The search tool in Windows 10 File Explorer is one of the most useful tools in the operating system, but it can also be one of the most intimidating if you’re not familiar with it. Don’t worry! We’ll take you through five tips and tricks to help you get the most out of this feature on your computer, whether you use it frequently or only when you’re looking for something in particular.
1) Open search from anywhere
One of the great things about Windows 10 is that you can open up the search tool from almost anywhere. All you need to do is click on the little magnifying glass icon in the taskbar and start typing. But what if you want to get a little more out of your searches? Here are five tips to help you make the most of the search tool in Windows 10 File Explorer.
1) Use type-ahead: Type ahead means that as you type, suggested words will appear as options, which saves time. In File Explorer, this means that as soon as you type c, ceramics will be one of the options. That way, you don’t have to remember the exact spelling or go through all of the possibilities manually when it may not even be what you’re looking for.
2) Quickly search offline files: In some cases, offline files might show up when they’re not meant to be found by default – such as when an app goes offline unexpectedly and has been prevented from syncing with your other devices automatically. You can use the offline option in your search string to filter those results out. The same goes for online results that should otherwise be filtered.
Simply add online or offline at the end of your query to see only those results matching those parameters. For example, enter photos online to find only photos available online (or enter photos offline if you’re looking for something specific). Or type emails online and only emails sent while connected to the internet will be shown.
It’s a quick way to refine your search without scrolling down through all of the options. Also, you can combine the offline and online keywords with any word – like passwords. Typing passwords online will bring up all passwords saved in your browser cache, but typing passwords offline will bring up only those saved locally.
3) Find specific items using wildcards: A wildcard is just another term for a placeholder used to represent any character or series of characters. With these wildcards, you’ll notice that asterisks (*) often precede placeholders like d*.
So instead of entering deer* as a query to find items starting with deer, like deer parka or deer cheese, you could also enter *deer*, meaning anything beginning with deer would come up in the search result window. Similarly, if you wanted to find everything that ends with ice cream, then enter *ice cream*. Entering *I love* will show you every instance of I love… well, anything!
4) Use shortcuts for Advanced Searches: If you’re looking for something very specific or very precise and don’t want to scroll through endless categories or folders to find it, then Advanced Searches is your best bet. Press CTRL + Shift + E after opening the search tool from File Explorer to create an advanced list of queries and sort options tailored to whatever information you need. Choose the category you want to search and adjust the number of results returned.
Then, choose how you want to sort the information: alphabetically, newest first, oldest first, newest last or oldest last. This will help you narrow down your search quickly so you can focus on finding what you need. Once you’ve created your search, you can press the Enter key to submit your request.
5) Combine different types of search terms: You can use operators in your search strings to specify phrases or multiple terms. There are two types of operators: Boolean and Wildcard. Boolean will require that both parts of the equation be true for the item to be included in the search results, whereas Wildcard will match as many characters as possible until a mismatch occurs. Let’s say you’re looking for articles related to business communication.
2) Type as you type or paste
- The search tool in Windows 10 File Explorer is a great way to quickly find files on your computer.
- To use the search tool, simply type what you’re looking for into the search bar and hit enter.
- The results will populate based on your search terms.
- You can also use advanced search options to narrow down your results.
- To do this, click on the More button in the search bar and select your desired options from the drop-down menu.
- Once you’ve found what you’re looking for, you can open it by double-clicking on it or right-clicking and selecting Open.
- If you want to save it, just right-click on the file name and select Save as…
- You can also filter your results with the Search Tools tab at the top of the window
.9. For example, if you wanted only PDFs to show up in your search results, just type pdf into the field labeled File Type then click Apply Filter at the bottom of that panel.
- Now only PDF files will appear in your results!
- There are many different ways to tailor your search experience so it’s specific to you needs and preferences.
- Keep reading below for some more tips!
- When searching through all of the files on your PC, you may notice a few other tabs besides Search Tools:
- They include Categories, Date Modified, Size (KB), Kind (Pictures/Documents), Created Time (Oldest First)
- Clicking these tabs will alter how the result set is sorted and filtered according
- Check out each one and see which works best for what you’re trying to find!
- Sometimes there’s too much information on the screen and you need to sort it.
- Use the Folder Pane under Places on the left side of the screen to navigate folders.
- On PCs with touch screens, you can tap a folder to open it up and explore its contents.
20 Under Folders, there are typically two columns: Content, where all of your folders are listed alphabetically; Favorites, where your most frequently used folders live .
3) Use key combinations with your keyboard
You can use key combinations with your keyboard to help you search more efficiently in Windows 10 File Explorer. For example, pressing the Ctrl and F keys simultaneously will open the search bar. You can also use the Ctrl key to select multiple files at once. Here are five tips to help you get the most out of the search tool in Windows 10 File Explorer – Dragging and dropping items:
When dragging and dropping an item onto the search bar, it will be added as a keyword for that particular file type.
– Defining new keywords: You can define new keywords by going to View > Options > Change how items are sorted > Add or remove items from default sort list. Click on New keyword in the left pane under Search options. Type a name into the text box below Type new keyword here, press Enter, then add your desired values (examples: Product Name, Company Name). Click OK when finished.
– Wildcards (*): Use wildcards if you’re not sure of spelling or if you want to find a broad category such as *.exe files.
4) Find specific files
- Open File Explorer and select the drive, folder, or library you want to search.
- Type what you’re looking for in the search box. As you type, results will start appearing below the search box.
- To see more results, click the magnifying glass icon or press Enter.
- If you don’t see what you’re looking for, try using different keywords or filters.
- To narrow your results even further, click the Filter button and choose from a variety of options, such as file size, date modified, and file type.
- When you find the file you’re looking for, double-click it to open it.
- If you want to save the file, right-click it and choose Save target as…
- Be sure to include metadata when saving the file so that future changes are updated automatically.
- If you need to print something out on paper, just copy and paste it into an application like Microsoft Word and then print from there!
- Use the Preview pane to quickly see files without opening them: Select a file, right-click it, and choose Show preview from the menu that appears. The file opens in a separate window where you can skim through its contents with a scroll bar at the bottom of the window or by dragging your mouse across the page.
- And finally, use Quick Access to pin favorite folders to be seen every time you open File Explorer: Select one or more favorite folders under Quick access (you’ll have to create these first) and then drag them up under Favorites – Pinned items at top left. You can also remove them again by selecting them under Favorites – Pinned items at top left and clicking Remove selected item(s).
5) Use regular expressions with special characters
- Open File Explorer and click on the search bar.
- Type in your search term(s). You can use regular expressions by surrounding your search term with quotation marks ()
- For example, if you want to find all files that contain the word error, you would type: error
- If you want to find all files that contain the word error or warning, you would type: error warning
- If you want to find all files that contain the word error but not warning, you would type: error -warning
- The search tool will return a list of results that match your criteria. These are your best bet because they’re most likely what you’re looking for.
- Keep in mind that when you have folders open and do a search, only the folder content within that window will be searched. Searches won’t be done on other folders opened within the same File Explorer window. To find those items, close any open folders and reopen them using the back button (or using keyboard shortcuts CTRL+TAB).
- When browsing an item’s properties (such as Properties > Details), clicking Advanced opens up more filtering options such as limiting file size range, date modified range, file extension range, etc., which is also where you’ll find things like Date Created and Date Modified.