Sunday, July 26, 2015

Google Drive Search Tips

If you are like me, you have quite a few files in your Google Drive.  Eventually, it can become challenging to quickly find files you need.  I've got folders, and I've got color coding, all that is wonderful, but sometimes I need a file quickly and I just don't remember where I stored it.  If you'd like to learn how to create folders and use color coding in your Google Drive, see my post about Google Drive Organization Tips.

The little search bar in your Google Drive can be pretty awesome when you know how to harness its power.  You can just type in a word and hit search, and most times you will find what you are looking for, but I want to share some tips to help you search more effectively.

The first tip is to use the drop down menu.  Many people don't even know it is there.  Type in what you are looking for and then click the little arrow at the very right side of the search bar.

*Update: There are now even more options in this drop down menu!  Try it on your Google Drive to see all the new additions.  This post will be updated in the near future to reflect the changes.

You then have three search options - File type, Opens with, and Ownership.  You don't have to use all three, but you can if you need to.  When you click on the "File type" drop down, it will give you several options for what type of file you are searching for.

When you choose the "Opens with" drop down, it gives you options depending on what apps you have installed in your Chrome browser.  Yours will be different than mine, but all the basic Google Apps will be there.

When you choose the "Ownership" drop down, you get three choices.  Owned by anyone means you don't care who created the document.  Owned by me means you created the document.  Not owned by me means you did not create the document.  This last option is helpful if you are searching for something you know you didn't create. 

Once you make your choices, you can click the blue magnifying glass button to start the search.  Let's say I wanted to search for a document, that opens in Google Sheets, that is owned by me.  This is what it would look like:

Once I click the blue button, I'll have my results!

You might notice that as you choose from the drop down menus, it changes the text in your search bar.  This is because you can also tell Drive what you are looking for by using specific typed commands.  Here are some of the advanced search options you might find helpful:

Put quotes around something to search for that exact phrase.
“right angles”
You can use the word OR to find a document that has at least one of those words. This is helpful if you can’t remember the exact verbiage you used in your file.
drawing OR illustration
Minus sign
If you want a file that has a certain word but not another word.
geometry -triangle
You can use this to specify the owner of a document.
You can use this to specify who shared a document with you.
You can use this to specify who you shared an item with.
You can use this to specify the type of file you are searching for: document, folder, spreadsheet, presentation, PDF, image, video, drawing, form, script, or table.
You can use these to specify a date range. You can use them together, or individually (use the date format yyyy/mm/dd).
You can use this if you know the exact title.  Use it in combination with quotes if your title is more than one word.
title:“Right Angles”
You can use this if you are searching for an item that can be opened by a specific app.  Use it in combination with quotes if your app is more than one word.
app:“Google Docs”
All of this information came from the Google Support site.  You can see the page I used by clicking here.

I know these search options have been extremely helpful to me when I need to find a file quickly, especially if I'm not exactly sure where I stored it in my Drive.  I hope you find them just as helpful.

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