With the influx of information on the Web these days, it is harder than ever to pinpoint specific, useful information. Most people simply open up the main page of their favorite search engine, type a random thought into the search box and select “search,” expecting to find the answer within seconds. This is useful when looking up an address to a particular restaurant or to find a non-reliable source to explain an unfamiliar topic, but for accountants, this method of searching is time-consuming and not always beneficial.
After many frustrating attempts to find an Excel document to help me with my personal finances, I discovered Advanced Search in Google. There is no direct link from the main page, so a user will need to visit www.google.com/advanced_search to gain access to this hidden gem. It is great for accountants like me, who want access to a Mecca of Excel spreadsheets and Word documents published by a specific source or pertaining to a specific topic.
Once at the Advanced Search Web page, the user will be able to search by exact phrase, a list of words or through omitting words from a phrase. The user can narrow the search by language, region, last update, site or domain, the location of the phrase in the document, reading level, file type, usage rights and more. With all of the parameters at a user’s fingertips, searching for specific, useful information in any format is easy. For example, by including in brackets the phrase “1040,” choosing to search specifically “irs.gov” and to only display “Microsoft Excel” file types, I immediately have access to useful and up-to-date information on TY 2013 Known Issues and Solutions, published by the IRS.
Take a few minutes the next time you are looking for information and refine your search with Advanced Search in Google. See what gems you can find!