How to Use Google to Find Files Online

Use 'filetype' to find PDFs and other files

Illustration of man searching with magnifying glass
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Google can be useful for finding more than just web pages. With the tricks described below, you'll even be able to locate files on Google.

To do a Google search by file type just means that you're narrowing down the results to show only the ones that include files. When Google is used to find files, you can locate books, documents, sheet music, Microsoft Word files, and more.

Files You Can Find on Google

Google can locate a large handful of files, and some are even indexed, meaning that you can search for files that have a specific term in them.

This is a list of just some of the files you can find with a Google search (others might be supported, too):

  • Adobe Flash (SWF)
  • Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF)
  • Adobe PostScript (PS)
  • Autodesk Design Web Format (DWF)
  • Google Earth (KML, KMZ)
  • GPS eXchange Format (GPX)
  • Hancom Hanword (HWP)
  • HTML (HTM, HTML)
  • Microsoft Excel (XLS, XLSX)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (PPT, PPTX)
  • Microsoft Word (DOC, DOCX)
  • OpenOffice presentation (ODP)
  • OpenOffice spreadsheet (ODS)
  • OpenOffice text (ODT)
  • Rich Text Format (RTF)
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)
  • TeX/LaTeX (TEX)
  • Text (TXT, TEXT, BAS, C, CC, CPP, CXX, H, HPP, CS, JAVA, PL, PY
  • Wireless Markup Language (WML, WAP)
  • XML

How to Search By File Type

Google filetype docx resume search

The filetype command is used to perform a Google file search. When you use that operator in your searches, the file extension that you tie with it immediately narrows down all results to show only that file type.

For example, you might search for PDFs on Google if you're looking for books in that file format:

filetype:pdf "jane eyre"

What follows the file type is the search term that you want Google to look for within the files.

Always surround multiple words in quotation marks if you want to keep them together as a single phrase.

This same pattern works for any of the file types. For example, to locate resumes samples in the DOCX file format:

filetype:docx resume

If you're a musician and you want to use Google to find sheet music, your best bet is to use the PDF file-type search:

"moonlight sonata" "sheet music" filetype:pdf

Combining Other Commands

Google filetype site inurl search

Google supports lots of advanced commands, any of which you can combine with a file type search to dig even deeper into the files you're looking for.

filetype:docx site:edu inurl:resume

In this first example, we're looking for MS Word files, but the site search eliminates all top-level domains except EDU sites, and the inurl command lets us find only the Word files where the URL contains the word resume.

filetype:pdf site:gov report inurl:2001

For this filetype search, we're finding PDFs that have the word report in them, but only if the URL also includes 2001. The idea here is to locate files that have been categorized in a 2001 folder on the site's server, which will likely find reports published in that year.

filetype:kml kansas

A KML file search like this one shows custom map files related to the Kansas search term. Some results might include map annotations for bicycle trails, lakes, car repair shops, etc. You could also find KML files that cover a specific map visualization, such as meteors (e.g., search for filetype:kml meteor).

filetype:swf bloons

Can't find an online game that you used to love to play? A filetype search for SWF files might help, so long as the game is available as a Flash file.