Refining Your Google Image Search

Whether you’re building a presentation slide deck or creating a birthday party invitation, Google is a great place to begin your search for inspiring images to use. I use their image search feature almost on a daily basis. There is WAY more to their image search engine than meets the eye though, and most people are missing out Using this tech tip will help you to refine your search and find exactly what you’re looking for (as well as expose a whole new world of images that you probably never would have known existed otherwise).

Let’s begin by searching for an image as you normally would. Go to and enter a search string (like “tropical fish”), press <enter> (to begin your Google search) and then click “Image” (to kick that search over to their image search engine). Doing this will give you a list of images that matches that criteria.

If I were building a slide deck, this list of images probably wouldn’t work too well for us because we have high-resolution images (the ones I’m interested in) mixed in with low-resolution images. I want to filter out the low-res images and only show the high-res images. I may also want to only use images that have a transparent background (making it much easier to work with slide backgrounds and other slide elements).

To refine our search, we will want to click on “Search Tools”. This will open another set of search features as shown here:


From here, we can further filter our Google image search based on size (resolution), color (specific colors or transparency), Type (face, clipart, animation, etc) and Time (date of posting). Very powerful stuff.

As a side tip...

Google is a great place to begin your search for images, but it can sometimes be difficult to weed through a lot of the “junk” shots that are found on the public Internet. If you’re serious about professional-looking images, you may want to also check out professional image collection sites like iStockPhoto.

Posted on April 13, 2013 and filed under How To, Mac.