Using Bing Search Preferences, Helpful Search Tips

by Mike McEvoy on August 13, 2009

Bing Search Preferences

Microsoft Bing, a solid tool for searching the web, has experienced growth in use and popularity since its introduction in June. To help users be more productive and efficient in their searches Bing provides user customizable Bing Search Preferences as an easy way to do basic personalization of how your search engine results are displayed. By using Bing search preferences you can customize settings such as the display language, default geographic location, number of search results to display per page, toggle search suggestions on or off and other items.

Many of the Bing search preferences settings are similar to the Google preferences that were described in our earlier post, Google Search Preferences. To access the Bing search preferences click on the Extras link in the top right-hand corner. A drop down list will appear where you can click on the Preferences link that will lead to a page that is divided into two sections General Settings and Web Settings.

General Settings – Bing Search Preferences

1.    Safe Search: there are three levels for filtering web content and potentially blocking or allowing sexually explicit content. The three settings available are: No filtering of sexually explicit content; Moderate filtering (sexually explicit images and videos); and Strict filtering (sexually explicit text, images and videos). Each is followed by an explanation of what is filtered. You can also report offensive links that the filters might miss by clicking on the “filtering offensive sites” link below the buttons. Bing search preferences for Safe Search are shown below.

Bing Search Preferences - Safe Search

Bing Search Preferences - Safe Search

2.    Location: by entering a city and state or a Zip Code you can help Bing present results that are the most relevant for searches related to geography. Geographically related search examples might be shopping, maps, or other results where the physical location is important. You can also leave this blank if you prefer no geographic affiliation. Bing search preferences for Location are shown below.

Bing Search Preferences - Location

Bing Search Preferences - Location

3.    Display: this option allows you to choose a specific language for the display and layout in Bing. Changing this option does not affect the language of the actual search results. Click the drop down arrow to select a different language Bing search preferences for Display are shown below.

Bing Search Preferences - Display Language

Bing Search Preferences - Display Language

Web Settings – Bing Search Preferences

4.    Results: This option can be quite useful in boosting search productivity as it directly controls how your results are displayed. The drop down arrow next to show allows you to select how many search results are displayed on each search results pages. The default is ten results (or links) per results page with the options available ranging from 10 to 50 results per page.

The check box allows you to tell Bing whether to open new page or to use your current page when you click on a link in the search results. By checking this box when you click on a link in the search results that Bing has displayed Bing will keep your current search page open and open the link you clicked on in a new page or tab. If you leave this unchecked Bing will replace the search results page with the page from the link you clicked on. I suggest that you check this box. Bing search preferences for Results are shown below.

Bing Search Preferences - Results Options

Bing Search Preferences - Results Options

5.    Search suggestions: This option allows Bing to display suggestion as you enter text into the search box. With this search preference checked Bing will offer possible suggestions to complete the word or phrase as you type. This can be a big help in decreasing the amount of typing you need to do as Bing completes the word or phrase for you. It can also be very helpful if you are not sure of the correct spelling of a word or phrase as Bing will offer suggestions with the correct spelling. The only real downside of turning Search Suggestions on is that it can sometimes be distracting. Bing search preferences for Search Suggestions are shown below.

Bing Search Preferences - Search Suggestions

Bing Search Preferences - Search Suggestions

6.    Search Language: this option allows you to limit your searches to content written in a specific language. In setting a language it is generally best to search in any language and only select a specific language if you are looking for content only in that specific language. The image below is only a partial view of the languages available. An example of some of the languages available in Bing search preferences are shown below.

Bing Search Preferences - Search Language

Bing Search Preferences - Search Language

Important: Remember to click on the “Save Settings” button


at the bottom of the screen to save your new settings or they will not be saved.

Customizing search preferences can be a real productivity booster regardless of the search engine you are using. The preferences are easy to modify and can be fine tuned to meet your needs. Be sure to also check our other posts on Google Search Preferences and Microsoft Bing – Eight Things to Like about Bing.  Do you have any other search engine tips or tricks for making web searching more efficient? Leave a comment and let me know.



JohnL August 31, 2009 at 12:33 pm

This article was very helpful. I find I’m using Bing a little more each day but wasn’t aware of the being able to set the Search Prferences until I read this. Very useful and very clear. Thanks for the info; great post.

