windows 7 – how to search for words in documents

The new windows 7 search was beginning to drive me a bit bonkers.

it’s quite clever once you understand it but there doesn’t seem to be any help or any easy user interface to search with.

Basically the windows 7 search works using attributes, you put these in the search box with a : after it.

so if you want to search for a file created today you would put in



or a file containing the word hosk

content: hosk


it’s taken me ages to find the search syntax


Search syntax

Property Example Function
author:name author:patrick Finds items with patrick in the Author property.
author:(name) author:(patrick hines) Finds items with patrick hines in the Author property.
author:(name OR name) author:(patrick OR bob) Finds items with patrick or bob in the Author property.
author:name name author:patrick bob Finds items with patrick in the Author property and bob anywhere in the document.
from:name from:patrick Finds items with patrick in either fromName OR fromAddress, since “from” is a property name for both fromName and fromAddress.
before:date before:10/9/2007 Finds items whose PrimaryDate field contains a date before 10/9/2007.
after:date after:10/9/2007 Finds items whose PrimaryDate field contains a date after 10/9/2007.
has:attachment report has:attachment Finds items containing the word report that have attachments. Same as hasattachment:true
is:attachment report is:attachment Finds items that have attachments containing the word report. Same as isattachment:true

this site has a bunch of useful stuff about windows search

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