Search for your files

To search for a file in Google Drive or the Docs, Sheets, and Slides home screens, type a word or phrase into the search box at the top and press Enter.

Search in Google Drive

To narrow your search results in Drive:

  1. Go to
  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, etc.
    • Opens With: Drawings, Google Docs, etc.
    • Ownership: Whether the file belongs to you or someone else.
  4. Type a word or phrase and press Enter or click the Search button .
Advanced search options

You can refine your search in Drive using specific phrases or commands. To refine your search:

  1. Type a phrase.
  2. Add an option to narrow your search (see the chart below for examples).
  3. Press Enter.
Option Description
Quotes Documents that contain an exact phrase.
Example:"match this phrase exactly"
OR Documents with at least one of the words.
Example:tacos OR nachos
Minus sign Documents that exclude a word. So if you want “salsa,” but not “dancing,” use…
Example:salsa -dancing
Documents owned or shared by a specific person.
to: Documents you shared with someone.
is:starred Items marked with a star.
is:trashed Items that are trashed.
type: Search by the type of document: folder, document, spreadsheet, presentation, PDF, image, video, drawing, form, script, and table.
before:YYYY-MM-DD after:YYYY-MM-DD Find items that were edited before or after a certain day.
title: Search by title.
title:"Conference 2014"
app: Search for items that can be opened by a specific app.
app:"Google Docs"
(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.
Search images

Using Google Goggles and Optical Character Recognition, you can 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 the first 100 pages of any text documents or text-based PDFs that you've uploaded. You can also search for text found on the first 10 pages of any image PDFs.

Search in Docs, Sheets, and Slides

To find a file in Docs, Sheets, and Slides, type a word or phrase into the search box at the top and press Enter.

As you type in the search box, a list of files will show up below your search. When you press Enter, you’ll see files from the editor you’re using. For example, if you’re searching in Sheets, only Google Sheets results will show up.

Find other file formats

You can find other files, like .doc, .pdf, and .xls files, by using the file picker. The file picker lets you to browse your Google Drive files and open any file.

  1. Open Docs, Sheets, or Slides.
  2. In the top right, click the file picker icon .
  3. Search your files and folders until you find the file you’re looking for.
  4. Click Select. 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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