Google Docs: Search and navigate the Documents List

There are different ways to find your files and Google Docs in your Documents List.

The search box: Type your search terms

Enter your terms in the search box at the top of your Documents List, and click the Search button to search across all of your files, collections, and Google Docs.

The drop-down arrow in the search box lets you narrow your search. Here are some of the ways that you can focus your search:

Preview an item

If you’d like to see more details about each of your documents for advanced file management, select an item in your Documents List. Then, click the Eye icon above your list of items. In the preview pane, you can find the following information:

To close the preview, click the X in the upper right of the pane or click the Eye icon again.

Search operators: Search by specific characteristics

Use search operators to find exactly what you're looking for.




“ ” Quotes

To find documents that contain that exact phrase.

“match this phrase exactly”


To find documents with at least one of the words.

tacos OR nachos

- Hyphen

Documents that don’t have a particular word. So if you want docs that mention salsa, but not dancing use...

salsa -dancing


Documents shared from someone


Documents shared to someone


Items that you have marked with a star.


is:hidden or is:archived

Items that you have hidden from the main Documents List by deselecting the Show in Home option.



Search by the type of document. This covers: document, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, image, video, image_or_video, pdf, and textdoc.


before:YYYY-MM-DD after:YYYY-MM-DD

Find items that were edited before or after a certain day.



Search according to who owns the item. Searching by owner works best with owner:email address.


Search by the item’s title

title:"Conference 2010"

Left-hand navigation pane

The links in the navigation pane can help you find your documents easily.

Sort items in your Documents List

As your Documents List grows, it can become difficult to keep track of your documents and files. To solve this problem, your Documents List has several ways to sort your items.

You'll find the following options under the Sort menu.

Sorting options

Storage used

If you're approaching your storage limit, you can sort your Documents List by storage used to see what's taking up the most space. Only items that you upload to Google Docs will count against your storage limit. Items shared with you and items created within Google Docs (like a Google document or spreadsheet) don't take up any of your storage space. These items that don't count toward your storage will show as "---" in your Documents List. To free up storage, you can delete files or individual versions of a file by moving them to the Trash.


This option sorts items in your Documents List by title in alphabetical order.

Last modified

This option sorts items in order of when they were last modified by a collaborator, and is particularly helpful to find items that you've recently edited or modified.

Last opened by me

This option sorts items based on the order in which you've last opened an item or document, which is useful when you accidentally close a tab in your browser or didn't bookmark your item.


The priority sort option uses several factors to automatically determine the priority of items in your Documents List. These factors included when an item was last viewed or modified.