19 different techniques you should learn to find files and folders in Microsoft 365

How to find files and folders in SharePoint, One Drive and Teams in seconds

If you are like most people, you probably spend a lot of time looking for files and folders in your computer or online. You might use the Windows File Explorer to navigate through a hierarchy of folders, or you might use the search function to type in keywords and hope for the best. But did you know that there are many other ways to search for files in Microsoft 365 and its associated applications? In fact, there are 19 different techniques that you can use to find files in seconds, not minutes or hours. And these techniques are not only faster, but also smarter, because they can search not only the names of files and folders, but also the contents of the files, such as text, images, or metadata. In this article, we will explain how to use these 19 techniques to search for files in Microsoft 365 and its associated applications, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, Windows, and Delve. We will also explain why using these techniques is a game changer for your productivity and efficiency.

Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based suite of applications and services that allows you to create, collaborate, and communicate with anyone, anywhere, and on any device. One of the benefits of Microsoft 365 is that it integrates all your files and data in one place, so you can access them from any application or device. But how do you find the files you need among the thousands or millions of files that you or your organization have stored in Microsoft 365? Here are 19 different techniques that you can use to search for files in Microsoft 365 and its associated applications.



When openng desktop apps

How to search for recent Microsoft Excel, Word or PowerPoint files when opening the desktop app

This method has been around for a long time now, as soon as you open Word, Excel, or PowerPoint in the desktop app you see the most recent files you’ve been working on, any you’ve pinned and any files that have been shared with you.

But if you scroll dop to theend of the list of recent files you’ll find more workbooks that will show you a much bigger list of recent files

Method 2:

When working in the desktop apps

This method is one that we’ve been using for many years.

To quickly search for files or open files whilst working in Excel, Word or PowerPoint on the desktop app go to the File tab on the ribbon and select Open. You will now see a long list of files from either SharePoint or One Drive.

You can also use this method to open folders

Method 3:

When working in the desktop apps, a new method

This one is a little different and relatively new.

To find files you have recently been working on you can use the search feature at the top of the applicaiton just above the ribbon

Method 4:

Search for recent files by using the windows Taskbar

In Windows you can right click on the taskbar to see the recent files you have been working on

Method 5:

Search for files from the quick launch pane on the left hand side of Teams

In Microsoft Teams go the left-hand quick launch pane and select an Excel, word or PowerPoint. There you will see recent files you have worked on

Method 6:

Use the App Launcher (aka the waffle) in Microsoft 365 to find recent files

In Microsoft 365 below the waffle select the "My Files" link

Method 7:

Use One Drive to find recent files

In One Drive go to
Home quick launch where you will see files you have recently worked on in either One Drive or SharePoint

Method 8:

Use the search feature in SharePoint to find folders and files in seconds

Go to SharePoint in Microsoft 365 but not to any specific SharePoint site. Type the name of the file in the search box at the top of the page. This is the most common method we use for searching for files

Method 9:

You can refine your search in Sharepoint by filtering the search results to show specific files

Refine your search in SharePoint by selecting the file type

Method 10:

You can refine your search in SharePoint by defining when the file was last modified

Refine your search in SharePoint by selecting the last modified date

Method 11:

Use the filter button in the top left hand corer of a Sharepoint page

When you are in a folder in SharePoint use the filter commands to filter by author or modified date

Method 12:

In SharePoint use Boolean search techniques

This search technique in SharePoint is amazing and possibly the most powerful one to learn. They will allow you to find anything in seconds and can be used to search for files and folders, and will also search the contents of files

This technique will search for all files and folders containing all three words. Power, BI and Multiple. Multiple AND can be used

This technique will search for all files and folders containing either of the words. Multiple OR can be used

Boolean techniques can be used together and, in any combination, and any order.

Method 13:

Use wild card search techniques

Searches for the exact phrase

Searches for the word semi but with other characters before or after it. The * can be place at the start or end of a word only.

Method 14:

Use the boolean search techniques above in One Drive

Method 15:

Use the search box in Teams, regardless of where you are in teams and select files

All files with the word marketing in the title content will be found

The search in Microsoft teams can then be filtered by Team

The search in Microsoft teams can then be filtered by File Type

The search in Microsoft teams can then be filtered by Moified and date

Method 16:

From the app launcher (aka waffle) and Microsoft 365

When you select the waffle and Microsoft 365 you will see a list of apps on the left hand launch pane

You will get a quick launch to each app in the left pane, when you select an app the most recent files appear.

Method 17:

You can search for Files in Team Channel by using CTRL + F shortcut

In a Team Channel use the shortcut CTRL + F to open the Teams and channel search pane there add the name of the file

Method 18:

Delve in Microsoft 365

Delve is an online service that helps you discover and organize information that is relevant to you. Delve is part of the Microsoft 365 suite of applications and uses artificial intelligence to analyze your activities and interactions across different services, such as Outlook, OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams, and Yammer. Delve then surfaces personalized content for you, such as documents, emails, conversations, and people, based on what you are working on and who you are working with. You can also use Delve to search for information across your organization, create boards to group related content, and view profiles of your colleagues and contacts. Delve is designed to help you find the information you need, when you need it, and to enhance your productivity and collaboration.

Method 19:

With Microsoft CoPilot AI

Launch CoPilot and type the name of the file you're searching for

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