Boolean Operators Updated!! 

So this is an update to my all inclusive list of operators. The update is as of 1/16/13, of course I will have other updates as I find new operators. Why you ask, well as I said below there are always new ones being discovered.

So, as most of you know there are allot of different operators. Trying to figure out what they all mean and do is tough. So in this post I am going to show and explain what allot of them do, not all but allot, the reality is there are just too many and to many alternative ways to use them.

The first thing to remember is, despite what you may have been told, all operators will work in all engines, they just might not work as well or the same.

So the operators:

No operator = fins the search criteria immediately adjacent to one another and in the same order.  example C++ C# Java will only pull results were those 3 terms are in order.(this is a generalization, some engines are different, mostly used with resume databases like Monster etc.).

Within "X" = means to find a word within a certain radius of another word. Example C++ within 3 developed will bring results were the word C++ is found within 3 words of developed.

AND or & = this operator is used to denote a list of things that need to be present in a search. Example C# AND C++ AND Java, will return results that have all 3.

OR = to denote looking for more than one thing but not all things in a list. Example C# OR C++ OR Java will return result that have any of them but not necessarily all of them.

NOT = this excludes the word that follows from the search results. Example C# AND C++ NOT Java will return results that have C# and C++ but not any that also has Java. Allot of time this function will also be done by using "BUT NOT".

AND NOT = Excludes documents containing whatever follows it.

The AND NOT operator is generally used after you have performed a

search, looked at the results, and determined that you do not want to see

pages containing some word or phrase.

NEAR = find words that are within 10 words of each other. example C++ NEAR developed, will find results were the term C++ is within 10 words of developed. If used before the “:” sign you can tell it how close to look for the 2 words. Example near:2 C++, will look for any word within 2 words of C++

Before = finds results that have words that come before another. example C++ before developed with bring back results were C++ comes before developed.(adjacency not implied).

After = finds results that have words that come after another. Example C++ after developed will bring results were C++ comes after developed. (adjacency not implied).

EXACT = The EXACT operator can be used to retrieve records that match your search term precisely. Simply type the word or phrase enclosed within double quotation marks and preceded by the EXACT operator.

* = means all formats of the root word. Example recruit* will bring up recruit, recruits recruiter, recruiters, recruiting etc.. It can also be used in word to find multiple spellings. Example behavi*r retrieves behaviour or behavior. Also known as fill in the blanks

? = single-character wildcard for finding alternative spelling. The ? represents a single character; two ?? represents two characters and so on. Example wom?n finds woman and women.

I = a line, the pipe or vertical bar or the uppercase with a space before and after it can also be used as an OR operator. Example C | C++ means c or c++

Quotation Marks = This helps to find specific phrases by allowing you to tell the engine to search for the words as a phrase or together. Example C++ AND "Software Engineer" will pull results that include C++ and the phrase Software engineer. Without the quotation you are likely to get results that have the words software and engineer but not together.

Parentheses = This means to process the enclosed sub query first or as a whole. Example C++ AND (206 OR 253 OR 360).

=, @, "in", :(colon)  = all these denote to look in a given area for a given word or phrase. Example @url=resume finds all urls with the word resume in them, so does url=resume and inurl:resume. As you can see in most cases you are combining two of these operators. Think of the @ or "in" as saying were to look, and the = and colon saying what to look for. So inurl:resume means in urls look for the word resume. You can change and combine these and get different results which make for some interesting strings. Also remember you can leave off the "in" and @ and still get results. So the strings are many and the results near infinite. Remember you can use any words after the = or colon and get some interesting results. Example url:alumni brings up urls with the word alumni in it, meaning educational institutions alumni pages in google that is 7,210,000. "in" can also be used for conversions such as 45 celsius in Fahrenheit.

Filename, filetype, url, define, instreamset, group, ext, body, title, txt, subject, anchor(see seo and anchor text linking)  = These words when used will denote were to look or what to look for, with regards to the given search criteria. Example @filename=resume or filename:resume will look for filenames with the word resume in them.

Contains: Keeps results focused on sites that have links to the file types that you specify. Example: my resume developer contains:pdf

Cache = will look for the cached version of a page rather than the most updated version.

#..# = search within a number range. example nokia $200..$300

Author = will only include results written by a particular author.

Define =  results will be of those pages that have a definition for the word that follows.

Group = results will be form groups only.

Info or id = the query info:url will present some information about the corresponding web page.

Link = The query link:url shows pages that point to that url.(also used in flip searching).

Location or region = this will yield result only for that location. Example location: England or UK will yield results only form England. (in Bing you can use loc: as well

Movie = this will yield results about that movie. Example movie:ironman2 will yield results about Iron Man 2.

Stocks = get a Quote on a stock. Example stocsk:msft

Weather = get weather. Exmaple weather:98042 gets weather for Kent, Wa. 98042 is the zip code for Kent, Wa.

Phonebook = this will find all public phone results. Example phonebook:John Doe, NY, New York. Also bphonebook = business phone numbers and rphonebook = residential phone numbers

Site or Domain = this will limit results to those form that site or domain.

Contain: = if used in conjunction with the site or domain command it will search for web pages with links to particular file types. Example contains:mp3 will find all pages in the Microsoft site or domain that is connected to an mp3 file. (works mainly on Bing)

Source = this will limit your result to those from a particular source. Example source:nytimes.

