Fauxbar and it will replace your Start and New Tab pages with its own screen and will become the default search bar.
  • Let’s say you normally use Yandex to find torrents, DuckDuckGo for an ad-free experience, Bing for additional research, and Google for everything else. Get Search Bar and you will be able to switch searches with ease.
  • If you’d rather display search results from different engines all in one place, Dogpile is your solution. It compiles the best results from various engines and also discards duplicates.

Dogpile

  • Start.me can give you a highly customizable start page. You can get an RSS reader, email, videos and a really cool bookmarking feature. Just take some time to set it up.
  • If you need to track an image’s source, use Tineye to do so. Apart from tracking down sources accurately, it also helps you find higher resolution files of the same image.

TinEye

 

We’ve all been teeth-gnashingly frustrated when trying to find a file at some point. No more. We’ve found two great replacements for Windows Search, and each has their own strengths.

Search Everything!

Confused? Everything is a small but extremely speedy search engine that promises near instantaneous results. It achieves this by archiving, err, everything! What it does is display a list of every file and folder on a drive, and as you start typing your query, it shortens the list based on filename. It’s very light, and can run in the background. It’s also the easiest way to set up an HTTP or FTP/ETP server for your local network.

Everything

Once you’ve downloaded and installed Everything, it will take a while to index your drives, but then search becomes lightening fast. Everything supports ‘regex’ or “regular expressions” so you can type things like “.jpg|.png” (minus the quotes) and it’ll show you files with those two extensions. You will need to manually toggle regex by hitting [Ctrl] + [R] or using the Search dropdown menu. It also has many other cool features, and one of the best is the ability to find and manage duplicate files.
Everything can also be used to set up an HTTP server. Go to Tools > Options > HTTP Server. Enable it, set authentication details (if required) and the folder you want to share and hit Apply. To access this server, you’ll need to know your local IP address. And there’s a pretty easy way to do that. Type ipconfig into a commandline window to find your IP. An FTP/ETP server can also be set up, but HTTP should suffice for most needs.

everything

Listary

If you don’t need the file sharing bits of Everything, then Listary is a good replacement. It’s got a better-looking interface and has more features such as inbuilt hotkey activation.

listary

You still get near-instant searches, but you also get the ability to search the web for basic stuff, such as currency conversion. All you need to do is press [Ctrl] twice and up pops up Listary. There are also many hotkeys built in that can streamline your whole computing experience.

listary

This article was first published in May 2017 issue of Digit magazine. To read Digit’s articles first, subscribe here or download the Digit app for Android and iOS. You could also buy Digit’s previous issues here.

Prithvi Sudhan

Prithvi Sudhan