Tips on searching for PDFs and other file types on the internet

  • Nilesh Parmar
  • 5 July 2013 00:00

I was recently trying to lay my hands on the latest brochure for a particular make and model of car. Rather than having to visit the showroom I thought wouldn't it be great to go online and find a PDF version of the brochure.

Here is a great tip on how you can quickly search more effectively rather than wasting time searching through company websites.

Visit in any browser (Google, Yahoo or Bing).

Type in the subject you are interested in to find as a PDF, but at the end type 'filetype:pdf' As soon as you begin to type, Google will try to predict the subject your are looking for. For this example I am searching for 'Volkswagen Golf mk6 brochure filetype:pdf'

As you can see in the results above, the PDF that I am looking for is top of the Google search as well as Google defining the document at the beginning of the title [PDF] The Golf - Volkswagen UK. As well as this, you will also be presented with similar searches below your actual searches.

If you are specifically looking for something, this link: is for you.

There are other file types you can also search, here is a list with definitions from Google, I have also highlighted below the most common file types for example, Word, Excel, etc...:

  • Adobe Flash (.swf)
  • Adobe Portable Document Format (.pdf)
  • Adobe PostScript (.ps)
  • Autodesk Design Web Format (.dwf)
  • Google Earth (.kml,.kmz)
  • GPS eXchange Format (.gpx)
  • Hancom Hanword (.hwp)
  • HTML (.htm,.html, other file extensions)
  • Microsoft Excel (.xls,.xlsx)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt,.pptx)
  • Microsoft Word (.doc,.docx)
  • OpenOffice presentation (.odp)
  • OpenOffice spreadsheet (.ods)
  • OpenOffice text (.odt)
  • Rich Text Format (.rtf,.wri)
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg)
  • TeX/LaTeX (.tex)
  • Text (.txt,.text, other file extensions)
  • XML (.xml)

So in knowing this, next month we will look at how you can maximise the effectiveness of a PDF/Word document that you make available online. Please let us know how you got on with your search, we would love to hear your comments...

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