How to take full advantage of google drive?

Google Drive is one of the most powerful cloud storage services served by google. At present, we must have to use cloud storage services to ensure the safety of our important files and folders. More than that, we could use them wherever we want with the help of an internet connection because cloud storages are such a kind of online service.

That means, if you have your own storage in google drive, you can store anything and can use them further if you are not with the device you used for saving.

Back to the time when people had the only hope to flash drives to store, transport, and share important files. Flash drive was good but in some cases, it has some lacking issues. Although, we can’t avoid the importance of flash drives in the present situation when flash drives got more updated and flaxier versions with more storage advantage.

So what, you can’t compare between a hard drive and a soft drive because they both are distinct in their own area.

Now, to get back to the discussion, google launched its cloud storage service google drive on April 24, 2012. Google developed and made it like an umbrella that covers a lot of areas in itself. There are a lot of cloud computing advantages that you can assume in it.

But before that, you have to come with the knowledge of using google drive for your own benefits. In this article, we have discussed the same and provide you some of the best ways to use google drive. If you are lacking in this subject, it will be a great addition to your knowledge.

What are the advantages of google drive?

Google Drive comes with lots of advantages and offers some great functionality to make our job way easier. It becomes a common necessary tool of our daily life and those who rely on google account and use it to get connected to all the platforms, can’t ignore it anyhow.

Google Drive is full of helpful tools through which you can do several works. You can say it’s just an online storage service but in the deep dive, users can use it as a word processor with most of the integrations of Microsoft, and also as spreadsheet software and a presentation maker. Not only that, there is just an intro of google drive, here in the following, we have brought to you some other great features of google that are needed to know for all. So let’s know them,

Minimalist interface

I like google drive more because of its quite simple interface. This minimalistic interface gives a quick look at all its available options which are so simple to use. When you first enter into your google drive, if you are using a PC, then you will see a large white interface with the files and folder you have created or uploaded before.

On the left side of the screen, you will get to see a list of google drive options offering different workflow. Here is the breakdown of these google drive options, what they deal for,

New – it is the first option you can see in the options bar of google drive. It is an option holding multiple necessities in itself. If you click on that, you will see a dropdown menu containing options like,

  • Folder
  • File upload
  • Folder upload
  • Google docs, sheets, forms, etc

So, it is easy to understand with the new option, you can create what you want to do on google drive. You can upload a new file/ folder through this option and can create a new google document, sheet, or form.

Computers – the option is used to view shared folders between computers. Since google drive lets users share folders to make collaborative work, the folder which is shared can be accessed by this option.

Shared with me – sometimes, you may have to use other files in order to use them for your own purpose. Google Drive file sharing is the easiest file sharing system because you don’t have to face any trouble. Just get the link of the shared file that you want to transfer on your own and you can see the file existence in this ‘shared with me’ option.

So, the files and folders that are shared in your drive, you can easily find them in this option.

Recent – here you can see what you have done in your drive in recent times. Google is much more aggressive with its perspectives as you can easily check activities in category-wise like today, yesterday, last week, earlier this month, and even earlier this year.

Starred – starred option contains those files and folders which you have marked as important ones. As it offers so many aspects, one could deal with various things with his drive and therefore, he could include and create multiple folders every day. So, the option starred will help them to mark up to make the file distinguished from others.

To mark any file as starred, you should click left on the file and will get the option ‘Add to starred’. All the starred files will separately store in the starred folder.

Trash – in general, view trash wouldn’t seem an important option to consider but there are situations when trash becomes like a savior. It is because we need to delete some folders from our google drive to clean up some space. These folders may be unnecessary but eating space. But what if you remember any of the further use of the files which you have deleted already?

No problem, in the trash section of your google drive, you can see the file you have been deleted a few days ago. But google preserves the file for 30 days and after the limited period, it will delete automatically by the system.

Google drive gets much appreciation because of its quick slick interface. It’s simple and comprehensible navigation highly keepsa new document you get in touch with it. Just an internet connection and you are on your project to be ready and other simple activities.

Google Drive list menu

15 GB free space and pricing details

Once you have set up your google drive, google gives you 15 GB of free storage as a membership bonus. You can use the space for your own purpose like uploading images, video files, getting external shares, and so on. You can also store high-quality images without losing their quality (maximum 16 megapixels for images and 1080 megapixels videos at maximum) by using the ‘High quality settings of google drive free of cost. Usually, the setting has been set in ‘Original Quality’, therefore, you have to change before using any high quality image and videos.

However, users can increase their drive space up to 30 TB (1 Terabyte = 1000 GB). It is so helpful for high commercial organizations because they have a lot of files, programs, data, and information for safe storage and use. Google offers different storage planning for the users to choose which one they need.

Those data spaces come with a little amount of money, therefore, if you want to increase your drive storage, you have to buy that additional space. For instance, here is the storage planning of google drive that is used to sell by google,

15 GB – Free

100 GB – $1.99/month ($20.99/year)

200 GB – $2.99/month ($29.99/year)

2 TB – $9.99/month ($99.99/year)

10 TB – $99.99/month

20 TB – $199.99/month

30 TB – $299.99/month

One thing to note that, google doesn’t count google docs, google sheets and google slides files as user space while you have created a new document file for them. But non-native files like Microsoft Word files, PDFs, and images will take up spaces particularly.

Microsoft Office compatibility

Google includes a quite similar interface with Microsoft Word in its own document management system. You can prepare text documents as you want and if you are a Microsoft Word user, then you will get almost all the facilities that you have in MS word.

