How to easily find files and folders using Windows search operators [Guide]

You can search for documents and software from the Windows search box in the Start menu or Start screen or regular search window. An effective keyword might usually find a specific file or software package, but not always. For more effective Windows searches, add some of these operators to your keywords.

Exclude a Word

You can exclude specific words, or numbers, from searches if required. You can do that by adding a minus after the search keyword, and then entering another keyword to omit from search results. For example, entering a keyword such as Excel spreadsheet –2 would find matching file titles without 2 in them.

Specific Searches

The most specific Windows 7 search keywords should include inverted commas. As such, to search for an exact match, you should add inverted commas around the keyword. For example, a keyword such as “Excel spreadsheet” would also find only those files which include Excel spreadsheet in their titles.

Find Specific File Types

You can find specific file types such as jpeg or doc. To do that, enter a keyword followed by type. Then you should enter a file type such as jpeg, doc etc. For example, an operator to find an image could be: photo type: jpeg.

Find Specific File Sizes

Add a size operator to your keywords to filter out a variety of files that don’t fall within the same size range as the one you’re searching for. You could add an operator such as > (more than), < (less than) or = (equal to) after the keyword and before a specified size such as one megabyte. To find an Excel spreadsheet with a file size less than one megabyte, you could enter: Excel spreadsheet < 1 mb.

AND, OR and NOT Operators

In addition, you can add AND, OR and NOT to the Windows 7 keywords much the same as search engines. For example, if you were to input tropical AND island it would find files that contain both words. Entering tropical NOT island would find just those files with tropical. Tropical OR island will find files that include either keywords. Note that the AND, OR and NOT must be entered in upper case.

Those are a few of the operators that you can use with AQS. Combine the operators with your keywords to find more specific files and software.

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