We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

50 time-saving tips for Windows, Google, Gmail and Android

Faster ways to navigate, launch programs, browse the web and find what you need

Power search using Google

Google

 You can reduce the amount of time you spend surfing the Web by using advanced Google search strings to find the specific data you’re looking for.

22. Convert weights and measures: to convert five pounds of weight into kilograms, simply pop '5lbs to kg' into Google's search bar, and the search giant will make the conversion for you. Searches for similar queries such as '5in to mm' and even '£5 to $' work in the same way, although the currency conversion should be used only as a guide.

Google conversion

23. Ditch the calculator: As with weights and measures, Google will do maths for you. Simply type '4.2 * 7' and hit Enter to get the answer. It even understands plain English (type 'million' instead of 1000000) and can handle fractions. For more advanced sums, try  entering 2*8+(sqrt 27)^3= and see what happens.

24. Follow your flight: To see your flight status without having to hunt through your airline’s website, type the name of your airline and your flight number (‘EasyJet 8871’, for example) into the Google search bar. Google will provide your flight information, with an update on whether the plane is on time.

25. Watch the weather: To check the weather before you go, type weather and your destination (‘weather London’, say). Google will supply the relevant area’s four-day forecast. It may appear before you’ve finished typing if you have Google Instant enabled: this predicts your query and displays results as you type.

26. Find films fast: To get movie times at local cinemas, type films followed by your postcode into the Google search bar. Google will display a list of what’s playing at every nearby cinema. For greater specificity, type movie title followed by your postcode to narrow your search to a single film.

27. Search any site: If you're Googling for information, and you are sure a certain site will have that info, use Google's site search to cut out a couple of clicks. Type in 'site:PCAdvisor.co.uk', or similar, followed by a space, and then the search term. Try 'site:PCAdvisor.co.uk time-saving tips' to see what we mean.

28. Search for an exact phrase: Finding something specific is much easier if you wrap your search in quotes. It's useful for finding something (song lyrics or a poem, say) when a general web search isn't working for you.

29. Exclude words from search results: Similarly, you can exclude certain words from results by preceding the word in your search query by a dash (e.g. jaguar -car to see results about the animal, not the four-wheeled saloon).

30. Fill in the blanks: When you can't remember an exact phrase or cliché, use a wildcard search to find it. For example 'Don't look a * in the mouth'.

Next page: Top tips to make email work for you - including Gmail

IDG UK Sites

Where to buy iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in the UK: Launch day price, deals and contracts

IDG UK Sites

Is Apple losing confidence in itself?

IDG UK Sites

Professional photo and video techniques for perfect colours

IDG UK Sites

How (and where) to buy an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus in the UK. Plus: What to do if you pre-ordered...