Find a file in Office 365

Companies typically create a formidable number of documents, so it can be a challenge to find the files you need. In Office 365, there are a variety of ways for finding a file, no matter who created the file, or whether it’s stored in OneDrive for Business or in a document library on a SharePoint site.

Tips for finding files

I’m not sure where I put the file

You can search for files by typing words that might be in the file or in the file name. One way to start is from your OneDrive for Business.

  1. In Office 365, select OneDrive at the top of the page.
  2. Enter part or all of the document name or some words from the file contents in the search box and select the Search icon Button image or press Enter.

As you type, you’ll see all the files that match your search that are in your OneDrive for Business. Select Down chevron to see a preview of a file.
Search for a file in OneDrive for Business

  1. If the file doesn’t show up, select Search everything, and the search will expand to look in your team site as well as everyone else’s OneDrive for Business. Of course, only documents you have permission to view are listed.

 Tip    This works even if you’re not sure that there is a file on the subject. Search looks in the contents of documents as well as in the file name. If you don’t get results, try some synonyms.

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I get too many or too few search results

To narrow your search, try one of the following:

  • Use more specific search terms, or put quotes around a phrase For example, use “sales report instead of report.
  • Specify the author of the file. For example, if your document was created by Rob Young, any of these searches would work:
    • author:Young
    • author:“Rob Young”
  • Specify the type of file. For example, to find only PowerPoint presentations, use filetype:pptx.
  • Search only in the file name. For example, to find files with the word recommendation in the file name, but not the contents, use filename:recommendation.
  • Combine these options. For example, to find an Excel worksheet with travel expenses, created by Rob Young, use author:Young filetype:xlsx “travel expenses”.

To widen your search, try one of the following:

  • Use the * character as a wildcard at the end of any word in your query. For example book* finds books and bookstores.
  • Use fewer or less specific search terms. For example, use report instead of sales report.
  • Check that you’re searching across all relevant content, and that you haven’t restricted the search to only portions of the content, such as People or Conversations.

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I’m looking for a file someone shared with me

  1. In Office 365, select OneDrive at the top of the page.
  2. Select Shared with Me. This view includes files that anyone has shared with you by name, whether they’ve stored the file on their OneDrive for Business or on a team site. The view doesn’t include documents that have been shared with everyone. Why not? Consider that depending on the size of your organization, there may be hundreds if not thousands of documents that are shared with everyone.
    OneDrive for Business Shared with Me link

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I know who I’m working on this file with

When you know who you’re working with, there are several options for finding a file, both starting from the other person’s profile.

  1. To get to their profile, select their name anywhere you see it. For example:
  • From OneDrive for Business or your team site, search for their name and select it in the search results.
  • Select their name when they’re listed as an author of a document.
  • From Outlook Web App, select their name, and then in their contact card, tap or click the path under Profile.
  1. Look in Documents or in Documents we have in common.
  • In Documents, you’ll see all the files in their OneDrive for Business that you have permission to see – a combination of files they’ve shared with you, and files they’ve shared with everyone. You can use the Find a file box to narrow your search.
    Profile, showing Documents section
  • In Documents we have in common, you’ll see documents this person has shared with you, documents you’ve shared with them, and documents that others have share with both of you. You won’t see files either of you has shared with everyone. To see the whole list, select More.
    Documents in common view on someone else's profile.

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I know the file is on my team site

  1. In Office 365, go to Sites > Team Site.
  2. In the Search this site box, select the Search icon Button image or press Enter.

 Tip    If you need to widen the search, select the drop-down arrow, and select Everything to search in everywhere the file might be:
Search from sites, showing ways to limit the search scope

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I synced my OneDrive for Business and am looking for the file on my computer

If you synced the file using the OneDrive for Business Sync app, find out where synced files are stored on your computer.

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What if I want to know more?

Find information about other people in your company

Manage your information

Should I save my documents to OneDrive for Business or a team site?

Applies to:
Office 365 Enterprise, Office 365 Midsize Business, Office 365 Small Business, SharePoint Online Enterprise (E1), SharePoint Online Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online Midsized Business, SharePoint Online Small Business, SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise, SharePoint Server 2013 Standard