Organizing Your Google Drive

You may not know it by looking at my house all of the time, but I like to have things organized.  As a teacher I kept all of my files within folders that were within folders that were within folders. And you know what? I could find anything when I needed to.

Organizing my Google Drive has been a little trickier, and thus is the impetus for Tech Thursday this week.

Here are my tips:
There's nothing like having someone show you their google drive with a list of hundreds of documents. It causes me anxiety (almost as much as seeing hundreds or thousands of unread emails!).

There are three ways to move files into folders:

  • Drag them over. You can select as many files as you'd like, then drag them into the applicable location.
  • Select the file (by clicking on the box next to it). This will create a new menu across the top of your screen. Click on the folder.  This will give you the option to choose where you'd like to put it.
  • If your file is already open, click on the folder at the top next to the file name. This will allow you to choose a folder.
Now that you have folders, you need to be able to find them.
  • Color code. You can change the color of your folders; maybe have different colors for each of your courses? Or make the most-used folders a certain color?  In your list view, select the folder then go to the "More" menu at the top. One of your options is "Change color".
          I don't have a nice organized color-coding 
          system yet. I just like to see a variety of 
          colors for fun.
  • Starring.  I'm guessing you knew you can star emails that you deem important; did you know that you can star files and folders? Check out the star next to the Title. Click on it, then go to "Starred" in your left column. That will bring up any files or folders that you've selected.     
  • Grid view. Within a folder, check out grid view; it will give you a visual of what's in your folder without having to open several different files. I tend to re-use file names a lot (which google doesn't have issues with) so I get confused about what specific file I'm looking for. If I can see the file that tends to help me narrow it down.
Grid view
  • Re-ordering your list. Google Drive defaults to an alphabetical list with your folders shown first. If you'd like to change that order, click on the applicable category across the top. I think seeing "Last Modified" is nice, especially if you're trying to find a recent file.
  • View recent activity. If you click on the little i in the top menu, a new sidebar will open on the right side of your screen. It shows all activity for your documents; a great way to access any files you've used in the past few days!
Even if you're using and organizing your folders, there may still be times when you can't find a specific file. Knowing how to search is a big help. 
  • If you enter in some keywords in the search bar you'll see options populate as you type. Clicking on the magnifying glass will produce a list of files/folders with those words in the title OR in the document itself. 
  • If you click on the dropdown in the search bar you can specify exactly what type of file it is that you're looking for. [It's even better in the new drive, but I'm guessing my peeps here are in the old, so that's who I'm catering to.]

The last couple of items I'm intending to share tomorrow are just comparisons of the old and new google drive. I read yesterday that the major change they made was to add images to file names to make them more easily viewable, especially because people are uploaded so many media files.  I'm still mostly stuck on docs (and sheets and forms) so the visual isn't as important to me.  I still feel like I need to do some research on that, though!


  1. I hate my Drive when I didn't have folders. I wasted so much time trying to find stuff. I haven't played around with colors yet--I'll have to try that out. Good luck on Tech Thursday!

  2. I hate Google Drive, and its mostly because I struggle with organizing it. MY files are fine, but I've had coworkers have issues with shared files (moving them, deleting from what should have only been their account but turned out to be everywhere) and that's where most of my stuff is. The clutter drives me nuts, but I'm afraid to delete or move anything and then I can't find it! I would love any tips about how to deal with those things!


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