How to find files easier in Google Drive

Google Drive Icon
Google Drive Icon (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

In March of 2021, Google updated the search box in Google Drive to change some operators you can use to search for files. If you're using your Chromebook, Android phone, or desktop, these will make finding files easier since you'll be able to filter the people involved with the files themselves. You can use these search terms to filter out to whom a file has been shared, who owns it, who you got it from, and who you sent it to.

How to use operators to find files easier in Drive

To use the operators, enter them in the Search box at the top of Google drive, as demonstrated below.

Google To From Sharedby

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

Some of these operators existed before, but their function has slightly changed. The changes to the operators are as follows:

  • "from:" will now return files shared with you by the specified email address. Previously, it would have returned files owned by that email address.
  • "to:" will now return files you have shared with the specified email address. Previously, it would have returned all files that the email address had permissions to view, comment, or edit.
  • "shared with:" is a new search operator which will return files that the specified email address owns or has permission to view, comment, or edit.
  • "owner:" returns files owned by the specified email address. There is no change to this operator, but you can use it to return the results you previously used the "from:" operator.

The changes are minor, but could make finding files significantly easier. According to Google, the intention here is to make the operators behave more consistently with user expectations. All end-users should have these changes in effect right now; there's no need for anyone to do anything. They switched them on the server-side.

Adam has been writing and podcasting the mobile tech space for almost a decade. When he's not writing, he hosts the Benefit of the Doud podcast, spends way too much time on Twitter, and redesigns his office space over and over.