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NetFind Tips by Casey
Hi! I'm Casey--your personal guide to getting around on the Web. Below, you'll find my seven basic tips for better, more effective Web scouting. Use 'em: They're sure to get you *exactly* the results you want in AOL NetFind. And, every week I'll be bringing you my favorite spots and secret shortcuts for Web finds, so check back here often!
Get the Address Right!
This week, I'm going to tell you how I helped my friend use AOL NetFind.

Ever since I started writing this column for AOL, it seems like everyone I know asks me for personal help finding stuff on the Web. Just last week, my friend Suzanne called me at 11p.m., all riled up. She was trying to find the Amazon.com online bookstore I'd written about some weeks ago, and couldn't get AOL NetFind to take her there.

"I'm typing the Web address in, clicking Find, and I'm not getting to the site!" she complained. "What's the deal?" I was stumped. She even had the right Web address (http://www.amazon.com). Then, it dawned on me: Why would Suzanne need to do a search if she already had the Web address? She was simply typing Amazon's Web address into the wrong place.

When you're on AOL NetFind home page, there are two places to type stuff, and here's the rule of thumb for which to use: If you know the exact Web address of the site you want (like http://www.amazon.com), type it into the longer entry box at the top of the screen. If you don't know the exact Web site you need and you want AOL NetFind to find some for you, type your search words (books, for example) into the search box on the AOL NetFind home page—the one with the Find! button next to it. When I explained this to Suzanne, she got to the site--and found her book--with no problem.

Don't get me wrong: I love to help people get squared away on the Web. But from now on, the machine-s answering those late-night calls.

Go to the AOL NetFind home page, and try Casey's tips for yourself!

Check out Casey's past columns!

  Seven Simple Steps for Finding What You Want

1. Phrase It: Don't use one word searches. Instead, type in multiple words or a phrase in quotes to increase your chances of finding useful results. See more about advanced NetFind methods.

2. Be Specific: The more descriptive you can get, the better your results. Typing in "Macintosh graphics software" is better than just "Macintosh software."

3. Check our reviews first: Excite's editors have already identified and rated the best Web sites, so why not take advantage of them? Click the "NetFind Reviews" button (under the search box on the main NetFind page). Type in what you're looking for, and NetFind will hunt for matches in its extensive Reviews database.

4. Add it Up: Use AND or the plus sign (+) when you want to find articles that contain all of the words you enter. For example, to find articles on rock and roll music, try typing "rock AND roll AND music," or "rock +roll +music". Important: Put the plus sign directly in front of the word you want added, with no spaces ("painting +Picasso").

5. Cut it Out: Use AND NOT or the minus sign (-) to limit your results to articles with only the words you want. For example, if you want articles about pets, but aren't interested in dogs, try typing in "pets AND NOT dogs," or "pets -dogs." Remember: Put the minus sign directly in front of the word you want left out, with no spaces ("psychiatry -Freud").

6. More Like This: If you're getting more than you bargained for in your results, be sure to click on the More Like This link next to the Web link that most closely matches what you're looking for. This tells us to show you only those sites that are like the one you chose.

7. Refine Your Find: If you really don't like the results you're getting, you've got a second chance. Scroll down to the "Refine Your Results" area at the bottom of the results page, and try tweaking your find a bit. If you've got too many results, get more specific by adding more words. If you've got too few results, make your find more general by removing some words.

Want a more in-depth explanation? Check out more tips.

 

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