While Google Drive does offer a GUI lookup interface, power users often take advantage of search operators to save time. A change is in the process of rolling out to “make finding shared files easier.”

These updates to our search operators will enable more specific searches to find files shared with you and by you, and will help you find those files more quickly using more memorable details about the file.

At a high-level, Google notes how “you’ll still be able to perform all the same searches, just the operators you’ll use for them may change.” This is meant to address how “finding files in Google Drive can be difficult because there are so many ways to remember a file.”

  • 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 that 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.
  • sharedwith:” is a new search operator that 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 would previously have used the “from:” operator for.

Google has found that who you share a document with is “actually one of the most memorable aspects to use when finding a file.” These changes impact Google Vault admins, while:

Searches for from: and to: will not return files that were shared prior to February 2021.

The updated Google Drive search operators are rolling out now and will be fully available in the coming weeks for all customers.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com