Searching in Google Docs — Part Two!

Since I posted information about how to sort items in Google Docs, I have heard requests from several of you to keep these tips coming your way. Indeed, there is much more to say on the topic.
Check out the following questions, each answered with the search trick that will help you find your file fast:

Question: “I have been collecting student work via Google Docs. Now, I have a massive collection of files. I have a parent conference tonight, and I want to show the mom all of her son’s work. How can I get just his stuff?”

Answer: In your search box, type “from:user@yssd.org” (obviously, insert their actual yssd email address). Google Docs will automatically spit back everything that this one particular user shared with you. And, for the record, this works with the word “to:user@yssd.org” if you are looking for something you know you shared with someone else.

Question: “I forgot to name a doc, or if I did, I now have no idea what I named it. How can I find it again?”

Answer: In the search box, type some of the words that you would have used in the doc, then hit enter/return. If you are confident about specific wording, put the words in quotation marks.

Question: “I know I worked with a doc a long time ago — right around Christmas. Now, how do I find it again?”

Answer: In the search box, type “before:2011-1-01” and hit enter/return. Using “after:2011-1-01” works too, if you are looking for something you made after a certain date. I like to use this trick to find all the throw-away docs I made for a particular day of training, so I can trash them all in one swoop.

Question: “I assigned work, and all of my students followed the YS Naming Protocol. I asked them to use “Guatemala” as the key word. Is there a way to get back to all of these at once so I can grade them?”

Answer: Yes! And good job using that protocol, because trust me, it will make your life SO much easier! In the search box, type title:”Guatemala” and you will see all of the desired docs in a list. You may want to create a collection and then highlight all of these files and drag them into the collection. Click on the first one in the list, hold down your shift key, and click on the last one in the list. That will highlight all of them. Perhaps you want to select a few items in a list, but they’re not all in a row. Windows users, hold down the control key as you click on the ones you want. Mac users, use your command key (to the right and left of the space bar) to do the same.

If you have a particular search trick that you really like, feel free to share it in the comments. Go here if you want to read more about searching in Google Docs. Once you get used to the versatility of Google Docs, I think you will find that you like it better than the locked-in file storage of the past.

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