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Master Bing and the Internet with this guide to search engine operators

Shuffling through the World Wide Web to find what you need can be a daunting process. Whether it's from your Windows Phone or Windows 8 computer. Luckily, thanks to search engines like Microsoft’s Bing – you can find what you need and quickly. The problem is that if you are used to typing in simple queries like “How can I obtain Rich’s awesome accent?” you are still faced with hundreds of thousands of search results.

Today, we are going to stop the horror and make you the master of Bing by teaching you “advanced operator references” – think of what we are about to teach you as a secret language to master Microsoft’s search engine. Today, you master Bing search – tomorrow, you take over the world.

Below we have outlined the most useful of Bing’s advanced operating references along with examples of how to use them. Consider this article as the ultimate Bing guide and reference list for getting work done. So without further ado, let us begin!


Here is one of the simplest operators to work with, the “AND” operator. This is considered a simple Boolean operator and can help you find exactly what you are looking for. When using the “AND” operator, only search results that include both searched terms will be included.

  • Example: “Puppies AND beagles” – By typing this query into Bing, you would only receive search results that contain both the word “puppies” and “beagles”.


Another simple operator, “Contains”, will focus search results around websites that have certain file types within them. For a list of common file types, you can click here.

  • Example: “Puppies contains:pdf” – By typing this query into Bing, you would only websites that have PDF files about puppies.


I’m sure that all of you know this operator! Simply put the word, “define” in front of any other word and Bing will fetch a dictionary definition for what you are searching. (Real words only kids, Urban Dictionary results do not count!)

  • Example: “define puppies” – By typing this query into Bing, you would receive a definition of the word “puppies”.


This operator is similar to the “contains:” operator above, but instead of specifying a file extension and then receiving websites that reference it, you will only receive direct links to the specified file types. Once again, you can click here to see a list of the most common file types.

  • Example: “puppies ext:pdf” – By typing this query into Bing, you will only receive PDF files about “puppies”.


By using the “feed:” operator, you can find RSS feeds that relate to a specific query. These feeds can then be followed by using an application like NextGen Reader for Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

  • Example: “feed:puppies” – By typing this query into Bing, you will only receive links to RSS feeds about “puppies”.


This operator can be used interchangeably with the “Ext:” operator. By using the “Filetype:” command, you will only receive search results that are direct links to specified file types.

  • Example: “puppies filetype:pdf” – By typing this query into Bing, you will only receive PDF files about “puppies”.


If you do not wish to use the “Feed:” operator to return only RSS feeds, you can use the “HasFeed:” operator to return search results to websites that contain RSS feed links.

  • Example: “hasfeed:puppies” – By typing this query into Bing, you will receive websites that have RSS feeds relating to “puppies”, but that are not direct links.


Sometimes when you are searching the web, you want a quick and easy way to find images of a certain size; sure, you could always use the image size buttons within Bing Image search, but buttons are for “noobs”! Use the “ImageSize:” operator to quickly return images of certain dimensions. Valid search values are “small”, “medium”, and “large”.

  • Example: “puppies imagesize:medium” – By typing this query into Bing, you will only receive image results of puppies that are categorized in the medium image size category.


You will notice that when searching on Bing, search results are returned with a title and a small description.  If you wish to perform a search and only want to search titles and not descriptions, you can use the “intitle:” command to tell the search engine to only search within result titles.

  • Example: “intitle:puppies” – By typing this query into Bing, you will only receive search results in which “puppies” is in the result anchor (aka, title).


The complete opposite of the previous search operator, “InBody:” will return search results within the deception below the title.

  • Example: “inBody:puppies” – By typing this query into Bing, you will only receive search results in which “puppies” is in the result description.


If you want to get geeky and only search within sites that are hosted by a specific IP address, you can do so by using the “IP:” operator.

  • Example: “puppies ip:” – By typing this query into Bing, you would only receive search results that originate from the “” IP address.


