Search Files / Folders in Google Drive

Google Drive has made life alot easier for a multitude of computer users.

Whether you want to ‘share’ some data with your friend by transferring it to the cloud and then allowing them access it or you just want to save your data in the cloud just to be safe against your laptop’s hard drive dying all of a sudden, Google Drive offers a safe and totally reliable solution. Same goes for a business executive who must stay in touch with his organization’s working even if he’s 35,000 feet up in the air or if somebody is just another office employee who desperately needs to collaborate with various colleagues simultaneously on an important document and get it done within a very tight timeframe, Google Drive will cater to all of them.


Being extremely fond of using Google Drive and using it on a regular basis means you will quickly accumulate tons of data in no time. Searching for a particular file / folder in such a scenario can be particularly tedious unless you’ve divided your data across several categories and properly fine tune it.

There are two ways you can search the files in your Google Drive storage.

  1. Using the synced folder
  2. On the cloud account


Using the Synced Folder

If your computer is synced with your Google Drive account, searching for a file or a folder becomes a lot easier. However, you should know that this method will only compare the file names and not other file attributes (such as content in it, owner etc) since Google Documents are essentially stored on the cloud, while only a shortcut is placed on the synced folder in your computer.

Using the Cloud

Google provides a very well abled searching facility within the web interface of Google Drive. Just click on the Search Drive area and it will reveal plenty of options to help you with your task.

Google Drive offers a variety of methods to search with
Google Drive offers a variety of methods to search with

The filters offered by Google Drive can be classified into 2 categories, namely Basic Filters and Advanced Filters.

Basic Filters

Simply click on the Search Drive area and then select the More search tools option from the bottom of the menu that opened.

  1. Type
    You can simply select the file type you want to filter out. There are several file types to choose from. And if you want to search for all file types, select the Any option.

    Select your desired file type or the Any option
  2. Date modified
    You can filter the files and folders by the last date on which they were modified. There are several further options to choose from to narrow down the target search date.

    Options for the Date modified feature
    Options for the Date modified feature

    And you can even specify a custom date range. Just click the Custom option from the Date modified drop down menu and then select the start and end dates for the scan to be targeted at.

    Custom feature of the Date modified option
    Custom feature of the Date modified option
  3. Item name
    You can mention the name or even a part of the name of the files / folders you’re looking for. Please note that, this option only looks for the file name, but not the contents.
  4. Has the words
    This will search the specified word or the phrases by checking out the content of the data present in your Google Drive.
  5. Owner
    You can specify an owner of the file/folder that you’re looking for.

    Options for the Owner feature
    Options for the Owner feature

    If you want to mention a particular owner, you can use the Specific person option and mention that person’s name or email address.

    Specify the person's name or email address
    Specify the person’s name or email address


  6. Shared with
    You can specify an owner of the file/folder that you’re looking for.
  7. Located in
    You can mention the location the scan should search look in, while choosing between Starred and Trash items.
  8. Follow up
    If you wish to filter only the suggestions, or action items if there are any assigned to you, you can specify them here.These are the basic search filters to search the files and folders in your Google Drive. But just like in Google Search, there are some special ways as well that enable you to filter out the entries.Note: Not all of the following examples will work on all the devices.

Advanced Filters

    You can mention a word or a phrase within double quotation marks to filter the documents with exact matches.
    “error 0x45265233” : file not found (this will search for the documents which contain the error 0x45265233 either in their title or the content).
  2. OR
    You can use OR to match one of the mentioned phrases.
    Winamp OR VLC (this will search the documents which contain the word Winamp or VLC in their filename or the content they contain).
  3. – (Minus Sign)
    You can use the minus sign (-) to denote that the word mentioned after the minus sign would be excluded from the search criteria.
    best bluetooth speakers -buy (this will only look for the documents which contain the phrase best bluetooth speakers only, and ignore any results that contain the word buy as well).
  4. App
    This option helps search for documents which can be opened only by a specified app.
    app:”Google Docs” will look for the documents which can be opened by Google Docs only).
  5. Source:domain
    This option is used to search the documents which are shared across an organization’s domain, rather than your personal connections.
    Example (this will look for the files/folders which are shared across