Find files shared with you using updated search operators in Google Drive

What’s changing

We’re updating how some search operators work in Google Drive to make finding shared files easier. This includes adding new search operators and changing the behavior of some existing search operators. You’ll still be able to perform all the same searches, just the operators you’ll use for them may change. The specific changes are:
  • “from:” will now return files shared with you by the specified email address. Previously, it would have returned files owned by that email address.
  • “to:” will now return files that you have shared with the specified email address. Previously, it would have returned all files that the email address had permissions to view, comment, or edit.
  • “sharedwith:” is a new search operator which will return files that the specified email address owns or has permission to view, comment or edit.
  • “owner:” returns files owned by the specified email address. There is no change to this operator, but you can use it to return the results you would previously have used the “from:” operator for.

Who’s impacted

End users, and developers

Why you’d use it

We’ve heard that finding files in Google Drive can be difficult because there are so many ways to remember a file: by its type, by its title, by who owns it, and more. We’ve added a number of features to help finding files, including an intelligent search box for Google Drive on the web, mobile search improvements, file suggestions in Chrome, and much more.

In addition, we know how important it is to be able to easily find files shared with others while collaborating in Google Workspace. Our user research suggests that this is actually one of the most memorable aspects to use when finding a file. These updates to our search operators will enable more specific searches to find files shared with you and by you, and will help you find those files more quickly using more memorable details about the file.

Additional details

  • Searches for from: and to: will not return files that were shared prior to February 2021.
  • Vault admins have been notified separately about their changes.

Getting started

  • Admins: There is no admin control for this feature.
  • End users: The updates to search operator behavior will take place by default. Visit the Help Center to learn more about advanced search features in Google Drive.

Rollout pace


  • Available to all Google Workspace customers, and G Suite Basic and Business customers.