1. Computing

Search for a Specific File Format

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If you're looking for a specific kind of file on the Web, there's a couple of search engines that support this kind of restrictive searching.

Restrict File Format in Google

To search for a specific kind of file type in Google, try this:

cat filetype:doc

I just instructed Google to search for Word files that have the word "cat" occurring somewhere within. Here's a list of all the filetypes that you can search for on Google using the filetype syntax:

  • Adobe Portable Document Format (pdf)
  • Adobe PostScript (ps)
  • Lotus 1-2-3 (wk1, wk2, wk3, wk4, wk5, wki, wks, wku)
  • Lotus WordPro (lwp)
  • MacWrite (mw)
  • Microsoft Excel (xls)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (ppt)
  • Microsoft Word (doc)
  • Microsoft Works (wks, wps, wdb)
  • Microsoft Write (wri)
  • Rich Text Format (rtf)
  • Shockwave Flash (swf)
  • Text (ans, txt)

Restrict File Format in Yahoo

Yahoo's also got a file restriction syntax:

zoology originurlextension:ppt

I'm telling Yahoo with this syntax that I only am looking for Power Point files with the word "zoology" occuring somewhere on the page (and there's some pretty interesting stuff that turns up, actually!)

Here are the file formats supported by Yahoo with this originurlextension command:

  • .htm, .html - Standard HTML
  • .pdf - Adobe PDF
  • .xls - Microsoft Excel
  • .ppt - Microsoft PowerPoint
  • .doc - Microsoft Word
  • .xml, .rdf, .rss - RSS or XML feeds
  • .txt - Plain Text Format

Restrict File Format in MSN Search

Yes, you can restrict file formats in MSN Search as well, although they don't support as many filetype searches as Yahoo and Google. Use this syntax:

budget filetype:pdf

Here are the filetypes that MSN supports at the time of this writing:

  • html
  • pdf
  • txt
  • doc
  • rtf
  • xls
  • ppt

Search for Specific Files with Ask Jeeves

Ask Jeeves is very limited on what files you can specifically search for, and the search syntax looks quite a bit different than what we've been looking at as well:

cat file format: txt

At the time of this writing, the only files I could get Jeeves to come back with using this command were .pdf and .txt files.

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