As I learnt from this post, Google has no ability to search for special characters. Let's say I want to search for ss!. Are there any other search engines that can achieve this? Please do not propose any programming code search engines since this is a general search.

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    well the more popular search engines do not preserve punctuation as they use it as operators. I do not understand why you do want to use a programming code search engine if it will do the job. Your only other option is to just use as is for example += ---> plus equals .
    – phwd
    Jul 6, 2010 at 12:18
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    Think of this case: My computer has some folders with some files named as MM! without extension. This could be done by a virus or a program. The search results fetched for MM! is nonsense. Jul 6, 2010 at 12:43
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    Okay I get it now , but it would depend on the situation, if i do *MM!* I will get the first hit as Symantec site threat list, where just MM! would give millimetre etc. What folder is it in ? is it a program folder a system folder, is that the real file name ? descriptions like these will lead to a better search it still applies to the += case. What are you asking for is localized and will not be able to make a top hit unless more information is placed in the query
    – phwd
    Jul 7, 2010 at 13:53
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    I usually try to put it in context. If you're searching for something as short as ss! it will greatly help Google if you supply as much information as you can. Also, try putting quotes around terms that need to be found together.
    – matpie
    Jul 7, 2010 at 22:13
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    putting the keyword (with special character) in quotes does not work. is there any other methods?
    – wilson
    Oct 7, 2010 at 9:25

4 Answers 4


Today, finally, I discovered a new search engine that doesn't ignore special characters:


SymbolHound is a search engine that doesn't ignore special characters. This means you can easily search for symbols like &, %, and ^, or even less common characters such as ©, ¬, and µ.

I'd like to share some information from their FAQ:

Why would anyone use this instead of Google?

Google and all other major search engines ignore most special characters, usually treating them as whitespace, even if you put your query in quotes. Try searching for "C++ >>" on Google to see what we mean: the ">>" part is ignored! On SymbolHound, information about the >> operator in C++ (the bitwise operator) is on the first page of results. This kind of > case where symbols make a large difference is especially common in programming- and math-related fields.

Do you have an advanced search feature?

Sure do. Features include searching by phrase, searching by url, and excluding certain terms. It is also linked in the navigation bar on the top-right of every SymbolHound page.

Which websites are searchable on SymbolHound?

SymbolHound's index is currently focused on programming-related websites, such as the question-and-answer website Stack Overflow, and we are adding more pages all the time. Do you know of a website you'd like SymbolHound to index? Let us know.

What technologies does SymbolHound use?

SymbolHound's page indexing is powered by the open source software Apache Nutch and Apache Solr. Our hosting and crawling is done mostly using Amazon Web Services (AWS).

  • N.B.: Google will be discontinuing Code Search on January 15, 2012. Nov 23, 2011 at 17:10
  • IMO, SymbolHound is a good start but they need to index more pages other than Stack Exchange sites, e.g. forums, other Q&A sites. Furthermore, indexing only programming related sites would not be enough since there can be users searching for special characters unrelated to computers. Nov 23, 2011 at 18:35
  • As of today the site says "SymbolHound searches a growing index of programming websites" and does search more than just Stack Overflow.
    – ChrisF
    Jan 2, 2012 at 23:22
  • Much is still uncrawled. Names having - are not searched. Jul 28, 2015 at 11:34
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    0 results found for seed.properties - awesome
    – Line
    Aug 23, 2021 at 9:43

According to one report it appears that Google is now allowing for searches for punctuation. No word on exactly which punctuation is included (although a dozen or so were tested) and I don't see information on punctuation with text.


I think DuckDuckGo search engine does the search including special characters. See the search for MM! here.

DuckDuckGo does not, but you can search symbolhound on DDG with !symbolhound

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    Not exactly. The first few results include MM! but if you scroll down a little bit, there is no exact results. I also tried xyz# on DuckDuckGo but it couldn't do it. Nov 16, 2011 at 15:14

Use double quotes—"—to wrap the special character.

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    I don't have the rep to downvote, so Raju, please remember to check the validity of your answers, before providing them.
    – user66001
    Aug 16, 2014 at 3:55
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    It says right in the question why this doesn't work.
    – JeremyP
    Oct 31, 2016 at 11:28

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