Hidden features! 25 fun things you can do with the DuckDuckGo search engine

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DuckDuckGo is one of the alternative search engines that intrudes less on privacy than the ubiquitous Google.

It has improved a lot lately and works quite well for general web search. It’s nowhere near Google when it comes to local search.

However, DuckDuckGo (affectionately nicknamed DDG) has some cool features that most users aren’t aware of. If you’re an ardent DDG fan, you might enjoy enhancing your search experience with these tips.

1. Jump to a specific website

Type ! before the name of your favorite website and go directly to the website. It’s like Google’s “feel lucky” feature, but in DDG terms it’s called “bangs”.

There are short forms for websites, which will be suggested when we start typing.

duckduckgo bang function

By entering the search term right after the website name, you will get the required result from that website.

2. Convert text to ASCII

Figlet is one of the fun Linux commands. It converts any text into a decorated ASCII format.

Type fig before any search term; it will print its ASCII output. No need to open the terminal.

fig
Figlet in DDG

3. Check Social Media Status

Use ‘@’ in front of someone’s correct Twitter name to display their status (followers, etc.).

twitter
Twitter

4. Generate a strong password

Type “password” followed by the number of characters to include and it will generate a strong and unique password for you.

password 30
Password generation in DuckDuckGo

5. Generate a random passphrase

Type ‘random passphrase’ to generate a passphrase, usually 4 words.

random pqssphrase
Random passphrase

6. Get a cheat sheet

Type cheatsheet after the term for which you want the cheat sheet. If there is a cheat sheet for the search term, it will immediately show it on the search page.

vim cheat sheet
Vim Cheat Sheet

7. Get color from color code

Type ‘color’ followed by the hex code of the color you want to check and it will show what that color looks like.

Color
Color

8. Generate a random number

Searching for “random number” will show a random number between 0 and 1

random number
Random number

You can also specify the range to search.

random number between 1 and 1000
Random number between 1 and 1000

9. Convert to binary and other formats

Type a binary number and append it with ‘binary’ to convert it from binary to decimal

binary
binary to decimal

Likewise, it works for hex and oct, but I’m confused as to their logic.

10. Find rhyming words

Type “what rhymes with” followed by the word whose rhymes you want to get. Help with your poetry skills, right?

what rhymes with rain
that rhymes with rain

11. Get the Ramanujan number, Pi and other constants

Type the name of the constant whose value you want and you get it directly in the search results page.

ramujan number
Ramanujan number

12. Check who is currently in space

Type ‘people in space’ and get a list of those who are currently in space. It also shows how long they have been in space.

people in space
people in space

13. Check if a website is down

If you want to know if a particular website is down for you or for everyone, just use the search query “is xyz.com is down”.

is off
Is off?

14. Get quotes on certain topics

Type a word followed by quotes, and it will give quotes related to that word.

life quotes
Get quotes in DDG

15. Get Placeholder Texts

Search “lorem ipsum” and get 5 paragraphs of placeholder text. Useful for web developers perhaps.

lorem ipsum
Lorem ipsum

16. Get any month’s calendar

Type calendar followed by day, month and year and it will give you an interactive calendar for that month.

calendar
Calendar

17. Generate a QR code

Searching ‘qr’ followed by any text, be it a link or anything, will generate the respective QR code.

QR Code
QR Code

18. Get CSS Animations

Search ‘css animations’ for examples of CSS animations.

css animation
CSS Animation

19. Develop a shortened link

You have a bitly or other shortened link but you don’t know where it takes you. Instead of landing on a spammy website, expand the shortened URL and view the actual website URL.

Use the expand keyword followed by the shortened URL and it will display the actual destination URL.

expand ddg shortcut link
Expand the link

20. Get HTML codes for special characters

Search for ‘html chars’ and get a very long list of HTML entities and their description, if you press on it, show more in the result

html characters
HTML characters

21. Why should I use it?

This one is pretty useless. If you enter the term “why should I use it?” it displays “because it’s awesome” at the top of the search results page. Obviously, DuckDuckGo refers to itself.

why should i use this
Why should I use it?

22. Convert Case

It works in two cases. tiny will display the result in lowercase

tiny
Tiny

upper case will display a result in uppercase.

uppercase
Uppercase

23. Encode a URL

Searching for ‘encoder’ followed by a URL will return an encoded result

encode the url
URL encoding

24. Motherboard

Search for “Motherboard” and you can see the DuckDuckGo logo on the left side has changed. It shows a random logo from the selection of few.

motherboard
Motherboard

25. Get HTML Color Codes

Search for “color codes” and you get a color chart. Again, this one is more for web developers and designers.

color codes
Color codes

There are many more…

My teammate Sreenath had this post idea. He says there are more “Easter Eggs” in DuckDuckGo and I believe him. But it will not be possible to list them all here.

If you know of any other cool DDG search features, share them in the comments. If you found your next favorite search feature, mention that too.



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