This web site was copied prior to January 20, 2005. It is now a Federal record managed by the National Archives and Records Administration. External links, forms, and search boxes may not function within this collection. Learn more.   [hide]
Skip to Content Skip to Government Search Skip to By Organization, Contact Your Government, and Reference Center
FirstGov Home Page
   Home   About Us   Site Map   Help   Español   Other Languages   
   Welcome from President Bush   
Uncle Sam: E-mail us your questions. Click here to send us an e-mail question.
By Organization »
Contact Your Government »
Reference Center »
Also of Interest...
link to White House website link to website to learn about the President's electronic government initiatives
Citizens GatewayBusinesses and Nonprofits GatewayFederal Employees GatewayGovernment-to-Government Gateway
FirstGov Search Tips

A laptop computer displaying the homepage
E-mail This Page

Search for keywords in more than 186 million web pages from federal and state governments, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

Basic Search: 3 Easy Steps

  • Choose the span of your search using the options in the drop down box. If you don't make a selection, you'll get federal results by default.
  • Enter your keywords or phrases in the search box. You don't have to type "and," "or," "+," commas, quotation marks or other punctuation.
  • Click "go."

Advanced Search

You will have the same opportunity to search federal web pages, state pages or both as instructed above. As in the steps above, you don't have to type "and," "or," "+," commas, quotation marks or other punctuation.

Here are new options for reducing the number of results and helping you find exactly what you want.

  • Search for keyword matches
    Select one of the following choices from the pull-down menu.
    • All words - Will return matches with all of the keywords in the search box.
    • Any words - Will return matches with one or more words in the box.
    • Exact phrase - Will match your word or phrase exactly.
  • Search this format
    Search for keywords in documents in certain formats. In the pull-down box choose html, pdf, xml, text, PowerPoint, Word, Excel or every format. "Every format," which is the default, searches all these formats.
  • Check spelling
    Check this box if you're not sure how to spell your keyword(s). The search engine will correct your spelling.
  • Search this language
    Use the pull-down box to search for results in 48 languages or "Any language."
  • Include word variations
    Check this box if you want variations of your keyword(s). Many words have endings (suffixes) that make new words, such as vote and voting.
  • Include or exclude these words
    You may determine precisely which words or phrases you want included or excluded.
    • Must include - Will return all pages with the keywords you type in the box. Will discard pages that don't have these words.
    • Must not include - Will not include pages with the keywords you type in the box.

    You may also include or exclude words or phrases in certain parts of the document.

    • In the text - in the text of the page.
    • In the title - in the title of the page only (the title you see near the top of the page).
    • In the URL - within the full web address of a page. Example: Search for "auctions" in the URL /shopping/auctions/auctions.shtml
  • Include or exclude Websites
    • Domains - Include or exclude top-level domains, such as .gov, .mil or .org.
    • Websites - Include or exclude specific websites, such as or You may enter more than one. Do not include "http://" or "www."
  • Refine results
    • Pages updated - Use the pull-down menu to limit the time period of the documents you want returned, such as the last 3 months.
    • Document size - Use the pull-down boxes to limit the size (bytes, kilobytes, megabytes) of the documents you want returned. If you don't make selections, all documents will be returned.
  • Display results this way
    • Return results per page - Select from 10 - 100 in the pull-down box. Sort by date: Select results by dates from newest to oldest in the pull-down box.
    • Type of summary - Check "page summary" for a page description. Check "Find word on page," which will highlight your keywords in the search return.


Need additional help? Submit your request through our contact form or call us toll-free at 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636), between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Our specially trained staff will be happy to help you with your question.


   Frequent Questions   Important Notices   Privacy   Contact Us   Suggest-A-Link   Link to Us