This operator can become extremely useful if you are searching for content and only want to stay within a specific language for results. Let us say that you wish to search for puppies and only return results in Russian. For the complete language command list, click here (opens in new tab).

  • Example: “puppies language:ru” – By typing this query into Bing, you would only receive search results about “puppies” that are in the Russian language.


The location operator is used to return search results from a specific region. This can be a very helpful operator to use if you are searching for news results and want to receive information from a specific country. Click here (opens in new tab) to view all of the country codes.

  • Example: “puppies location:ru” – By typing this query into Bing, you would only receive search results about puppies that originate from Russia.


The “NOT” operator is another common Boolean operator and can help you return search results that omit certain keywords.

  • Example: “puppies NOT beagles” – By typing this query into Bing, you would receive all search results about puppies, but any results mentioning “beagles” would be left out.


The last simple Boolean operator is “OR”, it allows you to find results that relate to one item or another.

  • Example: “puppies OR kittens” – By typing this query into Bing, you would receive search results about “puppies” and “kittens”.


By including this operator, you can restrict a search to a specific site. It may come in helpful if you are wishing to search a specific site, but the site does not contain a search bar on it like we have here at WPCentral.

  • Example: “puppies” – By typing this query into Bing, you would receive only search results of puppies that are found within the WPCentral website. Luckily for you, we did mention puppies a few times, so you will get search results (maybe even more, now that we mentioned them in this article!).


The last operator we will be talking about is the use of quotation marks; by using quotation marks, you can ensure that Bing uses an entire word or phrase instead of just using parts of it. This may come in handy if you are searching for a result such as “Foo Fighters”, in which you want both words to stay grouped together.

  • Example: “adorable puppies” – By typing this query into Bing with the quotation marks, it ensures that Bing will not just search for puppies, but “adorable puppies”.


Searching the web can be a daunting process, especially when you receive hundreds of thousands of search results, but if you choose to use search operators, it can make your job a lot better. You will probably find yourself using the “AND”, “OR”, and “NOT operators the most, but the others we specified above can really help weed out results that are not needed.

Enjoy your Bing searches and let us know if you have already been using any of these search operators when you explore the web! (And yes, these operators will work with Bing on Windows Phone also)

