Web Applications Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for power users of web applications. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In Google Drive, is there a way to search only the contents of files within a particular folder (instead of files within the entire drive, as is the default)?

share|improve this question
It doesn't look that way, no. You can filter by owner, date, sharing status; but not by folder. – Al E. Feb 4 '13 at 18:01
Try the in:folder_name operator (e.g. in:folder_name search_term. Found here. – Alex Feb 4 '13 at 18:02
@Alex yes, why not add that as an answer, it's what I would have suggested :) – OnenOnlyWalter Feb 4 '13 at 18:05
@Alex Sorry, I just tried what you said, but apparently it doesn't work (no results even when I know the file is there). – Hydra Feb 5 '13 at 11:00
What's funny is that if I search and Google Docs says "documents found in Trash" and I click "view" it shows me "<docname> in:Trash" but if I do that search....it returns NO RESULTS. Geesh... Google. WTF? – Clay Nichols Oct 29 '13 at 18:45

11 Answers 11

up vote 3 down vote accepted

As of the date of this post, Google Drive does not support searching within a specific folder. However, the new Docs, Sheets, and Slides home screens do have a way to let you do this via the File Picker search interface:

  • Go to: https://docs.google.com

  • Click the File Picker folder icon on the right side of screen.

  • Navigate to the specific folder that you want to search.

  • Now put your query term in the file picker's search box and hit 'Enter' (Or click the 'Search for all items containing ')

Your search results will only come from the folder you selected.

Note: you can still filter by file type in the File Picker search bar by clicking the drop down arrow.

share|improve this answer
why doesn't drive search show you the containing folder name? – SuperUberDuper Dec 16 '15 at 18:23

Simply star the folders or particular files that you wish to search and then search "is:starred". Unstar them once you want to search something else. It's a little impractical, but it's what I do to search my journal articles, 1000s of which I've stored on my Drive.

share|improve this answer

You can take a look to the following tool: www.evenbytes.com/metadrive.html

This tool will help you to search within Google Drive Folders. In addition to that, the tool provides additional features such as filters or custom metadata.

share|improve this answer
When I try to "install" it, it prompts me to create a Google Apps for Work account. – Clay Nichols Aug 19 '15 at 21:58

A time-consuming work around, which isn't so painful if there are just a few folders you want to search, is to share those folders with other Google accounts, and then include to: thatgoogleaccount@example.com in your search.

The script in user165768's answer also works. It asks you to share a scary bunch of permissions, so you may want to look at the code at https://github.com/ljv5555/drive-folder-search/tree/gh-pages/app to reassure yourself, and possibly make your own copy.

share|improve this answer

I don't think there is such a feature available in Google Drive yet, but you can do a workaround.

If you do not intend to search for files recursively, simply just open the folder you want to search in and use the browser function (Ctrl+F) to search the name of your desired file.

Of course using this method you can't search within the file itself for text matches.

share|improve this answer
Yes, unfortunately I want to search content within files, not just filenames. I'm also looking to be able to recursively search within a folder (including subfolders). Thanks for the suggestion, though! – Jon Schneider Feb 11 '13 at 21:42

If you want to search for text inside the files, you could search your drive for the text, then use (Ctrl+F) to search for the folder name. A little messy, though, and again, not recursive!

share|improve this answer

I wrote an app to search by folder (within file contents). It is a bit slow so be patient when it is loading.


share|improve this answer

I have written a simple Python script that can tag your files with folder, after which you can easily search by folder just by typing folder:folder_name or folder:absolute_path. You can get my code from here: https://github.com/songxf/drive-search-by-folder

share|improve this answer

I have had very inconsistent success with:


This is somewhat inconsistent though.

This is how Google lets you search your Trash: e.g. before:2013-06-01 in:Trash

share|improve this answer

It is possible to use the API to search all files and filter the results down to the desired folder / subfolders. Here is an open source implementation:


share|improve this answer

It is here!!! finally! I tested it myself and it works!:

Search in the Docs, Sheets, and Slides home screens

To find the right file quickly in the new Docs, Sheets, and Slides home screens, you can search directly in the search box at the top of the page.

As you type in the search box, you’ll see relevant results from across all of your files show up below your search. When you press Enter, the results that appear on the page will show files only from the specific home screen you’re using. For example, if you search and press Enter in Sheets, only Google Sheets results will show up in your home screen.

Find other file formats

You can quickly find your other files, for example your .doc, .pdf, and .xls files, from the home screens by using the file picker. The file picker allows you to browse your Google Drive files and folders and open up any file you're looking for.

Go to any of the Docs, Sheets, or Slides home screens. Click the File picker icon in the top right. Search within your files and folders until you find the file you’re looking for. Click Select and the file will open in a new tab.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.