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Find What You Want with Advanced Search

How to search when you want more or less than eBay's default search gives you

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Find What You Want with Advanced Search

See the "Advanced" link next to the search button on eBay's home page? It's your gateway to more search options that can help you to find what you're looking for.

Image: eBay / Aron Hsiao

eBay's search box continues to accept special symbols that allow you to make a search much more specific, but there's another way to search on eBay that can also help you to zero in on just the items you're looking for—the advanced search tool.

Click here to access advanced search.

Using eBay's Advanced Search Tool

To find eBay's advanced search tool on eBay's home page, click the link labeled "Advanced" to the right of the eBay search box.

The advanced search tool is an easy-to-use tool that enables you to narrow your search and make it much more specific, as well as to search for things other than items for sale on eBay.

Here are some of the things that you can do with the advanced search tool:

  • Find only items that match your search exactly. Normally eBay will search in a way that's a bit "fuzzy" based on the keywords you enter. Plurals and singlulars will be used interchangeably (a search for "drills" will also return items that have "drill" in the title, and vice-versa) and the order of the words will be treated as unimportant (a search for "toy drill" will also return listings with "drill toy" in the title). Sometimes, however, you want to search for only exactly what you've typed. To do this, enter your search in the first box, labeled "Enter keywords or item number," then choose "Exact words, exact order" from the drop-down list just to the right. Other choces in the drop-down list to help eBay to understand what you mean include "All words, any order," "Any words, any order," and "Exact words, any order."

  • Exclude items from your search. Use the "Exclude words from your search"" box to narrow your search by specifying the kinds of listings you don't want to see. For example, if you're searching for "drills" but not "toy drills," put the word "drills" in the keywords box, then "toy" in the exclude box and you won't see any listings containing the word "toy."

  • Find things of a particular kind. Searching for the word "drill" on eBay is likely to return lots of items that you might not have intended or that don't reflect what you're looking for. Maybe you're looking for art about drills. You could try to put art keywords in your main search ("drill art"), but there are lots of different kinds of art: posters, engravings, paintings, sculptures, and more. You're bound to miss something, and a general search for "drill" returns a lot of power tools. Solve this problem by using the "In this category" drop-down list, which enables you to restrict your search to just one category on eBay. For art, you'd use this drop-down list to select "Art," which would show you results for any kind of art, but nothing else related to drills.

  • Find needles in the haystack. Sometimes you're searching for a needle in a haystack. For example, if you're repairing something around the house, you may be searching for a particular model or part number that might not make its way into a listing's title, but just might appear in the item description. Check the "Title and description" box to run your search not just on listing titles, but to find your keywords also anywhere they appear in item descriptions.

  • Find items in your price range. Sometimes, you know how much you want to spend and don't want to see every listing out there at every price point. To narrow results by price, check the "Price" box, then enter your minimum and maximum price into the two boxes next to it. If you don't want to include auction listings in your results (which might be in your price range for the moment, but might still go above your price range by the time the auction ends), check the "Buy it Now" box in the "Buying formats" list just below the area where you chose a price range.

  • Find items you can haggle about. If you're into haggling to get the best deal you possibly can, check the "Best offer" box in the "Show results" list near the bottom of the form to see fixed-price only listings for which you can make an offer of your own directly to a seller.

  • Find listings that give to charity. If you want your shopping to do something good for someone, check the "eBay Giving Works" box in the "Show results" list to find only purchases that will donate money to charity through eBay's Giving Works program.

  • Find listings somewhere near you. Sometimes you want to find only items that are near you, usually because you don't want to wait for extended shipping times that can occur in cross-country or global shipment situations. To do this, check the "Items near me" box and select the maximum distance (which defaults to 200 miles) from the distance drop-down list, then enter your postcal code in the postal code box so that eBay knows where you are. You can also just select your city from the "Select a popular city" drop-down list.

  • Find items that don't even need to be shipped. If you want your item right away, without waiting for shipping, combine the distance-based search just described with the "Local pickup" checkbox to find items that are within a few miles of your location and that can be picked up in person directly from the seller.

  • Get your search results organized in useful ways. By default, eBay shows you results in order from what eBay thinks are the "best" items for you to the "worst" items for you, based on its best match scoring system. At the bottom of the advanced search tool, you can change this so that eBay shows you items sorted by price, by distance, or by time (remaining) using the "Sort by" drop-down list. You can also tell eBay to show you more (or fewer) items per page of search results, to make crawling through them easier.

Between eBay's power search tools and its advanced search tool, there's enough search firepower on eBay to help you to find almost anything you happen to be looking for on eBay, with a minimum of effort.

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