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Drive REST API

Search for Files

You can search or filter files with the files.list or children.list methods of the Drive API. These methods accept the q parameter which is a search query combining one or more search clauses. Each search clause is made up of three parts.

Field
Attribute of the file that is searched, e.g., the attribute title of the file.
Operator
Test that is performed on the data to provide a match, e.g., contains.
Value
The content of the attribute that is tested, e.g. the title of the file My cool document.

Combine clauses with the conjunction and, and negate the query with not.

Fields

Field Value Type Operators Description
title string contains1, =, != Title of the file.
fullText string contains2 Full text of the file including title, description, content, and indexable text.
mimeType string contains, =, != MIME type of the file.
modifiedDate date3 <=, <, =, !=, >, >= Date of the last modification of the file.
lastViewedByMeDate date3 <=, <, =, !=, >, >= Date that the user last viewed a file.
trashed boolean =, != Whether the file is in the trash or not.
starred boolean =, != Whether the file is starred or not.
parents collection in Whether the parents collection contains the specified ID.
owners collection in Users who own the file.
writers collection in Users who have permission to modify the file.
readers collection in Users who have permission to read the file.
sharedWithMe boolean =, != Files that have been shared with the authorized user.
properties collection has Custom file properties.

Value types

Value Type Notes
String Surround with single quotes '. Escape single quotes in queries with \', e.g., 'Valentine\'s Day'.
Boolean true or false.
Date RFC 3339 format, default timezone is UTC, e.g., 2012-06-04T12:00:00-08:00.

Operators

Operator Notes
contains The content of one string is present in the other.
= The content of a string or boolean is equal to the other.
!= The content of a string or boolean is not equal to the other.
< A date is earlier than another.
<= A date is earlier than or equal to another.
> A date is later than another.
>= A date is later than or equal to another.
in An element is contained within a collection.
and Return files that match both clauses.
or Return files that match either clause.
not Negates a search clause.
has A collection contains an element matching the parameters.

For compound clauses, you can use parentheses to group clauses together. For example:

modifiedDate > '2012-06-04T12:00:00' and (mimeType contains 'image/' or mimeType contains 'video/')

This search returns all files with an image or video MIME type that were last modified after June 4, 2012. Because and and or operators are evaluated from left to right, without parentheses the above example would return only images modified after June 4, 2012, but would return all videos, even those before June 4, 2012.

Examples

All examples on this page show the unencoded q parameter, where title = 'hello' is encoded as title+%3d+%27hello%27. Client libraries handle this encoding automatically.

Search for files with the title "hello"

title = 'hello'

Search for folders using the folder-specific MIME type

mimeType = 'application/vnd.google-apps.folder'

Search for files that are not folders

mimeType != 'application/vnd.google-apps.folder'

Search for files with a title containing the words "hello" and "goodbye"

title contains 'hello' and title contains 'goodbye'

Search for files with a title that does not contain the word "hello"

not title contains 'hello'

Search for files containing the word "hello" in the content

fullText contains 'hello'

Search for files not containing the word "hello" in the content

not fullText contains 'hello'

Search for files containing the exact phrase "hello world" in the content

fullText contains '"hello world"'
fullText contains '"hello_world"'

Search for files with a query containing the \ character (e.g., \authors)

fullText contains '\\authors'

Search for files writeable by the user "test@example.org"

'test@example.org' in writers

Search for the ID 1234567 in the parents collection. This finds all files and folders located directly in the folder whose ID is 1234567.

'1234567' in parents

Search for the alias ID appfolder in the parents collection. This finds all files and folders located directly under the Application Data folder.

'appfolder' in parents

Search for files writeable by the users "test@example.org" and "test2@example.org"

'test@example.org' in writers and 'test2@example.org' in writers

Search for files containing the text "important" which are in the trash

fullText contains 'important' and trashed = true

Search for files modified after June 4th 2012

modifiedDate > '2012-06-04T12:00:00'    // default time zone is UTC
modifiedDate > '2012-06-04T12:00:00-08:00'

Search for files shared with the authorized user with "hello" in the title

sharedWithMe and title contains 'hello'

Search for files with a custom file property named additionalID with the value 8e8aceg2af2ge72e78.

properties has { key='additionalID' and value='8e8aceg2af2ge72e78' and visibility='PRIVATE' }

Tips and tricks

To learn more about search, watch Google engineers discussing tips and tricks in the following video.