How To: Advanced Google Images Search

If you spend any time online, you've probably used Google before. It's the most popular search engine not only in America, but in the world. And Google Images prides itself on being the most comprehensive image search on the web. But many of the site's users only know about its basic features. Learning about the many tools and filters available can help make your searches faster and more successful. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

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When Are Advanced Tools Useful?

It's easy enough to get by with a basic search if you're just looking for something simple. If all you need is a picture of a dog, you won't need to do much to get what you're looking for. But say you specifically need a good quality picture of a dachshund wearing a hat? That might be a little tricker without adding a filter or two to your search. The more specific your search, the more helpful the advanced tools are.

  1. Size
  2. Color
  3. Image Type
  4. File Type
  5. Aspect Ratio

Other Tools

Google Images offers more than just search filters.

  • Reverse Image Search lets you search using an image you found online or created yourself instead of keywords.
  • SafeSearch allows you to block adult content.
  • The saved section gives you a place to keep images you want to go back to later.
Platform Advanced Search Tools Available?
Mobile Browser
iPhone App
Android App


Whether you're looking up a reference photo for your next painting or trying to find a good picture of your favorite celebrity, Advanced Image Search can make your job a lot easier. Instead of weeding through thousands of irrelevant results, you can get right to the image you need. Taking a little time to learn about these tools now can save you hours of frustration down the road.

In Depth

A basic Google Images search is simple. Type a word or phrase into the text box and click enter. But suppose you're looking for a very specific image. The one you need to find might be buried under thousands of other results. That's where the advanced tools can come in handy and save you time.

At the top of the search results page is a button labelled "Tools." If you click this, you'll see several drop-down menus pop up. These can help you filter your results. For example, say you need a high-quality image. Instead of sifting through pages of useless results, click on the "Size" drop-down and select Large. You can even click "Exactly" if you want to find an image that is a specific width and height.

The "Type" menu is also incredibly useful. If you want an image of a human face, click on "Face." If you're looking for a photograph, select "Photo." For more cartoonish results, try "Clip art." Or choose "Line drawing," if you specifically want a black and white drawing. You can even select "Animated" to limit your results to images that move.

Then there's the color menu. If you want a colorful image, select "Full color." For greyscale, click on "Black and white." Or if you're looking for something with a white background, try "Transparent." This will limit your results to images with transparent backgrounds. You can even pick a specific color. For example, if you want something that's mostly blue, click on the blue box.

Below these menus, you should see several words in colorful boxes. These are additional search terms, generated by Google to help you specify your search. Say you're looking for a picture of a forest. If you simply search for "forest," you'll get plenty of options, but they may not be what you need. Adding adjectives like "enchanted," "ancient," or "spooky" is an easy way to narrow down your results. And you don't have to pick just one. You can combine them together until you find what you're looking for.

There are also ways to specify what you're looking for directly from the search box. If you're looking for an exact phrase, put it inside quotation marks. If there's a keyword you want to exclude, put a minus sign just before it. For example, if you don't want any pictures that were taken at night, try adding the word 'night' to the search box with a minus sign in front of it. You should be left with only daytime images.

If there's a keyword you want to exclude, put a minus sign just before it.

Sometimes you'll come across an image that's very close to what you're looking for, but not quite. Either it's too small, or it has a watermark, or the color is a little off. If you want to find other images that are visually similar to it, you can try a reverse image search. Simply right click on the picture you've found and click "Search Google for image." From here you can either look for the exact same thing, but in a different size, or you can look through a variety of visually similar images.

To keep adult content out of your results, click on the button that says SafeSearch. Here, you'll be given the option to filter explicit results. Once you turn this feature on, it will apply to all of your future image searches until you turn it back off. It's a great way for parents to prevent their children from coming across offensive content.

For the most comprehensive set of tools and filters, there's always Advanced Image Search. You'll find this under the Settings menu on the results page. Here you can filter images not only by size, but by aspect ratio as well. You can look for specific image file types, such as jpeg or gif. You can even search for images that originated from a particular country or region.

For the most comprehensive set of tools and filters, there's always Advanced Image Search.

Once you find one you like, click on it. A window will pop up, presenting you with several options. If you want to visit the website where it's located, click "Visit." If you just want to see a larger version of the picture itself, click "View image." If you want to post the link directly to social media, click "Share." This will give you the option to share the image via Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Email.

You can also save images that you want to look at later. Simply click the "Save" button, and an image will be added. To look over the pictures you've put here, just go to "View Saved" at the top of the page. From here, you can add notes to images, sort them into lists, or remove them from your saved collection.

Once you become familiar with these tools, you'll find them quite easy to use. And finding relevant results will be a quick and painless task.