You probably know that DuckDuckGo is famous for its focus on privacy. While Google has become the standard for search, it’s no secret that it tracks everything you do and more. Because of this, many people feel that you should quit using Google and use a search engine that respects your privacy.
But using a less popular search engine doesn’t mean giving up cool features. In fact, DuckDuckGo packs in tons of cool tricks you won’t find on Google. One of its best are !bangs.
What Are Bangs?
!bangs are short commands you can type into DuckDuckGo to search another site without having to first visit it. You use them by typing an exclamation point (sometimes called a “bang”), followed by a shortcut for the website you want to search.
If you type only the bang, DuckDuckGo will bring you to the appropriate website. But bangs really shine when you add a search term in with them. For example, if you wanted to search Wikipedia for pizza, you could type the following:
This query brings you directly to Wikipedia’s page on pizza. Without it, you’d have to type Wikipedia into the search bar, click on Wikipedia’s entry, then click inside its search bar, type pizza, and hit Enter again.
But this is just the surface. Let’s dive into a selection of the many bangs that DDG offers.
1. Google Translate (!gt)
While it’s not always perfect, Google Translate is a fantastic resource for breaching language barriers. Next time you want to see how to say something in another language, use the !gt command followed by the language you want to translate into.
This will open a Google Translate page that detects the language you entered and translates it to your selected option.
Popular options include !gtfr for French, !gtde for German, and !gtchinese for Chinese. Check the list of language shortcuts from DDG to see what the code is for your language.
2. YouTube (!yt)
!yt cat videos
Chances are, if you want to watch a video online, it’s on YouTube. Quickly search for the hottest new cat videos with this command.
3. AZ Lyrics (!azl)
!azl Shining Star
Finding lyrics for your favorite songs often involves visiting some junky site with tons of ads and nonsense crammed in. Using the AZLyrics bang, you can quickly search for your favorite song to make sure you’re not singing the lyrics wrong.
4. Thesaurus (!t)
Next time you need another way to say something, open the Thesaurus.com entry for that word with one quick search. For instance, if you needed a new way to tell your friend about MakeUseOf, you could enter the above example command.
5. GameFAQs (!gfaqs)
!gfaqs Ace Attorney
If you’re a gamer, GameFAQs is a site you should visit often. It’s an awesome resource for walkthroughs, cheats, and discussion with other players. You can pull up the wealth of information this site keeps for a game by using its bang, like the above example.
6. How Long to Beat (!hlb)
!hlb Super Mario Odyssey
While we’re on the topic of gaming, How Long to Beat is a valuable resource for seeing how long it usually takes to complete a game. Use this bang to see how much time you can expect to spend on your next game — it even breaks down by different playstyles!
7. DaFont (!dafont)
If you need a new font for a project or just to try something new, DaFont is a great place to look. Use this bang to find a fresh font faster than ever.
8. Google Doodles (!gdoodle)
Google regularly changes the logo on its homepage for holidays, world events, and famous birthdays. To take a gander through the long history of Google Doogles, use this command.
9. Giphy (!giphy)
You’ll find the world’s biggest collection of GIFs on Giphy. Next time you need the perfect reaction to some silly post you see online, jump right to it with its bang.
10. Acronym Finder (!acro)
In today’s technology world, the insane amount of acronyms can begin to feel like alphabet soup. Next time you don’t know what an acronym stands for, you can easily discover all its possible uses with this command.
11. Ultimate Guitar Tabs (!tabs)
!tabs Take It Easy
Tabs are an awesome way for guitar players look up how to play nearly any song. Save a few seconds with the bang command to find tabs for your favorite music.
12. Google Images (!gi)
DuckDuckGo features an image search, but if it isn’t finding what you want, you can hop over to a Google image search with a quick bang.
13. The Weather Channel (!wc)
Next time you want to quickly check the weather for any location, just use this bang. You can enter a city name, ZIP code, or similar.
14. Down for Everyone? (!isup)
When you can’t connect to a website, you probably want to check if it’s down for everyone or just you. It’s an important step in diagnosing network problems, and you can find out quickly using this bang.
15. Nutrition Data (!nutridata)
!nutridata Big Mac
If you’re watching what you eat and need quick information about the nutrition facts for a particular food, this command is a huge help.
16. Urban Dictionary (!u)
Need to get the “street” meaning of a word? If the standard dictionary doesn’t provide a modern definition, Urban Dictionary is your best bet.
17. Stack Exchange (!sx)
!sx java pointers
Stack Exchange consists of a variety of question-and-answer sites. It’s a great place to visit when you need expert help from real people, and you can search its vast library of discussions with this command.
18. Metacritic (!mc)
!mc Pitch Perfect
We could debate over whether it’s an effective system, but Metacritic is the place to go when you want a quick idea of a movie, TV show, music album, or video game’s quality. The site aggregates reviews from many sources to give a score from 1-100.
19. FileInfo (!fileinfo)
Ever come across a file extension you don’t recognize? FileInfo is a great way to find out what the file is for. It also tells you what programs can open that file type on various platforms.
20. AllMusic (!allmusic)
!allmusic Smash Mouth
Audiophiles will love AllMusic, as it’s one of the most comprehensive sites for music information. You can find information on artists and albums, including short reviews and recommended tracks.
21. Wolfram Alpha (!wa)
!wa solve 8x + 6 = 15x -8
Wolfram Alpha is a “computational knowledge engine” capable of more intensive tasks than Google. It can graph equations, list the taxonomy of elephants, and even knows the clearance below the Golden Gate Bridge. Throw whatever you like at it — it’s quite fun!
22. Google Maps (!m)
Need to look up directions or see where a business is? The Google Maps bang is the quickest way to find that out.
23. Subreddit (!sr)
Need to go right to a specific subreddit? You don’t have to browse through a list — just use this command to jump right to it.
24. Indeed (!jobs)
Want to get searching for a job right away? Indeed’s bang command lets you start searching for a job that fits your skills instantly.
25. MakeUseOf (!muo)
!makeuseof Windows 10
Want to search our site to see if we’ve written about a topic you’re interested in? Try this bang, and if you can’t find anything, contact us and let us know what you’d like to see an article on!
— Dutch OsintGuy (@dutch_osintguy) December 10, 2017
A Few Bang Tips
These 25 DuckDuckGo bangs are only a small selection of the almost 10,000 on offer by DDG. Thus, you should keep a few tips in mind to get the most out of them:
- Bangs will auto-complete on DDG. Thus, if you type !geek, you’ll see all bangs that contain those characters. Try this to see if your favorite sites have a bang!
- You can search bangs by typing !bang followed by a query.
- If you think DDG is missing a bang, use the suggestion form to send in your requests.
- If you don’t like typing bangs but still want to use them, try the unofficial DuckDuckGo !bangs Chrome extension. This lets you add buttons for select bangs under the search bar on DuckDuckGo results pages. Thus, if you type a query and decide you’d like to search YouTube for it instead, you can just click its button. It also adds an option to your right-click menu to quickly search a few sites for any text you click on.
Which DuckDuckGo !Bang Did You Pick?
Now you have 25 DuckDuckGo bangs in your pocket for speedy searching. Integrate the ones you use most often into your daily workflow, and you’ll fly around the web like never before. We recommend exploring DuckDuckGo for bangs you use — these are just a sampling.
Combined with the company’s focus on privacy, what’s not to love about DuckDuckGo? You can always !g to search Google for something if DDG can’t find it. If you’re a student, DuckDuckGo even has special tricks for you.
Do you use bangs regularly? What are some of your favorites? Tell us if these would make you switch to DuckDuckGo in the comments!