Searching for a singular file or file type is one thing, but what do you do when you need to search for multiple file types at the same time? Today’s SuperUser Q&A post comes to the rescue for one reader’s file search dilemma.

Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-driven grouping of Q&A web sites.

The Question

SuperUser reader Sebastien wants to know how to search for multiple file types at the same time in Windows 8:

I am looking for files in a particular directory that have the following extensions: .txt, .csv, and .xml. The directory has many levels of sub-directories that I would like to search through for all three file types in one go.

When I use Ctrl+F in Windows Explorer and enter extension types like *.txt;*.csv;*.xml, I watch the search bar fill up with green for a long time, but end up with no results. I know there are hundreds of these file types in the parent directory and sub-directories though.

How can I do a search like this in Windows 8 that returns results?

Is there an easy way for Sebastien to search for multiple file types at the same time?

The Answer

SuperUser contributor AppsDev has the answer for us:

Open Windows Explorer and in the top right search box type *.extension. For example, to search for text files you should type *.txt.

For multiple file types use Ext:.doc OR Ext:.txt OR Ext:.pdf. Hope this helps you.

Special Note: As noted in additional comments in the discussion thread, make sure that the word “OR” is capitalized when doing a search for multiple file types.

Have something to add to the explanation? Sound off in the comments. Want to read more answers from other tech-savvy Stack Exchange users? Check out the full discussion thread here.

Akemi Iwaya
Akemi Iwaya has been part of the How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media team since 2009. She has previously written under the pen name "Asian Angel" and was a Lifehacker intern before joining How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media. She has been quoted as an authoritative source by ZDNet Worldwide.
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