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Google Drive has a new search filter to make it even easier to find your files

If you're a Google Drive power user, you'll find the new search filters make locating files even easier. Here's how to use them.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
man working on laptop
Getty Images/Caiaimage/Chris Ryan

Google Drive is my go-to cloud service. I use it throughout the day every day. Most days, I know exactly where the files are that I need. But every so often, I run into an instance where I need to filter out certain file types, people, or modification dates. Normally, I would use the Drive Search feature. But Google recently introduced a new Filter Toolbar that makes it even easier to find what I'm looking for.

This new feature is available for all valid Google accounts (free or paid) and works with most modern web browsers.

Also: How to organize your Google Drive: 5 tips to know

With the new Filter Toolbar (which you can easily enable and disable), you can filter:

  • File Type - From documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more.

  • People - From anyone who is in your contacts or has shared a file with you.

  • Modification Date - From Today, Last 7 Days, Last 30 Days, This Year, Last Year, or Custom.

When you use the Filter Toolbar, it even filters out folders. For example, if you're in the root directory of your Google Drive account and you switch the file type to documents, you will only see documents from that directory listed. This option comes in very handy for me, given how many folders I have in the root directory of Google Drive.

Also: How to find files faster in Google Drive

Let me show you how easy this new feature is to use.

How to use the new Google Drive Filter Toolbar

What you'll need: The only things you'll need are a valid Google account and a web browser. Of course, you'll want to have files in Drive, otherwise, you'll have nothing to filter.

1. Log into Google Drive

The first thing to do is open your default web browser and log into Google Drive.

2. Enable the Filter Toolbar

If you don't immediately see the Filter Toolbar at the top of Drive, you should at least see a three-horizontal line icon to the left of the window. Click that icon to enable the Filter Toolbar.

The Google Drive Filter Toolbar icon.

If you don't see the Filter Toolbar, click the three-line icon to enable it.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Using the Filter Toolbar

With the Filter Toolbar enabled, click one of the drop-downs and select what you want to appear in the current working directory (you can use the Filter Toolbar from within any directory in Drive). The directory will immediately filter out everything but what you've chosen. 

Google Drive's new Filter Toolbar in action.

Filtering for certain file-types, users, and modification dates has been greatly simplified in Google Drive.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

You can use all three filters at once as well. For example, you might want to only see documents, shared with you from a specific contact, at a specific modification date. With the new Filter Toolbar, you can do that. 

Also: The top cloud storage services

Locate the file you want to open, double-click it, and get to work. Even after you've opened a file, the filter results remain, so you have to manually clear the filters by either clicking the individual X for each filter or clicking Clear All to the right of the toolbar.

And that's how to use this very helpful new Filter Toolbar with Google Drive. Even though it only appeared in my Drive account recently, I've been using this tool quite a bit. I'm fairly confident that you'll find it to be an invaluable tool for locating the files you need to work with in Google Drive.

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