Search for your files

You can search for, sort, and filter in Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides to find the file you’re looking for.

To search for a file:


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.

  1. Open the Drive, Docs, Sheets, or Slides app.
  2. At the top, touch the magnifying glass .
  3. Type what you’re looking for and then touch Go on your keyboard.

You can find a file by:

  • File title
  • File contents
  • Names of items featured in pictures, .pdf files, or other files stored on your Drive
  1. Open the Drive, Docs, Sheets, or Slides app.
  2. Type what you’re looking for in the search box at the top and then touch Enter on your keyboard.

You can find a file by:

  • File title
  • File contents
  • Names of items featured in pictures, .pdf files, or other files stored on your Drive

Filter your Drive results

If you want to make it easier to find a file in Drive, you can narrow your search results by filtering them.


To narrow your search results in Drive:

  1. Go to
  2. Go to the search box at the top and type a word or phrase.
  3. If you want to narrow your search, click the drop-down menu arrow and choose from these options:
    • File type: Documents, images, PDFs, etc.
    • Opens With: Drawings, Google Docs, etc.
    • Ownership: Whether the file belongs to you or someone else.
  4. Press Enter or click the Search button .
Android or iOS
  1. Open the Drive app.
  2. In the top right, touch the More icon .
  3. Select Filter by and choose the file type you’d like to see with the filter (for example, presentations or folders).
  4. To undo filtering, touch the navigation panel on left-hand side and select one of the Drive views like “Starred”.

Filtering will display results from your entire Drive. For example, even if you were in the Starred section before selecting a filter, the list of displayed search results will include unstarred items.

More search options

Advanced search in Drive

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 Drive using Google Now

If you have the Drive app and Google Now on your Android phone or tablet, you can search for files in Drive straight from Google Now.

  1. Open Google Now.
  2. Touch the search box at the top if you want to type your search or the microphone icon next to the box if you want to use your voice to search.
  3. Type or speak the words "Search Drive for" followed by the phrase you want to search for in Drive.
  4. The Drive app will open and search for the phrase you requested.

After making a search, touching the back arrow in the Drive app will bring you to your full file list in "My Drive".

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.

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

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