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Become a Google Drive Power User

Google Drive has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. Currently, it has more than 1.5 billion users worldwide and hosts several exabytes of data (an exabyte is 1,000 petabytes or 1 billion gigabytes).

Whether you’re a Google Drive veteran or a new user, you can benefit from these time-saving tips and tricks. Let’s dig in.

1. Organize Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides within Folders   

One of the first things you’ll notice after installing Drive is that all your files are automatically saved to a “My Drive” folder. Although having everything in one place makes it easier to find files, it can also get disorganized rather quickly if you don’t take the time to organize your files.

That’s where folders come in. Right-click on My Drive and select “New Folder.” Name it, then use it to keep all your files nice and neat by creating subfolders within the folder.

You can also create folders within other folders — just right-click, rename, and you’re all set. You can even create nested folders to any level of depth (so long as you don’t go more than nine layers deep).

2. Use the “Make a copy” Feature to Create Multiple Copies of Docs, Sheets, and Slides   

Use the “Make a copy” feature on a folder and select “New Folder.”

3. Save Emails to Drive

If you find yourself saving lots of documents, spreadsheets, and presentations to Google Drive, try this trick for saving emails as well.

Enable the Gmail “Send & Archive” button.

When you’re composing an email in Gmail, look under the “More” button for the “Send & Archive” button. When you click it, your email will be saved to Drive as a new document with all the text from your email message included.

4. Create Custom Keyboard Shortcuts

If you find yourself typing out long URLs or phrases over and over again, create a new keyboard shortcut on the Google Chrome browser for your most-used keywords.

For example, when you type “goo” into the URL bar and then press Ctrl + Enter, Google Chrome will automatically fill in “http://www.google.com.” It saves lots of time if you’re frequently browsing Google sites.

Much like shortcuts, Drive has its own set of keyboard shortcuts that can save you lots of time. Here are a few to get you started:

Ctrl + Shift + N = Create new document

Alt + Up Arrow Key = Move selection up one item

Alt + Down Arrow Key = Move selection down one item

Ctrl+Shift+H= Show keyboard shortcuts at the top of the screen.

Ctrl+S = Save your current document

Ctrl+Shift+S = Save a copy of your current document

5. Search for Images within Drive

If you have a ton of images saved in Drive and don’t remember the filename, this trick can come in handy. Just type “site:drive.google.com/” into the search bar followed by a keyword. For example, if you want to search for a file named “summer vacation,” type site:drive.google.com/ “summer vacation” into the search bar and Google will pull up everything it can find related to your keywords.

6. Search for Docs, Sheets, and Slides within Drive

If you want to search for a specific type of file, you can use the following syntax in your Google Drive search:

type:”document” [keyword]

type:”spreadsheet” [keyword]

type:”presentation” [keyword]

For example, if I wanted to find all my presentations on business growth, I would type:

type:”presentation” business growth

7. Search for Emails within Drive

This trick is similar to searching for files, but you’ll use “kind:email” at the end of your search instead. The reason it’s important to include “kind:email” and not just “type:email,” is that Drive will first try to pull up any files with “email” in the name and then give you all email-related results.

kind:email [keyword]

8. Send Video from Drive as an Attachment

If you want to share a video on Drive with somebody (let’s say you created it within Slides), attach the video to an email simply by dragging the file into your message.

9. Use Slides to Make Presentations Collaborative

If you want others to be able to make changes to your presentation while you work on it, click “Share” in the upper right-hand corner of the window and select “Invite People.” You can then send the link to collaborators.

10. Use Docs to Create a Template for New Documents

If you want others to be able to make changes to your document, click “Share” in the upper right-hand corner of the window and select “Invite People.” You can then send the link to collaborators.

11. Open Images in Full Screen

If you want to click through an album of pictures on Drive, just double-click the image. This will open it in a new window so you can see all the images at once.

12. Compress Images before Uploading Them

When uploading files to Drive from your computer, some file types are automatically compressed without you having to do anything. However, files that aren’t already compressed may take a lot of space. To save some space on Drive, click the file you want to compress and click “Details” in the upper right-hand corner. Then select “Compress” from the available options.

13. Edit Google Docs as a Word Document

If you need to edit a word document within Google Docs, click the “File” menu and select “Download as Word Document.” This will make it easy to edit your files using Microsoft Word.

14. Scan Documents

Google Drive has a built-in scanning feature for digitizing images of documents or whiteboards. To use it, open the “Tools” menu and select “Scan Document.” This will snap a picture of your document that you can then upload or share as usual.

15. Use Menus for Easy Navigation

If you have trouble remembering what each menu item does, hovering over each one will pop up a short description.

16. Pause Uploads on Google Drive

If you’re about to accidentally upload a large file and want to stop it, just click the “X” that appears in the upper right-hand corner. This will pause the upload until you’re ready to resume.

17. Drag and Drop Files within Drive

To move a file from one folder to another, simply click on the file and drag it to the destination.

18. Add Labels for Easy Organization

If you need quick access to a folder, add a label so you can find it more easily by clicking the “+” in the upper left-hand corner and selecting “Label.”

19. Use Google Drive Offline

You can view and edit your files without an internet connection by going to “Offline” in the upper right-hand corner. This will let you work on your files whether you’re online or not, but be aware that they won’t sync until you connect again.

20. Drag and Drop Files from Desktop

You can add files directly from your desktop to Google Drive by dragging and dropping.

21. Create a Google Account without Gmail

You don’t have to sign up for a Gmail account in order to use Drive. You can create your own Google Account by going to drive.google.com and clicking “Create account.” You’ll then be able to access all of Drive’s features without signing into Gmail, but you won’t be able to use Gmail unless you sign up for a free account.

Google Drive is a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of purposes. In this article, we’ve listed 21 tips and tricks to help you get the most out of Google Drive. Whether you’re looking to scan documents, compress images, or edit files as a Word document, we’ve got you covered. This cloud-based storage system is perfect for anyone who wants an easy way to back up their files or collaborate with others. If you’re not already taking advantage of all that Google Drive has to offer, now is the time to start.

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