Modified 08 November 2019 by Ian Weatherhogg


These advanced search tips will help you get the most out of the search box at the top of Google Drive

Google Drive enables the storage and sharing of files within traditional folder hierarchies and the ability to locate folders and files via traditional navigation methods (e.g. clicking down through a folder hierarchy).

However it is often quicker to use the tremendous search facilities baked into Google Drive. Simple one or two keyword searches often surface the most relevant files immediately.

Advanced search operators can be utilized when the search needs to be narrowed by more specific criteria (e.g. when there are a lot of files likely to be returned by a simple keyword search).

Narrowing your search and/or typing in boolean search operators can help you more efficiently find your files & folders.

To narrow your search results click on the down arrow to the right of the search box to open a dropdown that will allow you to narrow your search by File type, Opens with and Ownership.

You can also optionally check the Search domain name box to widen your search to all items shared to you even if not added to your My Drive.

To include search operators and build a more advanced search, take a look at the table below.

Advanced search options:





"search term "

Exact words within the quote marks

"marketing project" Document name or contents include the exact term marketing project


Files that include at least one of the words

project OR marketing Document name or contents include one of project or marketing


Files that include both of the words

project AND marketing Document name or contents include both project and marketing


Does not include, can be used in front of any operator to search for the negative ie is not a folder would be -type:folder

-sales -type:folder Document name or contents do not include the term sales and search will ignore folders


Files shared by a person

from:[email protected] Files shared by [email protected]


Files shared with a person

to:[email protected] Files shared with [email protected]


Files owned by a person

owner:[email protected] Files owned by [email protected]


Items marked with a star

is:starred Files that have been starred.


Search for document types - document, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, image, video, pdf

type:pdf Finds all pdf files

before:YYYY-MM-DD after:YYYY-MM-DD

Files modified before and/or after the entered date - ie search between a set of dates

before:2012-10-12 after:2012-10-08 Files modified between the 8th and 12th October 2012


Search by title of the file or document (combine with " " to perform exact title search)

title:"google apps tips" Files with the title including the exact phrase google apps tips