Tricks to Find People on Facebook

by David Nield

Facebook was built to bring people together, and the site includes some useful tools for finding friends, relatives and long-lost work colleagues. While the sheer number of people on the social network can make it difficult to track down friend -- particularly if they have common names -- with some detective work you should be able to find who you're looking for.

Search for Names

At the top of every Facebook page is a search box where you can type the name of the person you're looking for. Facebook displays the most likely hits first, including those with mutual friends and those close to your location. Click the "See more results" link at the bottom of the list to browse through more matches. Click the "People" link and you can add location, education and workplace filters to the search.

Search for Mutual Friends

If for whatever reason your friend isn't appearing in the search results (perhaps they are using a slightly different spelling for their name), try searching for someone you know to be good friends with them. Then follow the Friends link from that person's timeline and browse through the list of people or use the integrated search box.

Add Extra Information

When looking for contacts using the search box, add extra keywords to narrow down your search instantly. You can add a location to look for people who live, used to live or studied in that area, for example. Places of work can also be added to the search query to quickly filter through the list of potential matches.

Search Outside Facebook

You don't have to search within Facebook to find people on the social network. Use the search engine of your choice to look for someone, entering their name and perhaps some personal details as well as "Facebook" as a keyword. If the person you're looking for has set certain sections of their profile as public, this can help narrow down your search.

Use the Find Friends Feature

The Find Friends feature built into Facebook scans through your contacts on other services -- such as Skype or Gmail -- and matches up people you know based on this information. For example, if someone you know has logged an email address on their Facebook profile that matches an address in your Gmail contacts, the Find Friends tool will bring this to light and enable you to connect on Facebook. To use the app, type "Find Friends" into the Facebook search box and select the top result.

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About the Author

An information technology journalist since 2002, David Nield writes about the Web, technology, hardware and software. He is an experienced editor, proofreader and copywriter for online publications such as CNET, TechRadar and Gizmodo. Nield holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and lives in Manchester, England.

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