The Most Comprehensive List of GDrive Organizational Features
Bringing order to a messy Google Drive Workspace can decrease frustration and increase productivity. Bringing order to a messy Google Drive Workspace can decrease frustration and increase productivity. When there’s a clear structure, Google Drive for teams can be effective but it requires ongoing management to make it an efficient workflow tool. That said, Google Drive for business is a robust storage solution, however, it lacks features that streamline productivity.
Get ready for an extensive list of how-to tips to be more proficient with Google Drive folders.
Google Drive Labels (Tags) 🏷🏷
Google finally introduced Google Drive labels (tags). For a feature routinely requested by users for years, their implementation works well for consumers; however, it lacks depth for Google Drive for teams. Here’s a direct comparison of Google Drive Labels versus Digitile’s Document Tag Management Solution for businesses using Google Drive.
Digitile’s Google Drive Tag Management Solution
It sits on top of your Google Drive team shared folders to organize, categorize, and unify digital assets across your Cloud Storage, Social Networks, and eCommerce platforms at scale to enable teams to deliver work faster and more effectively. Furthermore, Digitile uses AI to auto-tag your Google Drive photos so your team doesn’t have to spend time tagging or adding Google Drive labels.
A very useful difference between Google Drive Labels and Digitile’s tags is with Digitile you can share a collection of tagged files and recipients can filter and sort by the tags. That means, all the hard work you undertake to organize your files is extensible to third parties such as freelancers and vendors.
|Tag User Permissions|
|Tags Per File||Unlimited||64 Max|
|Text within Images (OCR)|
|Tag Filter Operators (AND/OR/NONE)|
|Tag Filter Groups|
|Cross-Platform Single View (GDrive, Dropbox & Shopify)|
|Shared Files Include Tags for Filtering|
|Files & Tag Exports (CSV)|
|On Boarding Services|
|Managed Tag Services|
How to Count the Total Number of Files in a Google Drive Workspace Folder
1.Open a Google Drive Folder
2. Click on the Search Within Foldername
3. Use your Shift or Command Key to Highlight All Files in the Folder
4. Scroll to the Bottom a Total Files Count Appears
How to Organize Google Drive Folders through color-coding 🎨
Color-coding works great for visual learners and is a straightforward system that’s easy to understand even for those who are less inclined. They’re not necessarily a good fit for situations that demand a more strict hierarchy of folders, but they’re still useful for a variety of organizational applications.
Adding color-coding makes it simple to memorize which files go with what folder, with its bursts of color offering a respite from the neutral palette of colors that generally occupy Google Drive.
Organizing your Google Drive folders with color-coding begins with a simple action: just right-click on a folder and you’ll be able to select a corresponding color. It’s possible to set specific colors associated with individual clients, projects, or even tasks. There is a multitude of ways to set up a system of color-coding.
How to Find Orphaned Files 📄
We’ve all been there, in search of a file in Google Workspace that we know is out there somewhere, but we’re unable to track it down. We are dumbstruck by why we can’t find it.
It’s possible that what you’re looking for has become an orphaned file. If you create a file in a shared folder owned by someone else, and they delete the folder, the file still exists somewhere in a Google Drive, even though its original folder is gone.
Wrangling an errant file takes a bit of effort. First, you have to run an advanced search using ‘is:unorganized owner:me’ in your Google Drive search bar. Once you’ve found the file, you then need to add it to a folder so that it’s searchable. This is a lot of work.
Digitile gives you a direct path in finding orphaned files, no matter where they may have ended up. Instead of fumbling around your Google Drive, you’re able to get to these orphaned files fast
How to Organize Google Drive Photos
This question gets asked over and over. Unfortunately, the Google Drive folder structure or search engine does not make it easy to find your Google Drive Photos. I ran a search with a File Type filter on images across our Google Drive Shared folders for “blue house.” Google Drive found one match: a screenshot with the file name “Kelly Blue Book.” You can imagine why the Google Drive search engine returned this result. The word ‘blue’ was in the file name. However, it was far from what I was looking to find. For consumers, Google Photos works well because it includes Google’s Image Recognition technology. However, Google Drive photo AI technology has yet to be implemented in Google Drive. As a result, employees have to fend for themselves by scanning through files and folders, a time sink and wasted energy.
For companies with thousands of images, manually tagging images need to be more scalable. Here’s where Digitile comes in to help organizations auto-tag all their Google Drive Photos. Let Digitile’s robust, AI-powered image recognition extract attributes from every image so your team can easily find the right product, company, or headshot in seconds.
