Google Drive is one of the most versatile tools that you can have in your toolkit, and it can do everything from helping you manage your calendar to keeping all your work organized in one place.
With all the features that Google Drive offers, even its most frequent users don’t know about some of the most interesting ones. So I’ve composed a list of tips to help you get the most out of Google Drive. You’ll be surprised to know how much the tool can add to your productivity.
1. Access files offline
One of the best features of Google Drive is that you can access your files even when you’re offline. This can be helpful if you’re on a plane or in an area with no internet access.
- Open Google Drive on your computer and click on the gear icon to open Settings in the top-right corner.
- Select the General tab and scroll down to the Offline section.
- Here, check the box beside create, open and edit files offline.
Now, when you’re not connected to the internet, you’ll still be able to access your files and work on them.
2. Share files with controlled access
Google Drive gives you the ability to share files with other people, but you can also control what they can and can’t do with the file. For example, you can give someone permission to view a file but not edit it.
- To share a file, open Google Documents and in the top-right corner, click on the Share button to open it in Google Drive.
- Then provide the email addresses of those you’d like to share it with and choose the level of access you want them to have.
- Click Editor and a drop-down menu will appear where you can select Viewer, Commenter, or Editor to adjust what the receiver may do with your file.
- Check the Notify people option if you wish to let others know you’ve shared a file with them.
- There’s another option to share the documents through a link. To do this, click on the Get Link bar and adjust the share settings accordingly.
- Lastly, click Done to share the document.
3. Collaborate on documents/ projects
Those days are long gone when emails went to and fro for modifying one document or project. You may now easily collaborate with others in real-time using Google Drive. You can choose to allow your co-editors to modify and update a Google Drive file when you share it with them.
You have other sharing options too like:
- File – to view additional sharing options.
- Download – share a file by downloading it in a different format like a Word document, PDF file, or HTML text.
- Publish to the web – create a simple webpage of your document.
- Email as an attachment – send your file as an email attachment.
- Email collaborators – send an email that includes a link to your file.
Moreover, Google Drive offers tools that make collaborating with coworkers really easy, including chat, comment, and revision history. To know more about these features, please view the image below:
To view a thread with all comments relating to the file sorted chronologically, click the Comment button. You can also leave new comments or respond to existing ones.
Hover your cursor over the Share button to see a description of the current visibility settings for the file. To change the file’s sharing settings, click the Share button. You can share your file with others, change the file’s visibility, or generate a sharable link.
3. Currently Viewing and Chat
To chat with others who are currently viewing the file, click here (see number 3 in the figure). It’s worth noting that chats aren’t kept in the Comments section.
When a collaborator edits a file, a brightly colored cursor appears when they are editing. Any modifications made by the individual will be visible in real-time.
5. Adding Comments
You can use comments to attach a quick message to a specific file portion. Any remark you make is visible to your collaborators, who can respond to it. To comment, right-click on the text you wish to remark on, then pick Comment from the drop-down menu. Your collaborators can respond to the comment by Replying or Resolving it.
4. Chat while collaborating
Google Drive offers a real-time chat feature so you can communicate with your collaborators while you work on the same document. This can be helpful if you want to ask someone a question or get their opinion on something. To use the chat feature:
- Open a Google Drive file (document, spreadsheet, or presentation).
- Select Chat from the drop-down menu at the top right. If you’re the only person in the file, this feature won’t work.
- Fill in the chatbox with your message.
- You can close the chat window by clicking Close in the top right corner when you’re finished.
Note: Anyone viewing the file is included in all chats in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. The conversations aren’t kept on file.
5. Assign tasks to others via comments
If you want to assign a task to someone, you can do so by adding a comment to the document. Comments are a great way to keep track of what needs to be done and who is responsible for doing it.
- Open the document and click on the Comment button in the bottom-right corner to add a comment.
- Then type your comment and hit Enter.
6. Use templates
Google Drive comes with several templates you can use to create documents quickly and easily. For example, there is a template for creating resumes, invoices, and meeting agendas. To use this:
- Open Google Drive and click on the New button in the top-left corner to access the templates.
- Then select Template where you can then search for the type of template you need.
7. Use keyboard shortcuts
Google Drive comes with several keyboard shortcuts that can save you time working with documents. For example, you can press Ctrl+S on your keyboard to save a document.
- To see a complete list of the keyboard shortcuts, open Google Drive and click on the Help button in the top-right corner.
- Then in the search box, type Keyboard shortcuts. Here you will get numerous results.
- From this list, pick the one you need and then click Enter.
8. Use the OCR feature
Google Drive also contains a nifty text recognition tool tucked away in the web interface (and the Android app, unfortunately not in the iOS app). This tool, called Optical Character Recognition (OCR), can scan an image and extract the text.
- Simply upload an image or PDF in Google Drive and right-click on the files and select Open with.
- Then click on Google Doc to turn the image/PDF into a modifiable “text-only” document.
9. Personalize your files
Google Drive lets you personalize your files by changing the text font, size, and color. You can also add an image to your files. Here’s how to do it:
- Open the document and click on the Format button.
