Search and find a file in Google Drive

If you can't find files in Google Drive, you can use search chips or conventional search to find files. You can also sort and filter search results.

If you think that someone accessed your Google Drive without your permission, we recommend that you take steps to make your account more secure.

If someone else created the file, they can delete, rename and restore it. Contact the person who created the file and ask them to restore it or share it with you again.

Use search chips

To narrow down the list of files in Drive, you can use search chips. You can search and filter:

  • Type
  • People
  • Modified

These chips appear below the search bar and search all files, folders and subfolders within that view, like My Drive, Recent or Bin.

  • To remove a search chip: On the right of the chip, click .
  • To remove all search chips: At the end of the chips, click Clear filters.

Search for your files

To search for your files:

  1. On your computer, go to drive.google.com.
  2. At the top, enter a word or phrase into the search box.
  3. On your keyboard, press Enter.

Using the search field with search operators in Google Drive.

Drive search categories

In Drive, you can search by:

  • File title
  • File contents
  • File type
  • Other metadata, like:
    • Description field
    • Shared labels
    • File location
    • Owner
    • Creator
    • Last modified date
    • Approvals
    • Follow-ups
    • Items or words featured in pictures, PDF files or other files that are stored on your Drive

Filter your Drive results

To find files more easily in Drive, you can narrow down search results by filtering them.

Filter using chips:

  1. On your computer, go to drive.google.com.
  2. At the top, type a word or phrase into the search box.
  3. Press Enter.
  4. To narrow your search, use the filter chips below the search box to filter on these criteria:
    • Location: Searches in a specific folder, for example: 'My Drive', 'Bin' or 'Starred'.
    • Type: File types such as documents, images or PDFs.
    • People: Searches for people associated with the file (all, owned or shared by.)
    • Modified: The date on which a file was last edited.
    • Title only: Searches only for the title or name of a file.
    • Labels: Searches for labels applied to your file.
    • To do: Items that may require your attention, including approvals, follow-ups and ownership transfers.
  5. To remove a search chip: On the right of the chip, click .
  6. To remove all search chips: At the end of the chips, click Clear filters.

Filter using search options:

  1. On your computer, go to drive.google.com.
  2. At the top, type a word or phrase into the search box.
  3. Press Enter.
  4. To narrow your search, click search options .
  5. Fill in any of the following sections:
    • Type: File types such as documents, images or PDFs.
    • Owner: Searches for the owner or creator of a file.
    • Has the words: Searches for words and phrases within docs.
    • Item name: Searches only for the title or name of a file.
    • Location: Searches in a specific folder, for example: 'Bin', 'Starred' or 'Encrypted'.
    • Date modified: The date on which a file was last edited.
    • Labels: Searches for labels applied to your file.
    • Approvals: A status, whether a file awaits your approval or another person's approval.
    • Shared to: Who you have shared the file with.
    • Follow-ups: A status, whether a file has action items assigned to you or if there are suggestions in files that you own.
  6. At the bottom, click Search.
Tip: To sort by relevance after you click 'Search', click More sorting options More.

Use advanced search

Tip: Not all examples work on all devices.

Advance search type

Definition

Example

Quotes

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

owner

Find documents owned by a specific person.

Example:

owner:bob@gmail.com

pendingowner

Find files of which you're a pending owner.

Important: You can only search for files of which you're the pending owner of.

Example:

pendingowner:me

creator

Find documents in shared drives created by a specific person.

Example:

creator:jane@yourdomain.com

to

Find documents that you shared with a specific person or group, or documents shared with you.

Examples:

  • to:me
  • to:bob@gmail.com
  • to:bobsgroup@googlegroups.com

from

Find documents that a specific person shared with you or you shared

Examples:

  • from:me
  • from:bob@gmail.com

app

Search by app name. This includes any app connected to your Google Drive account

Examples:

  • app:'Google Apps Script'
  • app:'Google Jamboard'
  • app:'Google Meet'

sharedwith

Find documents that a specific Workspace account or group has access to. Exclude files that the account owns. 

Examples:

  • sharedwith:me
  • sharedwith:bob@gmail.com

  • sharedwith:external

    • External includes groups where one or more members aren't part of your Google Workspace organisation

  • sharedwith:public

is:starred

Find items that you have starred.

is:starred

is:binned

Find items moved to bin.

is:binned

type

Search by document type: 

  • Folder

  • Document

  • Spreadsheet

  • Presentation

  • PDF

  • Image

  • Video

  • Drawing

  • Form

  • Site

  • Script

  • Table

  • Email layout

  • Jam file

Examples:

  • type:document
  • type:forms
  • type:spreadsheet
  • type:email-layout

before and after

Find items modified before or after a certain date. Format the date as YYYY-MM-DD.

Examples:

  • before:2021-05-02
  • after:2021-05-01

createdbefore and createdafter

Find items created before or after a certain date. Format the date as YYYY-MM-DD.

Examples:

  • createdbefore:2022-05-02

  • createdafter:2022-05-01

title

Search for items by title.

Example:

title:Conference 2021

followup

Find files that have any action items or suggestions assigned to you.

Examples:

  • followup:any
  • followup:suggestions
  • followup:actionitems

unorganised

Find a file that you created in someone else's folder if they delete that folder. Your file isn't deleted. It's automatically moved to your My Drive.

Important: Only you can delete the files that you own.

Example:

is:unorganised owner:me

Find files by size

To find files by size:

  1. On your computer, go to drive.google.com.
  2. On the left, click Storage.
  3. To sort by file size: on the right, click Storage used.
  4. To reverse the sort order: on the right, click Storage used.

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