Search for files and folders

The Google Drive API supports several ways to search files and folders.

You can use the files.list method to return all or some of a Drive user's files and folders. The files.list method can also be used to retrieve the fileId required for some resource methods (such as files.get and files.update).

Search for all files and folders on the current user's My Drive

Use the files.list method without any parameters to return all files and folders.


Search for specific files or folders on the current user's My Drive

To search for a specific set of files or folders, use the query string q field with the files.list method to filter the files to return by combining one or more search terms.

A query string contains the following three parts:

query_term operator values


  • query_term is the query term or field to search upon.

  • operator specifies the condition for the query term.

  • values are the specific values you want to use to filter your search results.

To view the query terms and operators that you can use filter files and folders, see Search query terms and operators.

For example, the following query string filters the search to only return folders by setting the MIME type:

q: mimeType = 'application/'

For more information on MIME types, see Google Workspace and Google Drive supported MIME types.

Query string examples

The following table lists examples of some basic query strings. The actual code differs depending on the client library you use for your search.

You must also escape special characters in your file names to make sure the query works correctly. For example, if a filename contains both an apostrophe (') and a backslash ("\") character, use a backslash to escape them: name contains 'quinn\'s paper\\essay'.

What you want to query Example
Files with the name "hello" name = 'hello'
Files with a name containing the words "hello" and "goodbye" name contains 'hello' and name contains 'goodbye'
Files with a name that does not contain the word "hello" not name contains 'hello'
Files that contain the text "important" and in the trash fullText contains 'important' and trashed = true
Files that contain the word "hello" fullText contains 'hello'
Files that don't have the word "hello" not fullText contains 'hello'
Files that contain the exact phrase "hello world" fullText contains '"hello world"'
Files with a query that contains the "\" character (for example, "\authors") fullText contains '\\authors'
Files that are folders mimeType = 'application/'
Files that are not folders mimeType != 'application/'
Files modified after a given date (default time zone is UTC) modifiedTime > '2012-06-04T12:00:00'
Image or video files modified after a specific date modifiedTime > '2012-06-04T12:00:00' and (mimeType contains 'image/' or mimeType contains 'video/')
Files that are starred starred = true
Files within a collection (for example, the folder ID in the parents collection) '1234567' in parents
Files in an application data folder in a collection 'appDataFolder' in parents
Files for which user "" is the owner '' in owners
Files for which user "" has write permission '' in writers
Files for which members of the group "" have write permission '' in writers
Files shared with the authorized user with "hello" in the name sharedWithMe and name contains 'hello'
Files with a custom file property visible to all apps properties has { key='mass' and value='1.3kg' }
Files with a custom file property private to the requesting app appProperties has { key='additionalID' and value='8e8aceg2af2ge72e78' }
Files that have not been shared with anyone or domains (only private, or shared with specific users or groups) visibility = 'limited'

Filter search results with a client library

The following code sample shows how to use a client library to filter search results to file names and IDs of JPEG files. This sample uses the mimeType query term to narrow results to files of type image/jpeg. It also sets spaces to drive to further narrow the search to the Drive space. When nextPageToken returns null, there are no more results.


import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.Arrays;
import java.util.List;

/* Class to demonstrate use-case of search files. */
public class SearchFile {

   * Search for specific set of files.
   * @return search result list.
   * @throws IOException if service account credentials file not found.
  public static List<File> searchFile() throws IOException {
           /*Load pre-authorized user credentials from the environment.
           TODO(developer) - See for
           guides on implementing OAuth2 for your application.*/
    GoogleCredentials credentials = GoogleCredentials.getApplicationDefault()
    HttpRequestInitializer requestInitializer = new HttpCredentialsAdapter(

    // Build a new authorized API client service.
    Drive service = new Drive.Builder(new NetHttpTransport(),
        .setApplicationName("Drive samples")

    List<File> files = new ArrayList<File>();

    String pageToken = null;
    do {
      FileList result = service.files().list()
          .setFields("nextPageToken, items(id, title)")
      for (File file : result.getFiles()) {
        System.out.printf("Found file: %s (%s)\n",
            file.getName(), file.getId());


      pageToken = result.getNextPageToken();
    } while (pageToken != null);

    return files;


import google.auth
from googleapiclient.discovery import build
from googleapiclient.errors import HttpError

def search_file():
  """Search file in drive location

  Load pre-authorized user credentials from the environment.
  TODO(developer) - See
  for guides on implementing OAuth2 for the application.
  creds, _ = google.auth.default()

    # create drive api client
    service = build("drive", "v3", credentials=creds)
    files = []
    page_token = None
    while True:
      # pylint: disable=maybe-no-member
      response = (
              fields="nextPageToken, files(id, name)",
      for file in response.get("files", []):
        # Process change
        print(f'Found file: {file.get("name")}, {file.get("id")}')
      files.extend(response.get("files", []))
      page_token = response.get("nextPageToken", None)
      if page_token is None:

  except HttpError as error:
    print(f"An error occurred: {error}")
    files = None

  return files

if __name__ == "__main__":


 * Search file in drive location
 * @return{obj} data file
 * */
async function searchFile() {
  const {GoogleAuth} = require('google-auth-library');
  const {google} = require('googleapis');

  // Get credentials and build service
  // TODO (developer) - Use appropriate auth mechanism for your app
  const auth = new GoogleAuth({
    scopes: '',
  const service ={version: 'v3', auth});
  const files = [];
  try {
    const res = await service.files.list({
      q: 'mimeType=\'image/jpeg\'',
      fields: 'nextPageToken, files(id, name)',
      spaces: 'drive',
    Array.prototype.push.apply(files, res.files); {
      console.log('Found file:',,;
  } catch (err) {
    // TODO(developer) - Handle error
    throw err;


use Google\Client;
use Google\Service\Drive;
function searchFiles()
    try {
        $client = new Client();
        $driveService = new Drive($client);
        $files = array();
        $pageToken = null;
        do {
            $response = $driveService->files->listFiles(array(
                'q' => "mimeType='image/jpeg'",
                'spaces' => 'drive',
                'pageToken' => $pageToken,
                'fields' => 'nextPageToken, files(id, name)',
            foreach ($response->files as $file) {
                printf("Found file: %s (%s)\n", $file->name, $file->id);
            array_push($files, $response->files);

            $pageToken = $response->pageToken;
        } while ($pageToken != null);
        return $files;
    } catch(Exception $e) {
       echo "Error Message: ".$e;

Search for files with a custom file property

To search for files with a custom file property, use either the properties or the appProperties search query term with a key and value. For example, to search for a custom file property that's private to the requesting app called additionalID with a value of 8e8aceg2af2ge72e78:

appProperties has { key='additionalID' and value='8e8aceg2af2ge72e78' }

For more information, see Add custom file properties.

Search for files with a specific label or field value

To search for files with specific labels, use the labels search query term with a specific label ID. For example: 'labels/LABEL_ID' in labels. If successful, the response body contains all file instances where the label's applied.

To search for files without a specific label ID: Not 'labels/LABEL_ID' in labels.

You can also search for files based on specific field values. For example, to search for files with a text value: labels/LABEL_ID.text_field_id ='TEXT'.

For more information, see Search for files with a specific label or field value.

Search the corpora

Searches that call files.list use the corpora of user by default. To search other corpora, such as files shared with a domain, set the corpora parameter.

Multiple corpora may be searched in a single query, though incomplete results might be returned if the combined corpora is too large. If incompleteSearch is true in the response body, then all documents weren't returned. If this occurs, you should narrow your query by choosing a different corpora such as user or drive.