Master Google Drive Search

[update: 9/12/2015] – I’ve just saw that the Drive team did this:


These new improvements give you the ability to:

  • Narrow your search to a file type from the search box on Android, iOS, and the web.
  • Open advanced search instantly from the search box – See in the gif above.
  • Access recent files or search Drive from the home screen using 3D Touch on iOS.
  • Search Drive using the iOS search bar without opening the Drive app.

google drive logoWhen you searching for old documents in your Google Drive, there are a lot of options. The ‘recent’ option or the ‘starred’ one are giving a nice overview, but it’s not enough if you are working on a lot of documents, presentations and spreadsheets. Over the years, I found the most useful ones to be:

  • type: spreadsheet
  • type: presentation
  • from: an email
  • to: an email
  • after: YYYY-MM-DD

Here is the full list:

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: Items marked with a star.
is: starred
is: Items that are trashed.
is: trashed
type: Search by the type of document: folder, document, spreadsheet, presentation, PDF, image, video, drawing, form, script, and table.
type: spreadsheet
Find items that were edited before or after a certain day. This is the format: YYYY-MM-DD
before: 2014-05-01 
after: 2014-05-01
title: Search by title.
title: “Conference 2014”
app: Search for items that can be opened by a specific app.
app: “Google Docs”
source: Search for items that have been shared publicly to the user’s domain, instead of the user’s default set of searchable items.
source: domain It’s for Google Apps users only

Happy hunting.


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