Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

SearchSometimes referred to as seek, a search is a function or process of finding letters, words, files, web pages, or other data. Many operating systems, software programs, and websites contain a search or find feature to locate data. For example, the search box for Computer Hope is at the top and bottom of each of our pages. When on the Internet, you use a search engine to search through web pages on the Internet.

Tip: To only search (find) text within the web page or document you are viewing, the Ctrl+F keyboard shortcut (Cmd+F on Apple computers) can be used to open the Find box. You can then type the text you want to find in the Find box.

What is the difference between search and find?

Generally speaking, when trying to find text in the current document or web page, it is referred to as find. However, if you want to look for text in multiple documents or pages, it is known as a search.

Search tricks

Search or find options contain additional options that make finding information or files easier. We have listed some of these options below. Please note that these options may or may not be available for all programs.

  1. When searching for a file in many operating systems, use the wild cards. For example, searching for test.* returns results for any file beginning with "test" in the file name. In our example, the results could include "tested," "tests," and "testing."
  2. Use search grouping. For example, any text within quotes, like "search example" would find anything containing the words "search example" next to each other but not "search" or "example" by themselves. Another example of grouping is using a '+' in-between the text, like search+example.
  3. In most online searches, you can exclude text from your search by adding the '-' sign before a word. For example, computer help -paid searches for anything containing the words "computer help," but only show results for pages that do not contain the word "paid."

Tip: Top 10 unknown Google search tricks.

What is the search symbol?

Web pages and software programs use the symbol of a magnifying glass to represent the search feature. For example, on some web pages, you may find a text box next to a button with a magnifying glass that can be pressed to open a search for whatever is in the text box.

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