Search for your files

You can search for a specific file or folder in Google Drive or the Docs, Sheets, and Slides home screens by typing a word or phrase into the search box at the top of the file list and pressing Enter.

Search in Google Drive

Narrow your search results in Drive by following the steps below:

  1. Open Google Drive at
  2. Go to the search box at the top and click the drop-down menu arrow.
  3. Choose how you want to narrow your search:
    • File type: Documents, images, PDFs, for example
    • Opens With (in the new Drive. The red button at the top left says "New"): Drawings, Google Docs, for example
    • Ownership: Whether the file belongs to you or someone else
    • Visibility (in classic Drive. The red button at the top left says "Create"): Whether the file is public or private
  4. Type a word or phrase and either press Enter on your keyboard or click the Search button .
Advanced search options

You can refine your search in Drive using specific phrases or commands. Follow the steps below to refine your search:

  1. Type the phrase that will be helpful in narrowing your search. See the tables below for some examples.
  2. Enter your search after adding the phrase and press Enter on your keyboard.
Option Definition Example
" " Quotes To find documents that contain that exact phrase. "match this phrase exactly"
OR To find documents with at least one of the words. tacos OR nachos
- Minus sign Documents that exclude a particular word. So if you want docs that mention “salsa,” but not “dancing,” use... salsa -dancing
Documents owned or shared from a specific person
to: Documents you shared with someone
is:starred Items that you have marked with a star. is:starred
(in the new Google Drive)
Items that are trashed. is:trashed
type: Search by the type of document. This covers: folder, document, spreadsheet, presentation, pdf, image, video, drawing, form, script, and table. type:spreadsheet
before:YYYY-MM-DD after:YYYY-MM-DD Find items that were edited before or after a certain day. before:2014-05-01
title: Search by the item’s title. title:"Conference 2014"
(in the new Google Drive)
Search for items that can be opened by a specific app. app:"Google Docs"
(in the new Google Drive)
(For Google Apps users only) Search for items that have been shared publicly to the user's domain, instead of the user's default set of searchable items. source:domain
Search images

Using Google Goggles and Optical Character Recognition technology, you can also search for images by describing or naming what's in them. For example, searching for "Mount Everest" will show all your photos of Mount Everest and any documents that contain text about Mount Everest. If you narrow your search to "Mount Everest Nepal," you'll only see images taken from the Nepal side of Mount Everest.

Search for text in your PDF and image files

You can search for text in PDF and image files.

You'll be able to search the first 100 pages of any text documents or text-based PDFs that you've uploaded. You'll also be able to search for text found on the first ten pages of any image PDFs on your Drive.

  1. Right-click a file. You can also single-click the file and click the Menu button
  2. Click Open with.
  3. Choose an app.
    • Typing your search in the search box in Drive
    • Typing your search directly into the search box in the top-right corner within the file

Read more on searching for your files.

Search in the Docs, Sheets, and Slides home screens

To find the right file quickly in the new Docs, Sheets, and Slides home screens, you can search directly in the search box at the top of the page.

As you type in the search box, you’ll see relevant results from across all of your files show up below your search. When you press Enter, the results that appear on the page will show files only from the specific home screen you’re using. For example, if you search and press Enter in Sheets, only Google Sheets results will show up in your home screen.

Find other file formats

You can quickly find your other files, for example your .doc, .pdf, and .xls files, from the home screens by using the file picker. The file picker allows you to browse your Google Drive files and folders and open up any file you're looking for.

  1. Go to any of the Docs, Sheets, or Slides home screens.
  2. Click the File picker icon in the top right.
  3. Search within your files and folders until you find the file you’re looking for.
  4. Click Select and the file will open in a new tab.

Matt is a Docs & Drive expert and author of this help page. Leave him feedback below about the page.

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