Searching for files

As the number of files in your folders increases, browsing through folders becomes a cumbersome way of looking for files. However, you can find the file you need from among thousands of photos, texts and other files by using the search function of your operating system.

The search function allows you to look for files and folders based on file properties such as the file name, save date or size.

Using the search function

In Windows, you can search for files quickly by clicking the Start button at the bottom left of the screen. Then, simply type the full or partial name of the file, program or folder.

The search begins as soon as you start typing, and the results will appear above the search field (see the image below). If the file or program you are looking for does not appear right away, wait a moment, as the search can take a while. Also note that the search results are grouped by file type.

Narrowing down search results

If you are unable to find the file you are looking for by using the quick search, you can narrow the search results by file type by clicking the icons above the search term (see the image above). You can narrow down your search results to:

  • apps
  • settings
  • documents
  • folders
  • photos
  • videos
  • music

You can also specify the file extension by typing it in the search field. For example, to search for RTF files, type *.rtf as your search term. You can also use different combinations to specify the file name, such as k*.ppt or *memo.doc. You can also search for several file types simultaneously, such as *.doc, *.txt, *.rtf, *.pdf.

Wildcards make searching easier

If you do not remember the name of the file you are looking for, you can use wildcard characters. The characters ? and * can replace one or more characters in your search phrase. The table below shows examples of the use of wildcard characters. Note, however, that the use of wildcard characters may vary between operating systems, applications and search engines! For example, you cannot use wildcard characters in Google search.

* = any character string
a* Find all files beginning with a
report.* Find all files beginning with report (regardless of file extension)
*memo* OR memo Find all files with the word memo in the name
? => replaces one character
invite.do? Find all files called invite with an extension that starts with do (e.g. .doc or .dot)