Two Tips to Help Find What You Are Looking For in a Web Search

Do you ever do a search with Google or other search engine that turns up a promising (but long) page where you can’t seem to find a mention of your search terms? The page looks like it might be what you are looking for but you don't see where your particular subject is discussed. Here are two ways to deal with this common frustration.

Use the browser search bar

Many of you already know this simple trick but it is so useful that it is worth repeating. All common browsers have a “Find” function that will search the page that is open. There are various ways to open a Find search bar but the keyboard combination Ctrl + F is my favorite. This works in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. On my systems, the search bar appears at the top of the page in IE9 and Chrome 15 but at the bottom in Firefox 7.

Enter the term you are looking for and it will be highlighted if is anywhere on the page. Multiple entries of the desired subject are also easily found. The number of occurrences will be listed in Chrome and IE. Each browser is slightly different but usage of the Find function should be fairly self-explanatory.

As pointed out in the comments, the keyboard shortcut F3 also opens the Find search bar.

Use the cached version of the page

In many search listings, there is an entry for a cached page. If you open the cached page, you will find your search terms already highlighted. That means there is no need to read through long lines of text looking for your particular topic. You can see right away if there is anything useful there.

And there you have it. Happy searching!

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's and tutorials, including  a computer education website and a site for learning about the command line.

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by J_L on 13. November 2011 - 5:34  (83183)

Don't forget the operator when searching withing websites.

by rich (not verified) on 4. November 2011 - 2:45  (82685)

Ctrl-F has the added advantage of working in various other programs, including MS Office and MS "free" programs such as WordPad & Notepad that don't support F3 as a find command. In some programs, you can then press the Enter key to cycle through other instances of the search term.

by rhiannon on 3. November 2011 - 19:36  (82662)

Thanks Vic! I knew about the cached version but the Find tip is one I haven't come across before. =)

by Brian Grove (not verified) on 3. November 2011 - 12:48  (82645)

Ctrl-F and F3 both also work in Opera, so you can add that to your article. If it works in Chrome it should work in Iron as well (Open source similar to Chrome but without the built-in Google spyware and privacy violations)

by Kit (not verified) on 3. November 2011 - 17:27  (82656)

Just tried the F3 & it works great in Firefox also. If you are running Windows 7, put your cursor down at the bottom of the page in the bar right next to where it often has the word "Done" after a new web page loads. Start typing the word or words you are looking for & the Find box shows up where you are typing and then immediately starts finding the word or words you are looking for on the web page.

by shree220 (not verified) on 3. November 2011 - 11:59  (82643)

In the latest interface of Google Search results, you need to hover your mouse next to the chevron when you hover over a search result. When it shows a preview of the page, you will be able to see the Cached link that leads to the cached page.

by rhiannon on 3. November 2011 - 19:29  (82661)

Same thing in Bing. =)

by MAJESTIC (not verified) on 1. November 2011 - 15:07  (82529)

One more thng guys. If u r luking 4 sme keyword specifically, type dat keyword in inverted quotes (""). Dat way, u'll have narrow down ur search results to ones u specifically want !!

by rich (not verified) on 4. November 2011 - 2:23  (82684)

Human-interest technology sidebar, based on the comment by MAJESTIC: Are those typing shortcuts supposed to save time or keystrokes? All the shortcuts combined saved about 17 keystrokes. Then there are about 40-55 keystrokes spent on superfluous text (the first sentence and the words "inverted" & "specifically").

What does "inverted" mean, anyway, in describing quotation marks?

by pottster on 31. October 2011 - 5:12  (82447)

Prefer F3 as the keyboard shortcut. In Chrome and Firefox continuing to press F3 cycles through each instance of the search term.

by v.laurie on 31. October 2011 - 6:07  (82451)

Thanks, pottster. F3 is a good tip. It opens Find in IE also. I am going to add it to the article.

by geordietx (not verified) on 31. October 2011 - 2:29  (82440)

Great tip about the highlighted terms in the cached pages. However, I distinctly remember that, for years, ALL my searches in IE used to have the search term highlighted - even in the results. During one of the version switches, I lost that ability. I have searched everywhere for the setting, but I don't think it's there now. Does anybody know anything else about this and is reading the highlighted cached pages really the best way to quickly find your search term??

by Bertie (not verified) on 3. November 2011 - 11:52  (82640)


It's still there in IE9. For example:

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