Over time, with some neglect and potential laziness, your Google Drive can accrue tons of files and become a mess to find anything. Here’s how to organize your Drive to find everything fast and make sure it stays in order.
Organize Your Files Into Folders
One of the easiest ways to organize your Google Drive is to create category-specific folders. For example, you could have separate folders for pictures, documents, projects, or other descriptions to help you locate files.
From your Drive homepage, click the “New” button in the top left, and then click “Folder.”
Enter a name for the folder and click “Create.”
From here, drag the files you want to add directly into the new folder you created.
If you have a few files in other folders already and want to relocate them, no problem. Select the files, right-click, and then choose “Move To.”
Navigate to the destination folder, click it, and then select “Move” to transfer all the selected files to that folder.
Use a Naming Convention
Try to use a naming convention that helps you easily differentiate files and folders from each other. When you start to accumulate more items in your Drive, thoughtful names could save you from opening several files while you try to locate a specific one. Having multiple spreadsheets with extremely ambiguous names isn’t a helpful way to find anything in a pinch.
To change a file’s or folder’s name, right-click a file or folder and click “Rename.”
Give the file or folder a short and descriptive name, and then click “OK.”
Remember to keep a consistent and descriptive naming scheme to make it obvious where to find specific items and what the actual file contains.
Delete Files You Don’t Need
After you move your important files into more distinguishable folder categories, you might have some leftover duplicate or unnecessary documents in your Drive. This is when you can delete those potentially unneeded files still hogging up space.
All you have to do is highlight the file, right-click it, and then select “Remove.”
Drive doesn’t provide you with a confirmation prompt when you delete files but does give you the chance to undo a delete. Click “Undo” to reverse the deletion.
If you miss the opportunity to click “Undo” after you remove some files, click the “Bin” button located in the menu bar, right-click on the files you want to bring back, and then click “Restore.”
The previously deleted files will now return to your Drive from where they came.
Create Symbolic Links to Files and Folders
Google Drive has a hidden shortcut that lets you create a symbolic link of something in a completely different place, without taking up any additional storage in your Drive. Google stores only the original file copy in the cloud and displays a separate version wherever you link it.
If you delete/remove a symbolic link, all other versions go with it—the original included—to safely remove only the link, you have to unlink it through the “Details” pane. Here’s how to do it.
RELATED: The Complete Guide to Creating Symbolic Links (aka Symlinks) on Windows
To get started, click on a file or folder and then press Shift+Z to open the special context menu.
Navigate to the folder where you want to link the file or folder and click “Add.”
To get rid of a symbolic link, right-click it, and then click on “View Details.”
From the “Details” pane that opens, click the “X” next to the location you want to unlink.
Be careful to delete only the link rather than the file it’s linking to. If you delete the original file, the link will disappear as well.
Star Important Files and Folders
Starring essential files and folders in Google Drive works the same as starred emails in Gmail. When you star something, Drive adds it to a special “Starred” section that you can access directly from the menu pane on the left side.
Right-click on a file or folder and then select “Add to Starred.”
You can view the starred items by clicking on “Starred” in the pane on the left side of the screen.
The item stays in its current place and Drive essentially creates a symbolic link—much like we did in the previous section—to the original that shows up in “Starred.”
Color-Code Your Folders
By default, Google Drive uses grey for all folders. While folder color isn’t a make or break detail, you can color-code them to recognize a folder easier and make it stand out from all the rest. You have the choice of 24 colors to put a little pizzaz into your Drive.
Right-click on a folder, hover over “Change Color,” and then choose from one of the colors provided.
The folder changes to the color you chose. This option is available for every folder in your Drive.
No matter how disorganized your Drive is, you can quickly put a stop to the clutter and whip everything back into a neat and organized structure. Gone are the days when you feel overwhelmed every time you open Google Drive and see the mess that developed over the years with these tips.
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