Google Drive Search Tips

Is anyone good at searching and finding things in their Google Drive? I feel like I’m particularly awful at it and hoping it’s not just me. A flaw I seem to run into all the time is finding things when you can’t remember the actual title of the doc.

For example, this morning I’m searching for a letter of recommendation I wrote for someone a while ago because they asked for another copy. I KNOW that the file is in my drive, buried somewhere, but I have tried a million and one search attempts and it’s nowhere to be found.

It would be great if there were a way to say “show me all my documents created in January, 2016,” or something like that.

If you click on the down arrow in the search box, you can set up a search with narrower criteria.

:astonished: I’m going to go ahead and pretend I already knew that was there and have been using it all along… smh.

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No matter how badly this week goes elsewhere, because of this one thing I’m still going to end up with a positive score.<img src=>

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To make this easier for me, I’ve set up My Drive with folders with names that makes sense to me. Then whenever I receive a document I want to see later I save it right away to My Drive. If I’m in a disciplined state, I’ll click on “Organize” and move it to one of my folders. Over time, I’ve had to create more folders and subfolders but you can easily do that as you are in the process of saving a document. All this makes it much easier for me to find most of my files. Then I have another organizing tool beyond that, but I won’t go into that right now–it’s kind of a Google Drive geek thing.

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This is a great point. I have about 20% of the Google Docs in folders and it helps a lot with those highly frequented files.

On a related note, we’re testing Google Team Drive…

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I made this for my team, because lots of people come to me asking for help finding things in their drives.

Google Drive: The Junk Drawer of the Internet

Now, if only we had time to sit down and clean our Drives together…


Would it be okay if I took that presentation and created a Tech Tips article around it? I’d give you total credit for your creation, of course. I think it would help a lot of staff and the Tech Tips blog would get it more attention in a permanent place.

Sure thing! As far as credit, I lifted a lot of it from the links cited on the last slide. Not sure if they should be cited more thoroughly throughout the presentation before its distributed more widely.

Also, there’s a quote on the 5th slide that I found both amusing and extremely helpful, but may not be appropriate for official distribution.

Thanks! Ah, yes, I saw the links but didn’t click on them. I checked them now, and yes, we’d have to have more of our own content before posting this to our blog. I like the idea of having an article like this, though.

The quote on the 5th slide wouldn’t have been a problem. :slight_smile:

It’s not something I have much time for, but if you know anyone who would be interested in taking it and creating some original content around it, they have my blessing.

Alternately, if there’s summer funding for tech tips, I’d be happy to take it on :slight_smile:

I totally understand, and hope I didn’t sound like I was asking you to pick it up.

I’ll stick it in my “tech tips ideas” folder for the moment.

I am a huge user of folders. I find managing folders to be a much easier task than individual documents. Especially once things begin to be shared.

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In general, keywords and sorting dates work fairly quickly for me. Having a folder system is also important. However, most of all, this is my best friend that pairs well with the folder system:
Google Drive: Shift+Z to add documents to multiple folders

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Not at all!

I noticed Paul doing this during a meeting once and ever since then I have been trying to keep up with organizing my google drive. I think I never did it before because 1) It never occurred to me and 2) I didn’t even realize that on the spot organizing of a file was an option! I realized that if this was an issue for me, it must be ten times worse for my students. I have been trying to teach this/model it with my students ever since.

I appreciate everyone’s responses on this thread. Folders do help quite a bit, but need to be used religiously. I sometimes go a few weeks without placing things in folders which makes for a defective system! The advanced search feature is quite helpful, though I swear I have some lost docs out there – like socks in the dryer.

I think that’s a real thing (and my drive is obsessively organized). Sometimes files just disappear?


Jan just asked me for something exactly like Google Team Drive. Would it be possible for Care and Treatment to be part of the pilot?

Maybe? I’m not sure what the thinking is at the moment. I think there are some things they want to test first, and we’ve just started using it this past week among the Teaching & Learning group.

It’s definitely a new habit. I have to stop and think, “Is this my document or a group document?” If it should belong to the group, then I feel I should create it in Team Drive.

I’ll ask Jonas to add his thoughts here.