Request a demo and see it in action!
Categorize Folders with an Emoji
Give your colleagues an easy way to find folders with unique emoji icons. To add an emoji, right-click on a folder or file name -> select rename -> copy the emoji in front of the folder name. Once you add an emoji the folder will move to the top of the folder list. This is a helpful way to bring favorites to the top of the list.
Google Drive Features in Development
Google isn’t one to sit back and relax. They always have something new that’s in their development pipeline, and there are some useful new features they’ll be releasing that can help in organizing and managing your Google Drive.
Improved Google Drive Auditing Capabilities: Google is developing a way to audit when any user copies a file into an external shared drive for security-conscious companies. Interestingly, it’s a new level of accountability and transparency for the company that shared the file and the company that received the file. Google’s new feature will send audit logs to the admins of both organizations. So, for example, if a user copies a Doc from Company A to Company B’s shared drive, the admins of both accounts can access the activity audit log.
Flexible sharing boundaries with Drive trust rules Google is developing flexible and granular document sharing policies to control internal and external sharing. For example, ensure that your team can’t share outside their department. Or share only with a specific organizational unit or group share with external users.
What you might NOT know about Google Drive
There are a lot of things you can do in Google Drive that many aren’t aware of. Here are a few useful features you can use to help out your company in taking care of your Google Drive.
How to Create Google Drive Shortcuts to ⚡ streamline version control (2022 Feature Update)
2022 News: Beginning in early 2022, Google said that they would be migrating existing files in multiple locations to shortcuts. Google Workspace Admins will have options on how they want Google to proceed with automating this step for every file duplicate, with only shared files within your org or other trusted domains or never.
Though they’re a powerful tool in keeping down duplicate files and providing speedy access, many people are out of the loop when it comes to how to organize Google Drive shortcuts.
A shortcut is pretty simple, right-click on the file to find Add Shortcut to Drive. It’s just a link that points to another file or folder somewhere in a shared Google Drive. They’re great in cutting down on multiple copies of the same file and minimizing the number of files you have to keep track of in it.
A single person can create up to 500 Google Drive shortcuts for each folder or file, and each can hold 5,000 shortcuts contributed by anyone. Google Drive shortcuts provide visibility and quick access to everyone on a shared folder or drive.
New Google Drive Location Column
This feature is rolling out in June 2022. To make it easier to understand what folder a file is stored in Google is adding a Location column. Now you can hover and view the entire path.
Google Drive PDF editor lets you edit files without Adobe Acrobat
We’ll let you in on a little secret – it’s possible to bring in a PDF into your Google Drive and make changes to it. This is another feature that many miss when using Google Drive. Google drive PDF editor allows you to edit a PDF file by converting it into a Google Doc.
How to edit a pdf in google drive:
1. From your Google Drive, right-click on the PDF file that you want to edit in Google Docs.
2. Click on ‘Open with’ and choose ‘Google Docs’ and it will open your PDF as a Docs file.
For any business that works with PDFs often Google Drive PDF editor is a pretty slick and helpful feature they can use to take care of this often tedious task.
Google’s 🎯 target audiences feature allows sharing to be set to specific groups
This is a newer piece of functionality that you may not be aware of. Google now makes it easier to designate a target audience when sharing files or folders.
With this new development launched in February 2021, those with admin rights can set up link-shares to Google Drive files for designated groups. Granting sharing amongst a select group allows for better privacy and security and provides a faster way to share with colleagues.
ℹ️ Click here for more information about using this helpful new feature.
Add relevant keywords directly in file descriptions
It’s easy to forget about file descriptions in Google Drive, but don’t miss out on utilizing them.
File descriptions have a great deal of potential in helping manage files and sharing important information. Including searchable keywords in a file, and descriptions make it quicker to identify them.
Google Drive’s advanced search makes it easy to search for specific words and file types, enabling quick access to relevant files without having to scroll through every single one. After you select an item, you’ll see corresponding information about the item in the details panel to the right of your documents list. Anyone on your team should be able to glance at these descriptions and know exactly what the files are.
💡 File description tip: Much like tagging, if you’re creating descriptions for shared files and folders, make sure that they’re meaningful and easy to remember for everyone on a team.
How do Google Drive Shareable Links work? 🔗
A Google Drive share link lets you share one file at a time. Through Google Drive Shareable links you can restrict and grant access to specific people, or set it up so that anyone with a link at your company can get in.