- Then select Text and make your changes.
- To add an image, click on the Insert button, select Image, and you’ll be given different options to choose how you want to add the image.
10. Star files and folders
If you need to access a file or folder often, you can Star it so it’s easier to find it later. Here’s how to do that:
- Open it and click on the Star button.
- The star will turn yellow to indicate that the file or folder has been starred.
Further, if you want to see all of your starred files and folders.
- Open Google Drive and click on the Starred button in the left-side navigation panel.
- Here you will see all your starred files or folders in one place.
11. Use advanced search
You can use advanced search to find files and folders quickly and easily. For example, you can use advanced search to find files that were modified in the last week or files that contain a certain word or phrase.
- To use the advanced search, open Google Drive and navigate to the search bar.
- Then type in your search keywords and hit Enter.
- Or, you can select the search options to open a more detailed search form. Fill out that form, then click on Search.
12. Attach a file to a Google Calendar events
Google Drive lets you attach files to Google Calendar events. This is a great way to keep all of your event-related documents in one place.
- To attach a file, open Google Calendar and create or edit an event.
- Then click on the Add button and select File attachment. You can then select the file you want to attach.
13. Keep track of Google Drive activity and file versions
If you want to keep track of the activity in your Google Drive account or the versions of your files, you can do so using the Activity and Versions features. The Activity feature lets you see a list of recent changes made to your files. The Versions feature lets you see a list of all the previous versions of a file and revert back to a previous version if needed. To access the Activity feature:
- Open Google Drive and click on the View Details button in the top-left corner.
- Then select Activity.
- To access the Versions feature, open the file you want to track and click on the File button in the top corner.
- Then select Version history.
Here you will see two options: Name current version (Name this version to keep track of it in version history) and See version history. By clicking See version history, the entire work history will display on the screen.
14. Use voice typing
If you want to type without using your hands, you can use the voice typing feature in Google Drive.
- To use voice typing, open Google Drive, click on the New button, and select “Google Docs.”
- In the doc, go to Tools and a list of options will appear.
- Here click on Voice Typing.
You can then start speaking, and your text will appear in the document.
15. Translate documents to other languages
Language translation is a built-in feature in Google Drive. This means that you can translate documents to and from other languages with just a few clicks. This feature will enable you to work with colleagues and clients from around the world. To use this feature:
- Open the document you want to translate and click on the Tools menu at the top.
- Then select Translate document. You can then choose the languages you want to translate between.
16. Save files and images to Google Drive on Mobile
The best part about Google Drive is that you can access it from anywhere, including your phone. This means that you can easily save files and images to your Google Drive account while on the go. To do this:
- Open the file or image you want to save and select the Share button.
- Then select Add to Drive. You will then be prompted to sign in to your Google Drive account. Once you’ve signed in, the file or image will be saved to your Google Drive account.
17. Attaching files to Gmail
You may attach files from Google Drive to your Gmail messages, allowing you to work together on a document or share photos with family, friends, and colleagues.
This how you can do it:
- Open Gmail and compose a new message.
- Select Google Drive from the drop-down menu.
- Choose the files you’d like to attach.
- Decide how you want to send the file at the bottom of the page:
- This link works for any file stored in Google Drive, including documents generated using Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Forms.
- Attachment: This feature is only available for files that were not created with Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Forms.
- Once done, select Insert.
Gmail checks to determine if your recipients have access to a Google Drive file when you attach it to a message. If they don’t, you’ll be asked to adjust the file’s sharing settings before sending your message.
18. Auto-generate Table of Contents
You might not think of Google Drive as a place to create a table of contents, but it actually does a great job of it. You can use this feature to automatically generate a table of contents for long documents.
A table of contents allows you to see the structure of your document. You can add or remove the table of content any time.
- Open a Google Docs document on your PC and place your cursor where you’d want to add the table of content in the document.
- Go to Insert and scroll down to Table of Contents. You can also choose the appearance of the table of contents.
- To delete the table of content, simply right-click on it and select the Delete table of contents.
19. Access the deleted files
You can access the deleted files of your Google Drive account. If you delete a file from your Google Drive account, it will be moved to the Trash folder. The Trash folder is a special folder in Google Drive that stores all of the files that have been deleted from your account.
The Trash folder is only available to you. This means that you can access it from any device or computer that is connected to your Google Drive account. All the files in the Trash folder are automatically removed after 30 days.
To access the Trash folder:
- Open Google Drive and go to Trash in the left-side panel.
- You will then see a list of all of the files that have been deleted from your account. You can then restore any of the files that you want.
20. Edit Documents and Spreadsheets with mobile app
Many times, you’re required to access and edit documents and spreadsheets on the go and a mobile app does a really good job in helping you out with that.
Google Drive is a powerful cloud-based storage service that allows you to easily store and share files with others. In this article, we have covered some of the best tips and tricks for using Google Drive.
These tips help you get the most out of Google Drive. We have covered how to create and edit documents and spreadsheets, how to attach files to Gmail messages, and how to access the deleted files of your account. We hope that you find these tips helpful