When it comes to productivity and collaboration in the digital age, Google Drive is a key software tool. Once you start using it and get used to the user interface, you will wonder how you survived before it.
Google Drive offers a seamless system for cloud file storage and document collaboration in real time. Boasting of more storage than Dropbox offers for free, many were excited about the possibilities when it first launched. The excitement came somewhat to a halt when users realized that there’s limited functionality for tagging files for easy retrieval in relevant search.
Because of this, a major downside for many new users of Google Drive is adequately keeping track of everything you save in this cloud storage provider. With this in mind, we’ve curated a list of tried and true productivity tips to help you organize Google Drive.
#1: Add Searchable Keywords In File Descriptions
Think like an SEO: add easily searchable keywords to your file descriptions to save you time and a headache when trying to recall relevant files. Descriptions hold a lot of potential for sharing information and file management.
Not unlike their regular search tool, Google Drive’s advanced search tools make it easy to search for specific words and file types, making it easy to quickly access relevant files without having to scroll through everything in your Drive! Once you select an item, you’ll see corresponding information about the item in the details panel to the right of your documents list.
You can also make your descriptions stand out in the way you format them:
- Use underscores to italicize words
- Use asterisks to bold a word
- Use hyphens to strikethrough a word
#2: Sort Files By Type, Name, Or Modification Dates
One of the best ways to organize Google Drive in a useful way is to sort your files by different factors. This is easy to do using the “sort options” button to the right side of the toolbar (it looks like an upside down triangle). After you click on the icon, you’ll be given options to sort by the file’s name, last modified date, or when it was last opened by you.
It’s worth noting that searching for a file using the search bar at the top of the screen is definitely the best way to find something that you’ve misplaced. Click into the search bar and a window will pop up allowing you to insert search operators referring to the type of file you are looking for.
Let’s assume that you select the option to search for a certain file type. In this situation, “type:[filetype]” will appear in the search bar, and you’ll see a list of relevant files that you have in your Drive. Scrolling through this list is a good place to start your search to recover a specific file. Note that you can also refine the output further by filtering with additional search operators.
#3: Organize Google Drive Folders with Color Coding
Color coding your Google Drive folders will improve your memory of which files are stored in what specific folders. For some, coming up with a hierarchy of folders is the most helpful way of maintaining an organized system. For those who are more visual, this system is the way to go. A burst of color is an ideal break from the otherwise muted tones associated with Google Drive.
It’s really simple to organize Google Drive folders with color coding: just right-click on a folder and you’ll be able to select a corresponding color. Set specific colors for certain clients/work tasks, personal tasks, and more!
#4: Get Familiar with the Star Tool For Working Files
If you use Gmail, you’re likely familiar with the ability to “star” important emails for easy access and recall. You can also organize Google Drive for a similar purpose, using the star tool to bring important files (or files you’re working on currently) to the top of your attention. Keeping files you are working on separate from those that are already completed can keep things less cluttered so that nothing important goes missing.
#5: Save All Shared Files To Your Drive
Before you complete this checklist to organize Google Drive, make sure to add all of your “Shared with me” files to your Google Drive. This will help you to achieve one ultimate view/database of all your files.
This can be especially helpful when working on a project with other people. Once the file is shared with you, make it a habit to also add it to a relevant Google Drive folder. This allows you to easily access working documents and continue to work on them until finished.
#6: Using the Digitile Tagging System
For organization fanatics, tags are a real time saver. When you're dealing with countless files and pending deadlines, you don't have time to sort through all of your documents. Even when utilizing all of these tips to organize Google Drive, you might be wondering how you can survive without functionality for tagging documents. You aren't alone.
Digitile lets you add tags, phew, finally a tool that makes Google Drive easier to use! Powered by artificial intelligence, Digitile auto-tags your Google Drive files. In addition, you have the flexibility to add custom tags designed to provide team-wide visibility of every file, whether they're in the team shared folders or your own. Digitile works to give Google Drive users a familiar method of organization, without missing out on all of the perks of Google Drive.
Try it out!
#7: Advanced Search
Hunting through thousands of files is tedious and annoying. With Google Drives Advanced Search, you can search by file type, date modified or a date range, file owner, shared with and even keywords within the document.
#8 Search for Google Drive Files via the Chrome Browser Bar
Put your fingers on a Google Drive file quickly through the Chrome browser bar. It’s such a simple solution, here are step by step instructions.
- Open Chrome Browser Tab
- Settings -> Search engines
- Add -> Search engine: Google Drive
- Keyword: drive
- URL: https://drive.google.com/drive/search?q=%s
Now, in your Chrome Browser bar type drive (lower case), space bar and then your search keyword. Here’s the flow.
In your Chrome browser, type “drive” and you should see it change to this:
Press Space Bar and you will see ‘“drive” change to this:
Then, add your keyword search after the pipe which and press enter
After enter, it will automatically take you to Google Drive and search for the keyword e.g. “dashboard”
#9: Bonus Tip: Cover Your Bases, File Twice With A Shortcut
In Google Drive, shortcut Shift + Z makes it super easy to add the file to another folder. This means you can have your file in a folder that you normally work with, and it also shows up in a shared folder. This feature allows the file to be visible in two separate locations, not as copies of the file, but as the same file in two places.
Final Thoughts: 8 Tips To Organize Your Google Drive (Without Tags)
Whether you are using Google Drive for school, work, or personal life, these tips to organize Google Drive will ensure that you can find the right file at the right time.
For more tips on file management, read up on organizational expertise on the Digitile blog.