How to share multiple files with one Google Drive Shareable Link?
Most people know how to share files on Google Drive but they don’t know how to share multiple files in bulk, though it’s a simple operation.
To get started, select multiple files in your Google Drive, then click the Google Drive shareable link icon at the top of the page. Keep in mind, that you can only assign one type of file permission when you select and want to share multiple files. Essentially, the Google Drive share link is multi-functional for sharing one or many files.
How to create a force copy link? 📋
Often, when we want to share a file with someone else, we don’t want them to be able to make changes or edits to the original copy. You can actually do this in Google Drive, using a force copy link. A force copy link requires them to make a copy of the file, retaining the source file in its original location.
Follow these steps in creating a force copy link in Google Drive:
1. Open the file in Google Drive
2. Click ‘Share’
3. Select ‘Anyone with the link’
4. Copy the link
5. Paste the link into any editor – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1J7jYZdcpDH8jai_4VZN8e_fw_Mp2tR5YTKPVoC6CWkQ/edit?usp=sharing
6. Replace the entire last section from “edit?usp=sharing” to “copy” – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1J7jYZdcpDH8jai_4VZN8e_fw_Mp2tR5YTKPVoC6CWkQ/copy
How to save a web page directly to your Google Drive?
It’s possible to save web content straight to your Google Drive. The Save to Google Drive plugin provides a speedy way to add images, documents, as well as HTML5 based videos and audio. You can also save a file as a link in your Google Drive if you don’t want to download it. This plugin enables you to right-click on something you’d like from a website and select ‘Save to Google Drive’ to grab it.
What is the difference between Google Drive Filestream vs Google Drive Desktop?
This is another common question that many wonder about.
What was once called Google Drive File Stream is now known as Google Drive Desktop.
The Google Drive Desktop App allows you to automatically sync Google Drive files that are stored in the cloud onto your computer. You even have the option to create two-way synchronization. If your computer crashes you can still get to these files in the cloud from any machine. This is an important safety net to have in place.
To use Google File Stream offline with your desktop you’ll just need to change one default setting. Any work you complete offline will automatically sync to the cloud when you’re back online.
Install Google Drive Desktop (formerly Google drive filestream download)
What is the difference between Google Drive Backup and Sync vs Google Drive File Stream?
There’s a straightforward divide between the two. Google Drive Backup and Sync is meant for individuals, while Google Drive Desktop (formerly Google Drive File Stream) is geared for teams. At the end of the day, their purpose is to sync google drive.
They both function in similar ways, however, there are a few key limitations between Google Drive Backup and Sync and Google Drive File Stream (Google Drive for Desktop).
The many differences between Google Drive Backup and Sync vs. drive file stream include:
Google Photos is considered a consumer product and because of this, it’s not available for Google Drive Desktop.
Backup and Sync won’t bring files into Google Drive Share Folders
The Google Drive for Desktop App enables users to see edits on Microsoft Office files as they’re being made with the real-time presence feature.
Google Drive for Desktop integrates with Microsoft Outlook, Meet scheduling
Certain virus detection and security software can interfere with the operations of Google Drive for Desktop.
If you want to learn about how to install Google Drive File Stream or Backup and Sync Google Drive click here.
How to clear storage on Google Workspace?
You can find out what files are taking up space in your Google Drive and delete what you no longer need.
Here is how to clear storage on google drive:
1. Open your Google Drive
2. Click on the Gear icon, then select ‘Settings’
3. Select ‘General’
4. Go to View storage details
5. See all of the items taking up storage space
There are a few ways your ☁️ storage can get eaten up, pushing you to your storage quota:
Every email and associated attachments, whether it’s in your inbox, or sitting in your Trash, Spam other folders count towards your storage quota.
Keeping uncompressed originals of your videos and photos in Google Photos can take up a lot of space.
Various file formats including images, videos, and PDFs count towards your storage quota.
Any files or documents created through collaborative platforms like Google Docs or Jamboard can take up storage space.
Only files made or edited after June 1, 2021 count towards your storage quota
Google Drive Search Chips in Documents
Rolled out, in February 2022, this is a feature that helps you refine your search. However, it doesn’t appear until you use the search bar in Google Drive.
Google Smart Chips in Documents
This is a new hidden feature that’s broader than Google Drive but worth sharing. Insert smart chips into a Document, Sheet, Slide, and Calendar Invite to add context about people, files, dates, and events. Just insert your @ sign into a document as you see in this screenshot and a list of options is available to insert. This is handy when you want to insert and reference a related document, GSheet, calendar invites, etc.
