If you don't want to browse through hundreds of advertisements on Craigslist, trying to find the perfect item to buy, then you can narrow down your choices with a search.
Note that Craigslist only allows you to search for items advertised on your local sub-site, as well as on a handful of sub-sites in the surrounding area. However, we'll show you how to search Craigslist over a broader area in our Craigslist Search Engines tutorial.
How to search Craigslist
Go to www.craigslist.org in your web browser, which will take you to your local sub-site. Click in the box labelled "Search Craigslist", and type in the terms that you wish to search for.
As you type, Craigslist will show you the number of posts in certain categories that include your search terms. Click on one to automatically search in that category, or press the "Enter" key to search in all categories.
By default, Craigslist will show you results in the "For Sale" category (unless you picked a different category from the search suggestions). You can click the drop-down menus in the top-left corner to change (from left-to-right):
-- The sub-site of Craigslist that you're searching
-- The category of advertisements that you're searching
-- The type of advertisements that you're searching
The options on the left side of the screen let you narrow down details about what exactly you're looking for.
For example, the top options allow you to select which type of advertisements within your chosen category that you see. Click the check boxes beside one or more types to select or deselect them; click Show More to see more types, or click Select/Deselect All to select or deselect all types at once. Then click Search at the bottom of the panel to update your search.
You can click one of the buttons further down to see All advertisements, ads By Owner (i.e. private individuals), or ads By Dealer (i.e. licensed corporate sellers).
The check boxes below this let you search for advertisements:
-- Whose titles contain your search terms (as opposed to their descriptions)
-- That have images associated with them
-- That were posted today
-- That are from sub-sites for cities and areas close to your current one
Below that, you can click in the boxes labelled "Min" and/or "Max" and type in a minimum and/or maximum price that you want to pay for an item. Then click Search at the bottom of the panel.
There may be more or different filtering options, depending on what kind of advertisements you're looking for. In any event, click Reset to remove all of your filters.
In the upper-left, you can click in the box with your search terms in it and type in new terms to do a new search (click the magnifying glass or press the "Enter" key to initiate it).
Below and to the left, you can click one of the buttons to view your results as a list, a list with thumbnail images, a gallery of photos, or a map showing where your results are located.
Below and to the right, you will see how many results you have, based on your current parameters (note that this doesn't include any results that Craigslist shows you from nearby areas, unless you have specifically asked to see them).
If you have a lot of results, click (from right-to-left) Next to view the next 100 results, click the total number to go to the last page of results, click Prev to view the previous 100 results, or click the double arrow to go back to the first page of results.
In the upper-right, click Save Search to save the current parameters of this search, so that you can re-run it quickly from your Craigslist account. Or, click Email Alert to save this search and receive email updates when new advertisements are posted that match your search criteria.
You can also click the buttons below these options to sort your results; options may differ depending on what category of advertisements you're searching for. For example, the "For Sale" category allows you to sort your results based on (from left to right):
-- How recently the advertisements were posted
-- How closely the advertisements match your search terms
-- The price of the items, from least expensive to most expensive
-- The price of the items, from most expensive to least expensive
If you're interested in a listing, click on its name (highlighted in blue). Click the star next to it to add or remove it to your "Favourites" list, which will allow you to keep an eye on it. This may be useful for referencing the seller's contact information quickly, or tracking an item that you may want to buy at some point (but not right now). Or, you can click the "X" in a listing to hide it if you don't want to see it.
Those are the ins and outs of searching on Craigslist!
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