  • Slightly different syntax in terms of advance searching compared to google. But It's really really good to know that there are all these advance options available in bing also. I am going to keep this article on speed dial, as i have to revisit this article multiple times to remember those adv. options.
  • Same here
  • +1
  • I'm really missing the ability to select a specific size for a picture.. the search engine for pics is great but that simple feature?
  • The quotations feature doesn't always work because Bing is too aggressive in correcting what it thinks are spelling errors. For instance, if I search for "children borne" it automatically corrects it to "children born", even though that's not what I want and without giving me an option: e.g. "search only for 'children borne'?" When I use quotations I clearly know what I want to search for and I only want webpages that have the exact spelling and terms I am searching for. Bing should know that I know better. Other than that, Bing is awesome. Much better than Google.
  • Simple, throw a + in front, for example: +"children borne" You can even go further and 'exclude' results that might have both on the page or use other logic operators, for example this will remove any pages that have the word 'born' on them, even if it find "children borne" on the same page. +"children borne" NOT "born"   If you understand how the terms and operators work in Bing, you can get the exact results you want.  A bonus to learning this, is they are consistent across all of Microsoft products, so they also work the same way in Win7/Win8 search.  
  • The problem is that Bing violates the exact rules you linked to. From the Online Help page, it says to use quotations to "find the exact word or phrase". But if you search for "children borne" it doesn't do that. The first page of results contains almost no "children borne" results. You suggest to put a + in front of it to correct for this: +"children borne". But if you do that, while you finally get some "children borne" results, you still get a bunch of "children born" results too. Only when I go all the way, as you instructed (+"children borne" -born) do I kind of get the results I originally wanted. I say 'kind of' because perhaps I don't want to exclude all pages with "born" on it but I just want all of the top search results to contain exactly the words "children borne". But the only way to prominently feature "children borne" results is to exclude 'born', which may be counterproductive to what I'm searching for. Don't get me wrong, I love Bing and think it's better to Google, and I appreciate your reply with more information about operators, but the point is that normal search users aren't going to take the time and effort to search for [ +"children borne" -born ]. They're going to search for "children borne" and be disatisified.
  • Excellent point. I find this happens a LOT. I consider myself an an advanced searcher and Bing frustrates me. Although I have noticed Google searches are also less effective these days, for some of the same reasons. I can search for something and get millions of hits, and then change one tiny thing and now NO site shows up? No searchable web page anywhere has the minor typo I am looking for? I miss the old days where almost everything was accessible and searchable to the spiders crawling along the web. Of course I also remember being so excited when they came up with httpd.conf and .htaccess. :)
  • How is that "+" operator works? What is It specific function?
  • Saved
  • Awesome!! Very helpful
  • The first screenshot also uses operator grouping, but it's not mentioned in the article. I'm assuming that works too?
  • Yep! :) Wanted to try and keep this basic for the beginners, but yes - feel free to group!
  • That's awesome! Thanks ;)
  • People typing conversational queries has always been to me equivalent to nails scratching on a chalkboard. I explained to my friends how it worked, but it was like trying to teach them another language. I told the computer teacher to have a lesson but he could not be bothered with anything else than making us pick the right transition for each slide on our PowerPoint presentations.
    Frankly, I don't think he understood search engines that well either, beyond keywords.
  • Google works great for conversational queries and it makes sense for most people to search that way.
    Alternative methods being more logical, but not as user-friendly.
  • It actually doesn't, or rather you still get more out of it with technical queries. I read a recent article on how to get the best out of Google and it the main thing was 'this is not Ask Jeeves'.
  • That hasn't always been the case but it has gotten better. Problem being that most people type sentences (sentence-long queries; that only works if you are looking for a specific web page, analogous to finding the page you want in a book) which will yield mostly irrelevant results. Well, I guess the real problem is that they don't teach you this stuff in school really and most people have to find out by stumbling upon it.
    Siri and company are supposed to be more efficient and user-friendly, but really half the time it just pastes your speech to the search engine, which defeats their purpose of narrowing down results or provide the solution.
  • This article was necessary. I do remember certain tricks from Googling the past, but I had no idea of these operators. Thanks! Now maybe I can actually find what I'm looking for on Bing.
  • "Feed puppies" sounds more like a command than a query.
  • What countries do these work/not work in? The define won't work for me.
  • Great help, i never knew about the define command, gonna keep this article handy.
  • They could of just added buttons to bing search for WP lol
  • You want another useful tip about Bing on WP8 phones? Open your IE, go to settings and set Bing as default search provider. Now open any website in IE, highlights any word or phrase then hit the Search button (back, start, SEARCH). This way you don't have to copy paste word if you want to look for it. Works only with IE
