I have noticed that a lot of times people ask a question and a duplicate is instantly found. It's not necessarily true that the person hasn't tried to look up the question, but it is just hard to search for certain questions on Google or stackexchange. What are some tips on searching up questions? I specifically have a concern with questions that have equations in them like $(1^3+2^3+\cdots+n^3)=(1+2+\cdots+n)^2$.

(By the way, I am not sure about the appropriate tags to use).

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This incident (and the next question by the same user) made me think that may be LaTeX in titles is a bad idea. May be we should replace things like $1^3 + \dots + n^3$ by more "searchable" sentences such as "sum of cubes of numbers between 1 and n". Closely related is this H(kappa) question. $\endgroup$
    – user2468
    Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ In other words, you are saying it is impossible to search up things in those kinds of formats? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 0:47
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ In my experience, using "math.stackexchange ..." and some keywords in google is more effective than the math.stackexchange own search bar. $\endgroup$
    – William
    Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 2:14
  • $\begingroup$ @William The problem isn't really searching questions on stackexchange, its just searching specific questions in general $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 2:21
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The software does some of the searching for us. For each question there's a list of related questions down the right side of the page, and often you can find a duplicate by just scanning that list and trying a few. Also those of us who have been here for a while have a sense of what questions we've seen before and some ideas on good search terms to use to find the duplicate. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 4:48
  • $\begingroup$ This questions is related to searching: How do you search for duplicates. These two questions List of Generalizations of Common Questions and Would "organizer posts" be useful/welcome here? are about compiling lists of questions, that are asked often - this could make finding duplicates easier, too. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 4:49
  • $\begingroup$ I have trouble finding stuff in comments and answers I wrote myself. $\endgroup$
    – copper.hat
    Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 6:29
  • $\begingroup$ This might be interesting in connection with this question, too: How to search the internet for strings that consist mostly of math notation?. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 8:18
  • $\begingroup$ @William: In Google, using "site:math.stackexchange.com" will specifically restrict results to that domain. This may work better than just using "math.stackexchange.com" as a keyword. Note that if you submit an empty search in the SE search bar, you'll get some helpful suggestions on searching and input boxes for performing domain-specific searches on a few search engines. :) $\endgroup$
    – cardinal
    Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 17:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Related: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/1388/… $\endgroup$
    – Aryabhata
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 14:28

3 Answers 3


See my side-project, it is developing its indices currently.


I will publish its first release when the entire math StackExchange is indexed.

Also, I am hoping someone interested can join and form a community to push this project forward, this is the reason I am posting here, even if this project is not fully ready for public using.


If you are interested in this project or have any amazing idea to help it improve, please follow this twitter account: https://twitter.com/approach0 , mention #approach0 to send feedbacks/questions. Approach0 will post updates on twitter too.

  • $\begingroup$ do you have a widget for third party site integration (to be able to search locally)? I've looked through the site and docs but have not fine the one. Is there some other option for the task (i.e. if a third party site is not that important to be indexed on your main page)? $\endgroup$
    – garej
    Commented Mar 4, 2023 at 9:41
  • $\begingroup$ @garej It is not a hard thing to do, but I am quite busy with other things currently. Are you willing to pay for this functionality? If so, direct msg me here: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/46148/in-the-search-of-a-question $\endgroup$
    – Wei Zhong
    Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 21:56

A few years ago we developed the search engine SearchOnMath, in order to search for mathematical formulas. Unlike traditional, text-only search tools, SearchOnMath is able to search for mathematical formulas and/or text. Recently our tool has indexed both: Mathematics and MathOverflow.

Currently, SearchOnMath is the mathematical search engine with the largest number of indexed sites (including Wikipedia, Wolfram MathWorld, among others ...).

The following video illustrates how it works: SearchOnMath - a brief guide.

P.S.: please, enclose formulas between \${}\$. e.g. \${x+y}\$.


We’d love to hear your feedback. We also posted on Meta.

  • $\begingroup$ I have mentioned this announcement also in the searching chatroom. Feel free to stop by sometimes. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 5:15
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe a good way to make this search engine better known among users of this site could be through Community Promotion Ads. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your comment Martin. We'll consider to submit SearchOnMath to Promotion Ads. :) $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ @FlavioGonzaga, is it possible to use your search engine via API on some third party site (not included in the list of indexed resources)? $\endgroup$
    – garej
    Commented Mar 4, 2023 at 9:51
  • $\begingroup$ Hi @garej, you can use SearchOnMath only on the indexed sites. This is a common requirement when considering search engines. All search engines must perform the indexing step before searching (not only SearchOnMath). Feel free to suggest third-party sites. It will be a pleasure to include them in the SearchOnMath index. :) The SearchOnMath API documentation is available at searchonmath.com/docs. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 23:37

This is not exactly an answer to your question, but since you asked about $(1^3+2^3+\cdots+n^3)=(1+2+\cdots+n)^2$, I've tried whether I will be able to find the formula on this site with Google. I made this CW, so that other users can add their experiments, too. (Just for the fun of trying it.)

BTW before starting to search, looking at the list of related questions, which is automatically generated, might be good.

Of course, searching for formulas which do not have a name is more-or-less guesswork - you do not know whether the OP chose $i$, $j$, $k$, $n$ or another letter to denote the variable. (So one can try to change the names of variables in each of the search string, below.)

  • $\begingroup$ About the problem of choice of variable names. Is there any way to search using regular expressions or something similar (as this could possibly solve that problem)? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 31, 2012 at 7:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Tobias I am unaware of something like that in Google. Maybe some of the search engines mention in J.M.'s comment here can do similar things; but I did not have time (yet) to test them thoroughly. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 31, 2012 at 7:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .