Tech Tip #29: I Can’t Find My File

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q:  I saved my document, but I can’t find it. How do I find it?

A:  There are a couple of ways to search for a document that you created but don’t remember where you saved it:

  • Open the program you created it in, say MS Word
  • Most programs–Word, Publisher, Excel, etc.–show recently created documents in the task panel on the right hand side of the screen or under the File menu command–at the bottom of the drop down list. Check to see if your document shows up there. Open it and re-save it in a spot you’ll remember.
  • Not there? The reason is probably because you’ve created too many documents since you created the one you’re looking for–these two spots only show the most recent. Try this:
    • Go to File-Open
    • Check the panel to the side of the Open dialogue box. You’ll see a choice for My Documents. Check there–that’s where most people save their documents.
    • Check that same panel under Desktop. People like me save documents there so we can find them easily
  • Still no luck? One more option–Search for it.
    • Click the Start Button and select Search
    • Type in the file name
    • A list will populate on top of the Search field with all documents with that name
    • Search only covers locations attached to your computer. For example, it won’t find files on your flash drive if it isn’t plugged in or an external folder such as

A note: Be sure you always save documents with a name you’ll remember. With my students, I have them use the file name with their Last name, the date and the topic. That way, if they have to search for it, they can use their last name as the search term and have a pretty good chance of finding it.

Questions you want answered? Leave a comment here and I’ll answer it within the next thirty days.

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Categories: free tech resources, homeschool, K-5 Tech training, problem solving, teacher resources, Tech ed | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Tech Tip #29: I Can’t Find My File

  1. I tend to think a consistent way of saving files is a little bit like backing up. You won’t see the value until the one time you can’t find what you are looking for…

    This is what has worked for me: If you save in the format of [subject] [date in reverse format] [something specific] eg “blog 20100624 How to Name Documents.doc” gives you a few things:

    – When you see all files in a folder, they will be sorted by subject and date, (with the most recent file at the bottom). This is helpful when trying to find “that thing I worked on last month”

    – It makes it easier to archive old documents. You can quickly see something you haven’t touched in 12 months

    If worse comes to worse, using the Advance Search will search for file contents. Pick something that will be fairly unique to the document (perhaps jargon or a quote) and hopefully it will turn up!

    • I save my writing much as you’ve described, updating the date for each version. That gives me back-ups that are only a day old. Then, I save-as to three locations.

      But I’m paranoid.

      When are you adding another post to your blog, Christian?

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