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How to Use Google More Effectively

Boolean operators, site searches, & country internet codes are just a few of the things we cover to help improve your searches.

Google Image Search

Using Google Images is a great way to find a variety of images from across the web. However, not all of the images that you find through this search are in the Public Domain or available for use. 

Follow the steps illustrated below to learn how to search for free to use images using Google Images.

Google Image Search Steps

Go to Google Images and type in what you are looking for, then click on the magnifying glass to search.

Google Image search box with sea turtles typed in

Click on the box labeled "Tools." This will cause a toolbar to pop up, click the tab labeled "Usage rights."

Google Image search box with sea turtles typed in


Once you click "Usage rights" this menu will pop up:

Google Image Search usage rights menu

The default setting for this menu is "not filtered by license." Select the type of image you are looking for, most likely "Labeled for reuse," to narrow your search results.

Click on the photograph you are interested in and a black box will appear below the image. You can then click on the "Visit" button to see where that image came from. This is especially important as you would never cite your image as being found on or created by Google Images.

Google Image search for sea turtles with "labeled for reuse" selected

Note: This step will vary depending on where the image is located. This particular image, "Hawksbill Sea Turtle Carey de Concha", was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

When you view the image at its original site you can see if there are any licensing requirements, get a correct URL, and find out much more information. The image above is from Wikimedia Commons. By looking at the image on Wikimedia Commons you can easily download a variety of sizes of the image, view any licenses associated with the image, and even find the correct way to attribute the image. 

Hawksbill Sea Turtle image from Wikimedia Commons

Clicking on the "Download all sizes" button brings up this screen. As you can see it shows you the correct URL, gives you a variety of file sizes, and even shows you the best way to attribute the image.

Wikimedia Commons "download this file" box

If you scroll down the page you will also find a summary of the image and an explanation of any licenses that are associated with it. 

Hawksbill Sea Turtle image summary and licensing


To cite this LibGuide use the following templates:

APA: Northern Essex Community College Library. (Date updated). Title of page. Title of LibGuide. URL

MLA: Northern Essex Community College Library. "Title of Page." Title of LibGuide, Date updated, URL.