Once you’ve been using Google Drive for a while, I bet everyone’s had that moment where you ask yourself, “Now, where did I save that file??

Or if you’re organised like me, you end up with folders within folders within folders, so your files end up nicely hidden away in a folder structure that makes sense, but then ends up taking you ages to get to them.

Well, there’s better way and to be honest only recently have I seen the light!  We’re using a Google product, so it makes sense that there’s a powerful search engine built right into Drive.  It’s the bar sitting at the top of the screen, with the words “Search Drive” in it.

Search Drive - 1

Start typing in the box and Google will automatically start finding matches.  This means you don’t have to type the whole word, in this case I wanted to find the “Getting started” pdf and just by typing in “getting” it found it.

Search Drive - 2

It also doesn’t have to be the first word, so if you can’t remember the filename exactly, just type in the words you can remember and it should find it.

As soon as you click in the empty box, Drive offers you options to filter your search.  For example, you may already know it’s a PDF you’re looking for, so click on “PDFs” so that all the results Drive finds will be PDFs.

Search Drive - 3

If you click on the little triangle to the side of the box, you will open further options to filter your results.  These are particularly useful if you have a lot of files and folders on your Drive or maybe you’re trying to find multiple files and folders, for example, all the ones belonging to a particular person, that could be in different places.

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Shared with” I’ve found useful if you want to make sure you’ve removed all sharing access to a particular person.

Clicking on “Type” opens up more options to filter your search by.

Search Drive - 5

Clicking on “Date Modified” will open up various time options and the option to enter a specific time period yourself (in “Customised”).

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Clicking on “Owner” gives you options of filtering by the owner of the files.

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Located in” is limited but you can search your “Starred” filter or your “Bin”.

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Within the search box you can also use the same search tricks that you can use in Google’s main search engine.  The ones below are ones Google recommend:

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.


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”

eBooks available on Drive, Forms, Sheets, Docs, Slides, Sheet Functions, and Apps Script:

Baz Roberts (Google+Flipboard / Twitter)