Windows 10 tip: Use filters for faster and more accurate searches

The Windows 10 search box does an amazing job of helping you find files and folders, photos, apps, settings, and more. Typing one of eight words at the start of a search can make your results even more useful. Here's the list.

Windows 10's built-in search is simple to use and extremely effective. Just click in the search box to the right of Start (or tap the Windows key) and then begin typing the word or phrase you're looking for.

As you type, the search pane shows results instantly, with those results categorized using headings like the ones shown on the left here. You can click any of those headings to narrow the results so they just show results from that category.

But if you already know you're looking for a folder, or a Windows setting, or a picture, you can skip past the "all items" search and go straight to that category. The trick is to type the category name first, followed by a colon and then your search term (a space after the colon is optional).

To see which categories are available, perform a search and then click the Filters list in the top right. That shows the eight available categories, in addition to the default, All.

The full list includes Apps, Documents, Folders, Music, Photos, Settings, Videos, and Web.

Clicking one of the categories on the Filters list adds that category to your query, but you can start your query with that term and skip the Filters list. Enter photos: dog to see all of your saved photos that have that term in the metadata or the file name.

To save a keystroke, use the singular form of any plural filter: For example, photo: instead of photos: or folder: instead of folders:. Try setting:display to return all available display-related items in Settings.

You can use shortcuts, too. Try doc: or file: instead of documents: and you'll get the same results, from both local storage and OneDrive.

Previous tip: Keep unwanted software off PCs you support

Next week: Another Windows 10 tip from Ed Bott

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