1. Open a GDoc
2. Insert an @ sign and the following box will appear
How to use Google Workspace Shared Drives to improve file organization 🗃️
Setting your company’s Google Drive Share Drive-up so that it’s easy to navigate, allows your team to work smoothly, and to keep up their productivity.
With multiple people having access to these shared team drives, there can be a constant flow of changes to files and folders. How do you keep things organized logically so that team members can get to what they need fast, and make their workflow more efficient? Not to mention, colleagues don’t have to worry about how to share files on Google Drive with shared folders.
Let’s take a look at the best ways how to organize Google Drive with policies.
Google Drive Management Best Practices
Google Drive Management depends on having in place protocols for naming and tagging files and designating specific people in overseeing this.
1. Figure out a system
You might make it a policy to have team members always save files directly to the shared drive instead of on their computers so that the most up-to-date versions can be accessed at any time by whoever needs them. Every employee should have Google for Desktop (formerly known as Google File Stream) set up to ensure local and cloud files are always accessible and in sync. Create procedures employees should follow in saving their files.
2. Put someone in charge of Google Drive management
Designate an administrator responsible for controlling who has access to view, edit, or delete files on your company’s Google Drive.
Develop a Google Drive tagging structure that provides multiple paths to find information faster.
They should also be in charge of tidying up the files when needed, keeping up the organization, adding any necessary folders and Google Drive tags.
3. Develop a migration process
Determine who is going to set up the initial structure for the company and its teams. Come up with a plan to ensure that everyone is following through in migrating their files. And make sure that everyone is in the know about where everyone’s at in the file migration process.
What you need to know about deploying Google Drive Shared Drive
Before you establish a Google Drive Shared Drive, you should know the ins and outs of using one. Let’s dive into some of the essential information you should be aware of.
What is the difference between Google Drive Shared Drive and Shared Folders?
Companies need to understand the benefits of transitioning to Google Drive Shared Drive as opposed to letting their employees use the general Google Drive shared folders. It may seem obvious, but there are limitations that companies should be aware of when they’re setting up Google Drive Share folders.
What are the benefits of using Google Shared Drive over Google Drive Shared Folders?
Only administrators can move Google Drive shared folders allowing for tight control. File-sharing can be overseen with a more advanced set of rules.
It’s easier to make content accessible. When adding an individual to a group, they are automatically set up with access to all of its designated shared drive spaces. Colleagues no longer have to worry about sending out Google Drive share links to members of their team.
If an employee moves on, there’s no difficulty in finding and having access to their files. Your company is the sole proprietor of files in the Google Drive share folders. Even if an admin deletes everything related to a former employee, these files remain.
Content can be synced to a desktop as well as in the cloud, providing access through Google Drive for Desktop
It’s possible to assign outside users to a shared drive. When they make contributions, like bringing in new files or documents, they’re kept in the company’s shared drive, with the company retaining ownership.
Google Shared Drive safeguards files from being deleted or moved by people assigned to the shared drive.
📁 Folder Permissions drive organization
After you create your Google Shared Drive folder it’s important to know how permissions work before you share folders in Google Drive.
Google recently made it possible to add permissions for departmental and team folders as well as subfolders with different tiers including viewer, commenter, and content manager. It’s even possible to give a team member view-only access to the shared folder rights to edit a specific file within it.
In one of Digitile’s use cases, everyone on our sales team had viewer rights to the Sales folder with all our sales collateral, meaning they couldn’t make edits to any of these files. However, we assigned our Sales Manager commenter rights. We did this so our Sales Manager could provide feedback to his team and the marketing team on these files while making sure that no one else could alter them.
Google Shared Drive is a great platform, but it does have its limitations:
🚫 Up to 100 people can be working on files at the same moment, which can cause confusion and frustration.
🚫 If someone doesn’t have a Gmail account, it’s not possible to share a top-level folder. Generally, this doesn’t have any impact as employees are most likely already assigned as owners to given folders.
|View shared drives, files, and folders|
|Comment on files in shared drives|
|Make, approve, and reject edits in files|
|Create and upload files and create folders in shared drives|
|Add people and groups to specific files in shared drives|
|Add people and groups to specific folders in shared drives|
|Move files and folders from a shared drive to My Drive|
|Move files and folders within a shared drive|
|Move files and folders from one shared drive to another shared drive|
|Move shared drive files and folders into the trash|
|Permanently delete files and folders in the trash|
|Restore files and folders from trash (up to 30 days)|
Should your company choose Google Drive or go with Dropbox?