Sherry February 5, 2010 at 2:23 pm

This is all good, except, after you exit your browser, then open again, nothing is saved, it all goes back to default, How do I get it to save and stay saved?

Norman May 2, 2010 at 6:44 pm

When I set prefferences I EXPECT them to be REMEMBERED. I am sick & tired of trying to keep suggested sites turned off. I don’t need anyone suggesting what sites I should be looking at. It is causing me so much hassel that I considering switching to Firefox/Google or any other browser/search engine that allows me to set my prefferences & remember them.

By all means set safe/standard defaults for those that are happy to be helped in this way but allow those who know what they are doing have the freedom to choose.

Mike McEvoy May 2, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Hi @Norman, Thanks for stopping by the Tech Tips blog. What you are running into I believe is that fact that many search engines store their settings as a cookie and not in any type of a configuration file. So if you dump your browser cookies after each browsing session you will need to reset your search engine setting during your next browsing session.

However, most browsers do allow you to save certain cookies for certain web sites even if you clear out all your other cookies. For instance with Internet Explorer 8 if select Delete Browsing History, on the next screen you can also select the check box to Preserve Favorite Website Data. Check that out and see if it resolves your problem.

One caveat: if you are searching in InPrivate mode no cookies will be saved regardless of the History settings.

Don’t hold me to this as etched in stone. Microsoft, Firefox, Google and the other browser creators continue to evolve their products. But as of this point in time and to the best of my knowledge the settings are saved as cookies. Let me know if this solves your issue.

Bruce June 6, 2010 at 5:23 am

Hello Mike!

Hey, that suggestion of yours WORKED! However, I did need to go back and add BING as one of ‘Favorites’. Previously, I had it set as my ‘Home Page’ and that didn’t work. Sooooo… Just set Bing as a favorite and then set and save your preferences and they will be preserved!


Rob Adams August 17, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Hello Mike,

I’m having a problem with Bing’s preferences. My image search is just an endless scroll of images which takes considerable time to download. I thought by setting my results default to 10 that it would solve the problem but it doesn’t seem to make any difference. Can you tell me why this might be the case? Am I missing something perhaps?


Mike McEvoy August 17, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Hi Rob, Thanks for stopping by. I don’t think you are missing anything. It appears that setting the number of search results in Preferences only effects the display of Web searches. I got the same results you did in with Images Searches. I also received a large number of results with Video Searches and the Preferences setting had no impact on Video searching either.

Not sure why MS would not have made this setting more universal across all type of searches. One partial workaround for Images would be to select the smallest image size — the square with 9 little squares inside – and that may shorten the download time. Thanks for raising this point. Wishi I had a better answer. I learn something new every day. I’ll have to update the blog post.

Lisa November 21, 2010 at 8:21 am

I use bingmaps almost every day as I travel for work. I am frustrated with one little thing that is driving me nuts… At some point in time I set two addresses in the search drop-down boxes – one for HOME and one for OTHER… I’ve now moved and my office has also moved and I really want to CHANGE the addresses labeled HOME and OTHER in the drop down boxes when searching directions…

HOW DO I DO THIS? I’ve spent way too much time trying to refigure this…

Mike McEvoy November 23, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Hi Lisa,
Thanks for stopping by. There is a way to clear the addresses in the HOME and OTHER drop down boxes. Part way down the column on the right hand side, below the “Get Directions” and “Clear” buttons there is a link labeled “Setting”.

If you click on that link you will see a checkbox titled “Save your destination history” By unchecking this box you will clear the entries in the two drop down boxes. Try it and let me know if that works for you.

Jeffrey L. Culbert May 6, 2011 at 4:44 am

Perhaps someone can help me with my little problem…. I live 30 miles south of Tulsa, OK and set my Bing preferences to Tulsa. However, Bing keeps changing my city preference to Forth Worth, TX. Every time I log on, I have to go in and change my “saved” settings. I can understand maybe the safe search always resetting to moderate, but not the city where I live. Any suggestions ????? Thanks

James Creed August 4, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Hey Mike,
I’m having trouble with my safe search preferances.
I’m trying to change them to where i can set them to Moderate or Strict, permanately. Is there a way i can do this?
Please respond

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