Many people take Google Drive for granted. You store files there and retrieve them when you need them. But there’s more to Google Drive than meets the eye. Here are some of those useful features that you might have missed.
Find files with advanced search
The more files you upload to Google Drive, the more you need to see them when you need them. Luckily, you have advanced search options that make it easy.
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Enter a keyword or phrase in the Search Drive box at the top of the main page. Next, click the Show search options icon on the right side of the search box.
You will see many options you can use to find your file. Choose the file type or owner, use keywords in the file or file name, choose the location, select a date modified option, or use any of the other fields you see.
Select “Search” and view your results. If you know which folder a file is in, you can also search directly within a Google Drive folder.
Direct link to files
Another handy feature of Google Drive is getting a direct link to your file. You can do this without even opening the file. Then save it to your notes for quick access or with a collaborator.
Right-click on the file and choose “Get Link”.
You can then choose “Copy Link” to put the link on your clipboard and paste it wherever you want. You can also use this box to share the link by entering your contact’s email address.
At the bottom of the window, use the General Access section to control who can open the file with the link. You can choose “Restricted” to allow access only to those you share with or “Anyone with a link” to allow anyone who clicks the link to open the file.
Work with Microsoft Office files
You don’t need Microsoft Office to work with Office files if you have Google Drive. You may receive a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file that you need to view or edit. You can open these files in the corresponding Google app, Docs, Sheets or Slides.
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Additionally, you can download Docs, Sheets, and Slides documents in Microsoft Office formats.
To open an Office document, upload it to Google Drive like any other file. Then double-click or right-click, switch to Open With, and choose from Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides.
When the file opens in the corresponding application, you will see the retained file format at the top. Your changes are automatically saved and you can then download the file in its original Office format.
If you want to export and save a Docs, Sheets, or Slides file in Office format, it’s just as easy. Open the document and go to the File tab. Move to Download and choose the format from the pop-up menu.
Manage file versions
Similar to getting a link to your file without opening it, you can manage its versions. This feature works with PDF and Microsoft Office files as well as images.
Right-click on the file and choose “Manage Versions”.
You will then see a pop-up window with each version of the file, including the current version.
As you can see at the top of the window, the old version can be deleted after 30 days or 100 stored versions. If you want to avoid losing a previous version, click on the three dots to its right and choose “Keep forever”.
If you have a newer version saved on your device that you want to use, select “Download New Version”. Then find the file and choose “Download”.
Two other actions you can take are to delete or download one of the versions you see. Use the three dots to the right of the version to select “Delete” or “Download”.
View file activity, details, and description
Although it may seem like such a simple thing, being able to view file activity and details may be just what you need to do. Additionally, you can take advantage of Google Drive descriptions to add your own details.
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Open the details sidebar in one of the following ways:
- Right-click on the file and select “Show details”.
- Select the file and click the Show Details icon (small letter “i”) in the top right.
- Select the file, click on the three dots at the top and choose “Show details”.
You will then see the sidebar with two tabs for Details and Activity. With Details, you can view the file type, size, owner, creation date, and more. With Activity, you’ll see things like when the file was uploaded or when it was modified.
To add a description to the file, use the Details tab in the sidebar. Enter your text in the Description box at the bottom and press Enter or Return. This is a good way to distinguish between files with similar names.
Add comments to files
Another handy feature of Google Drive is the ability to add comments to files. This is useful for notes for yourself or your collaborators.
Open the file in Preview mode. You can do this by selecting the file and clicking the Preview (eye) icon at the top or by right-clicking and choosing “Preview”.
Select the part of the file you want to comment on, then select the Comment icon on the right or top.
Type your comment in the box that appears and click “Comment”.
Note that you can use the @ (At) symbol to mention a collaborator if you wish. As a bonus, you have the option to attribute your comment to that person. Check the Assign to box and click “Assign”.
Download files with your mobile device’s camera
If you use the Google Drive mobile app, you have an additional feature that can make downloads easier. You can use your device’s camera to capture a file or other item and download it as a PDF (Android) or an image (iPhone.)
RELATED: How to upload files and folders to Google Drive
Open the Google Drive Android app and tap the plus sign to upload a file. Then choose “Scan”.
Press the shutter button to scan the item, then use the check mark to save it. You can select the trash can icon to resume the scan if needed. Select “Save”.
Choose the location to save it in Google Drive, then tap “Save” again. You will then see your scanned file in PDF format.
Open the Google Drive iPhone app and tap the plus sign to upload a file. Then choose “Use Camera”.
Press the shutter button to capture the image, select press “Use Photo” to upload. You can also choose “Resume” to retake the photo if necessary.
After a few moments, you will see your image in Google Drive.
Sometimes features are obvious, especially if they’re the ones you use often. But there are others that you may not realize exist that you would find very useful. Hope you find at least one of these Google Drive features useful.
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