At Digitile, our mission is to improve how companies manage their files, with our product working with either platform. We’ve done much research, and want to let you know the advantages and disadvantages of using one over the other.
Dropbox vs Google Drive
Let’s look at the key differences between Dropbox business vs Google Drive business. There are plenty of articles out there comparing Dropbox vs Google Drive discussing their features, storage capabilities, and security. We’re going to take a bit of a different approach, exploring the features important to business owners in managing their everyday tasks, and how they can be used to foster better collaboration within their companies.
Depending on the use cases, and specific needs for teams and the individuals who are a part of them, they may need something different from their file-sharing platforms.
Google Drive vs Dropbox
Dropbox and Google Drive file sharing both have comparable features and allow for setting file permissions on both their subscription and free levels of service.
Interestingly enough, Dropbox includes a more robust set of link-sharing capabilities designed for businesses. Dropbox gives users the option for implementing a password or setting a date for the link to expire. These features in Dropbox provide a higher level of security and control that’s not possible with Google Drive. For businesses, Dropbox has a deeper set of file sharing options than Google Drive file sharing.
Both Dropbox and Google Drive give file owners and editors the ability to turn off the options to download, print, and copy, giving a higher level of control over their distribution.
Shared Drive Folders
Shared folders offer a single hub of content for all of your teams to work from. They’re more secure, make content easier to find as well as to share.
There is an important distinction between Google Drive and Dropbox team folder permissions that business users should be aware of. Google has a broader set of shared folder permissions that go beyond the standard editor and viewer. Google also offers permission levels of commenter, content manager, and manager. These different roles can be assigned depending on the use case. There may be a situation where you need to give a third party the ability to comment, without being able to make edits. Google offers more flexibility with setting permissions.
One other useful Shared Drive Folder feature is themes. The folder admin can set up a theme for each folder to make them easier to identify with an image that represents categories like Marketing, Sales, HR, Accounting, and so on. In the Dropbox vs Google bake-off for Shared Drive Folders, Google offers a more tasty banquet of permissions for specialized use cases.
Google offers an enhanced way to search 🔎
On average it takes eight attempts for employees to find the right file. This can slow workflow down considerably.
We can think of a powerful search engine like being the brain running the central nervous system of any file storage solution. The smarter a search engine is, the faster it will find results.
Our research has brought to light why employees waste so much valuable time looking for files. We observed that Google Drive search embraced a robust multi-threaded search methodology designed to generate highly efficient search results. To our surprise, the quality of search results generated by Dropbox’s search engine tends to leave users hanging with no or low-scoring search match results and unfortunately, poor search results lead to lost momentum. Here’s a chart to help you compare Dropbox vs Google Drive.
|Search Methodology||Google Drive Search||Dropbox Search|
|📖 Natural Language Processing|
|👓 Optical Character Recognition|
|📷 Image Recognition|
|Filters||Google Drive Search Filters||Dropbox Search Filters|
|👍 Workflow Approvals|
Google Drive vs Dropbox Native Ecosystem
Google Drive’s native ecosystem, GSuite offers far more than Dropbox. Dropbox attempted to take on Google and Microsoft with the release of Dropbox Paper, however, its feature-depth is lacking and hasn’t been widely adopted.
Google Drive vs Dropbox 3rd party 🌐 Ecosystem
Both companies have a vast set of partners that provide a wide range of services and plugins to enhance your user experience with their solutions. It’s difficult to quantify who has the better third-party integrations out there. Google Workspace Marketplace vs. Dropbox Marketplace
👉 Final thoughts to Improve Your Team’s Google Workspace Productivity 👈
Google Drive Workspace is the primary means of cloud storage for many businesses and there are numerous features and ways to better utilize it. Though we’ve focused mainly on how to organize Google Drive, Dropbox can’t be discounted for what it offers. Digitile’s file management and tagging platform work both for Google Drive and Dropbox.
Though it may seem like you have an overwhelming amount of files to organize, the most important thing is to take that first step. Come up with a plan, determine the best way to organize Google Workspace for your business, and execute a strategy for better managing your files.
When you think about how to organize Google Drive for your business you don’t have to take them all on at once. Start small and eventually you’ll get there. What matters is taking action and incremental steps towards how to organize Google Drive. We hope that you’ll consider Digitile as a digital asset management solution for Google Drive.