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Google Drive search methods

Having trouble finding things in your Google Drive?

Here are some tips to improve your Drive search results:

Filter your Drive search results

To find files more easily in Drive, you can narrow search results by filtering them.
  1. On your computer, go to
  2. At the top, type a word or phrase into the search box.
  3. To narrow your search, click the Down arrow Down Arrow.
  4. Fill out any of the following sections:
    • Type: File types such as documents, images, or PDFs.
    • Date modified: The date a file was last edited.
    • Item name: Searches only for the title of the file.
    • Has the words: Searches for words and phrases within documents.
    • Owner: The person the file belongs to.
    • Shared with: Who can view, comment, or edit the file.
    • Location: Whether the file is in a specific folder, "Trash," or "Starred."
    • Follow up: If the file has action items assigned to you, or suggestions in files you own.
  5. At the bottom, click Search.

If the built-in filters are insufficient then you could try some advanced tricks.

Advanced Drive search methods

You can refine a search in Drive with these advanced searches entered directly into search bar. 
Note: Not all examples work on all devices.


  • Find documents that contain an exact word or phrase.
  • Example: "match this phrase exactly"

Minus sign

  • Find documents that exclude a particular word. If you want "salsa," but not "dancing"...
  • Example: salsa -dancing



  • Find documents you shared with a specific person or a group.
  • Examples:


  • Find items marked with a star.


  • Find items that are trashed.


  • Search by the type of document: folder, document, spreadsheet, presentation, PDF, image, video, drawing, form, site, script, table, or jam file.
  • Example: type:spreadsheet

Before & after

  • Find items that were edited before or after a certain day. Format the date as YYYY-MM-DD.
  • Examples:
    • before:2014-05-01
    • after:2014-05-01


  • Search by title
  • Example: title:Conference 2014


  • Find Google Fusion Tables or Apps Script files. 
  • Examples:
    • app:"Google Apps Script"
    • app:"Google Fusion Tables"

Source:domain (Google for work or school)

  • Search for items that have been shared across your organization’s entire domain, instead of items created by you or your group. 
  • Example: To search for files related to domain, use source:domain

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