Syntax – Filetype

All search engines  index documents that are in formats other than the standard web pages. All will pick up the Adobe Acrobat portable document format (PDF), and many will index MS Office formats (doc, xls, ppt and others) and perhaps Mac specific formats. The text in Flash files used for games, demos, and interactive tutorials is often indexed too.

There may be times when we would like to search for a specific format; or, perhaps, after one too many PowerPoint presentations, to exclude that format from the search results. This may be most easily done from the Advanced Search form, but there will also be a shortcut command.

Reasons to Use:

  • Governments, companies and publishers tend to favour Adobe Acrobat for publishing papers and newsletters. The content of pdf files is usually more serious and more authoritative. Searching only pdf can help in finding quality material more quickly.
  • Nearly everyone uses Microsoft PowerPoint to prepare a presentation and then put it online. You might like to find a presentation to plan one for yourself, or you might want to exclude them from results.
  • Flash files might have a demo, tutorial, or game you could use. Get these at Bing or Google.


Look for pdf documents about the environment (word in title) from the Government of Ontario (

Look for pages that are about “web searching” but are not powerpoint presentations.

Check your search construction against the syntax answer page.

The End