Related = this will find results that are similar or related to the search criteria. Example related:football will find all results similar or related to football.

Host or domain = used for x-raying. example or

Tilda(~) = this if immediately before a key term will search for synonyms.

Plus(+) and Minus(-) = these can be used to add or subtract from results. Plus is used mainly to add common words to results. Example to+be+or+not+to+be. Of course this can be done other ways as well, such as "to be AND not AND to AND be". A + before a word tells the engine to look for exactly what you asked for no variations of any kind. It is like what would happen if you put a single word in quotations. Minus to remove something from  the results. example football-dolphins, can also be done football NOT Dolphins or Football BUT NOT Dolphins. So in other words plus(+) and minus(-) are the same as AND and NOT.

safesearch: = excludes adult content. Example safesearch:breast cancer

Daterange = this allows you to limit result to a given date range. The only drawback to this syntax is that it works with the Julian Calendar, not the Gregorian Calendar (the one we use).  To use daterange: first go to the Julian Date Converter at the U.S. Naval Observatory ( Example intitle:"george bush" daterange:2452389-2452389(this would search for April 24, 2002).

AllinXXXX: = This combined with any of the operators above will provide you with all urls fitting the criteria. Example "Allinanchor: C++ Developed software" will find all pages with anchors that contain all 3 words.

Doc, PDF, txt, rtf, etc.. = These all specify types of documents. Example url:doc will pull up all urls with a word doc in the case of google that is 22,200,000.

country codes

 (see blog

You can use a country code to get results only form that country. Example url:uk will get you result from England, In google that is 199,000,000.

EDU, GOV, MIL etc = Well it url:EDU pulls up educational institutions pages, url:GOV pulls government, url:Mil pulls up military. Of course there are plenty of other domain names that are specific and worth checking such as org for organizations, net for networks, and com for commercial etc.

Acrobat, applet, activex, audio, flash, form, frame, homepage, image, javascript, index, meta, script, shockwave, wpf, table, video, mov, etc.. = used with any of the operators will yield results that target that file type or format. Example inrul:acrobat AND C++ will bring back results done in adobe acrobat and have C++.

Insubject: = looks for the word that follows the: in the subject of the page, or document. Example- insubject:football with find pages that have the word football in the subject.

Finding email addresses = email near: or “email * *”. Both of these will work. Example - email * *, this will return Microsoft(MS) email addresses. Now of course it will not return all MS email addresses, but it will return enough for you to learn their naming convention ( The other one; email near:2, gets you any entries within 2 words of “”. In most cases this will be email addresses. Of course combining operators can allow you to come up with more ways to find email addresses.

“powered site” = Think of it as another way to x-ray.

“LinkFromDomain:” = This will only work with Bing and tell you which pages a site links to.

feed:” = Finds RSS and ATOM feeds. Example feed:computer

“blog:”or “blogs:” = Finds Blogs. Example blog:computer

Patent”s”, White paper”s”, Book”s”, “research Paper:”s” = finding these are simple. Use the “inurl:”, “intitle:”, “url:”, “title:”, “patent:”, etc..commands. Example: inurl:patent AND XXX(X = another search parameter) or patents:security.

Prefer: Adds emphasis to a search term or another operator to help focus the search results. Example: developing prefer:history  (Mainly in Bing)

language: Returns webpages for a specific language. Specify the language code directly after the language: keyword. Example: (is a senior developer) language:ru -jobs -apply –careers (also Mainly Bing)

NOTE: Words you may want to exclude using the “-“ to keep cleaner results: job, jobs, send, submit, apply, and you. Example –job –jobs, -send etc.

NOTE: Words you can use that will bring candidates: resume, rèsumè, resumé, résumé, CV, vita, Vitae

NOTE: Common email conventions: *, *, *,

*, *, *, *, *, *, *, *, *, *, *, *,  *,  *, *,  etc. Add to strings to search for emails of candidates. Example: (* | * (Java | J2EE). Also works well in Linkedin to find profiles that have an email address in them. For a list of email providers and more go here

NOTE: Do not forget to use natural language techniques such as “”, “i.created” etc.

NOTE: Also do not forget to use pro nouns such as he, she, herself, himself, myself, etc. Also see my posts on diversity sourcing for keys to source for diverse candidates

The key with these operators is not just the operators themselves but the words that proceed or come after. Be sure you use all possibilities. This is where a thesaurus and dictionary come in handy. Not just for the search terms themselves but for the operators too. example the term author is used above, but guess what according to the thesaurus another word for author is writer. If you use @writer= "edgar allen poe" you will get results. So as I have said in my resume writing blog posting, my SEO/Social Media blog posting and my TSO blog posting a thesaurus is your secret weapon to inventing new and different strings. Also remember you can combine operators to come up with even more and different results.


Of course there are allot more and more being discovered all the time. But here are allot of them, enjoy.

Views: 2349

Comment by Candace Nault on January 17, 2013 at 4:23pm

Thank you for sharing this, as someone who is challenged with this area, I appreciate all your insight!

Comment by Will Thomson on January 18, 2013 at 3:38pm

Good post, Dean!

Comment by Jimmy on February 8, 2013 at 4:43pm

Very helpful Dean! Thanks!


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