  • This also works with the Office apps.
  • That's why I love you guys, and that's why I paid to support you guys and that's why I love the Bing platform and that's why I live Microsoft innovation. Great article.
  • How can I sort for time, like "last week", "last year", etc.? It's the only thing I still miss that Google had
  • I don't waste time on Bing, unfortunately Microsoft haven't cared about developing Bing for non US for years, and it seems they intend to leave it as is for non US forever. It will turn out exactly the same for Cortina as well. I dislike google as a company, but at least they have a proper working search engine.
  • +1 Bing blows elsewhere
  • Best article since WP 8.1
  • "taunting process"? :D
  • lol, searching the web can be scary.
  • Excellent! On my way to take over the world now. Thanks for the tip.
  • I would hope they also support AndAlso and OrElse for us .NET developers who cannot bring ourselves to write the non-short-circuiting And and Or.
  • The one I find most useful was not mentioned here. Use a minus to omit a word from the results.
    For example if your trying to search for crushed candy and don't want the results to include the game, type:
    candy crush -saga The opposite works with a plus +
    This will add on a word that will definitely be in the results. This is useful as if you search many words, bing may give you results that don't include all of the words.
  • Bing is still so bad in indexing forums. You almost don't find any forum results, while google serves tons of them. So sad, since I find forums a lot of times more useful than 'websites'.
  • Love the Define search, its so much quicker than scrolling all the way down to Bing Translator.
  • You can use a hyphen instead of NOT
  • Thanks for the keyword list to master bing with.
  • Thanks for all these commands, should be really useful, and make an already great search experience even better. I especially appreciate he ability to search specific sites. Yes, WPC does have a search feature, but it's powered by Google (yuck), and really slow and unhelpful, in my experience.
  • I prefer "+" and "-" operators to "and" and "not".    Also, the note for the "OR" operator is WRONG. Bad blogger. 
  • You know, you could always try not being rude. The wording was fixed.
  • Apparently the "bad blogger" comment didn't convey the glibness intended. Oh well. Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Is + interchangeable with And?
    If Bing is correcting my search word "X" to "Y", and I put "and X" will it work?
    Seems odd...
  • Saved to OneNote.
  • On Windows Phone I find it more useful to search for "google" and just use that. 0 results on Bing. 16 million on Google. You do the maths :P
  • I have been using Bing exclusively on my phone, PCs, and tablet for a few years now. It works really well for me. The "0 results" sounds like an exaggeration, operator error, or ignorance. Or maybe you were just trying to troll for a response. You do the math. :P Oh, by the way, did you know that you can change your default search engine on your Windows Phone from Bing to Google in the settings?  That way you don't have to search for Google on Bing.  That way you can start getting those 16 million results a little quicker next time.  I hope that helps. :P
  • Not an exaggeration. If I search for "unearthed" on my phone I get 0 results. I've tried it on WP7 & WP8 on 4 different devices (all Australian). I'm in Australia so something is fundamentally broken for it not to work. If I go to Bing website I get results, if I go to Google website I get even more, and they're actually what I'm looking for (Triple J Unearthed). If I search for "triple j unearthed" it works, so something is broken. You're probably in the US for it to be working well.
    I was only joking about searching for Google... I have that pinned to launch to right away.
  • You can't change the default search engine on some Windows Phones.
  • If you have to search for google, the engine you use should not be concerning you :)
  • Well yeah, that part was a joke :P
  • And now post a quick cheat sheet so my lazy ass doesn't have to memorize them all :) hands down great article. Will come in very handy
  • Just search for Bing Query Language, it is great :D
  • The one I use most is not on this list. The plus sign.
    Example from today; I was searching from "breach bottles" but Bing only showed me results for "bleach bottles". +breach bottles led me to the sought after explosive-related accessories
  • Also, "deception" should be "description" in this article lol
  • "Master Bing and the Internet" sounds like the name of an awful band.
  • Or some sort of kids book "Master Tom goes on the Internet"
  • oh dear microsoft just add a filter with all those commands for us to choose
  • Are you kidding? Because though I've a annoying Bing search button in my Lumia, I prefer Google. how to search current date and time on Bing???
  • Bookmarked.
  • It's great to know that, thanks wpcentral.
  • Wow, I thought I knew how to use Bing, and that it was a bad engine. Now I guess I'll have to try again with the proper queries.
    Assuming it works for every country this time... Edit: forgot to thank you for this tutorial :-) So thanks you, Michael!
  • Just make an app and put all the options in the menu.
  • I wish Bing brought back the shopping engine. They made fun of Google's paid results, but have nothing to offer, themselves.
  • Thanks a lot for sharing this info. Learnt something today.
  • Great information! I use Bing daily this makes easier and faster.
  • My wife found this out the other day Google only uses the operators in the first 5 pages of your search results Bing keeps them for all pages of your serch results ... The more you know 
  •   Thanks. Good information. I'm going to try these out this evening.