For instance, you can choose fonts, control the font size, compelling heading from heading 1 to heading 6, title and subtitle, word count, citations, can review suggested edits, and many more. Therefore, nothing to worry about, if you are accustomed to using Microsoft Word, you can easily handle it.

 Think you are in a situation when you have to create a text document for presentation or note down some important words to further practice. But you don’t get Microsoft Word installed in such an emergency situation. No problem, you can use google drive without a little bit of hesitation and you don’t find a little bit of trouble because it is Microsoft compatible.

You can upload any existing Microsoft word document on your drive to store or edit further, besides, you can create new documents even in the drive through option New > Google Docs.

Not just MS Word, your drive is also compatible with redeeming Microsoft Excel documents. You can open excel files through google drive and can

Store images, videos, presentations, and photos

I like google drive so much because it keeps all of my android files including images, videos that I took using my phone, and also can upload important files and folders. I also use it in professional needs in my office to share and transfer files.

google drive storage various file, document, image, video etc

Google drive is compatible to store files with any extension. For severely use, you can intentionally use files with extensions like,

  • Native formats (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drawings)
  • Image files (.JPEG, .PNG, .GIF, .TIFF, .BMP, .WEBP)
  • Video files (.WEBM, .MPEG4, .3GPP, .MOV, .AVI, .MPEG, .MPEGPS, .WMV, .FLV, .OGG)
  • Audio formats (.MP3, .M4A, .WAV, .OGG)
  • Text files (.TXT)
  • Markup/Code (.CSS, .HTML, .PHP, .C, .CPP, .H, .HPP, .JS)
  • Microsoft Word (.DOC and .DOCX)
  • Microsoft Excel (.XLS and .XLSX)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.PPT and .PPTX)
  • Adobe Portable Document Format (.PDF)
  • Apple Pages (.PAGES)
  • Adobe Illustrator (.AI)
  • Adobe Photoshop (.PSD)
  • Autodesk AutoCAD (.DXF)
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (.SVG)
  • PostScript (.EPS, .PS)
  • Python (.PY)
  • Fonts (.TTF)
  • XML Paper Specification (.XPS)
  • Archive file types (.ZIP, .RAR, tar, gzip)
  • .MTS files
  • Raw Image formats

You can use its website to quickly back up these types of files from anywhere. Both the website and the android app offers a backup section to see what android services have data backed up to the service. For backing up specific files and folders of the computer users, the service released a completely overhauled app in 2017. It has a quick access feature that can intelligently predict the files that the users need.

To provide more flexibility, google includes a ‘Backup and synchronization system to sync all the things of user’s computers that they use and bookmark previous and instantly turn them in front of the users.

Not only that, but you can also save attached files and images from your email to the direct drive. As we use Gmail mostly to send emails and to receive, Google makes it easier for the users to make them free from anxiety about those files.

Share with custom links

Files and folders that you used to keep as a backup in your google drive, or any other files in your drive, can share with others. Google drive provides exceptional links for every file in your drive. So, you can copy the link and give others access to see the file in your drive.

But when you are sharing files in order to give access to your important drive files to others, here are chances that they can use it and make changes or remove something without telling you. Though, it will allow the main user to check editing history if the file has come through any editing.

What if you can control the third person’s activity when they are using your google drive files? Google also includes this as one of the features that are, when you share something from google drive, you can control their activity in a way that you can set it if they will allow you to edit or comment on the file or they will just view it.

However, you should share with custom links whenever you don’t know the person specifically or you want to make a folder free to use for a community or for anyone. For example, if you share through the link and post the link on your social media profile, then anyone who sees the link can access the file.

To share a single item using a link,

  • Open a file in google docs, sheets, or slides
  • Click Share in the top right corner of the file
  • A menu will appear with options from which you have to click ‘Get shareable link’ in the top right of the ‘share with others’ box
  • To limit users activity and to choose whether a person can edit, comment, or view the file, you have to click the down arrow next to ‘Anyone with the link’
  • You can set the visibility and accessibility of the link as you want. To do that select ‘more’ for additional options
  • A file link will be copied to your clipboard, paste the link in an email or anywhere you want to share it

Teamwork

There are situations when you are a team to collaborate into group work and you are deciding to do the job in google drive. Google drive is highly useful for collaborative work. For collaborating, you must have to open a new file where you want to include team members to work together.

For instance, think you are planning to work on a repeated basis with a group of people, it can be your classmate or department mate, and then you can easily make it flexible and controllable to all of them with google drive.

By sharing a drive folder with specific people or groups, whatever is done in the folder, changing, including files, excluding files will be visible for everyone in the group. To share a drive folder with a group of people, you can follow the steps given below,

  • Select the folder in google drive and at the top click share
  • A small page will appear to you with sharing options where you can search peoples for specific shares. In the search box, type your teammate’s Gmail and send them an invitation to join with you. You can search google group similarly and can share the folder
  • Get a look at their access level, you have to set it ‘can edit’ also

Shared drive

A shared drive is what you can use in google drive to store, search and access files with a team. Shared drive files belong to the team instead of an individual. Even if members leave, the files stay in place, so your team can continue sharing information and work anywhere from any device.

In a shared drive, all members can see the same content. It includes an easy content discoverability feature that helps new users to find all the shared content in the group automatically. Therefore, if you are thinking of a perfect online working place to work with a group of people, then you should consider the name of Google drive.

You can create multiple shared drives if the files are for a variety of projects. As the number of projects and teams increases, it can become difficult to find and manage content in a single drive.

Changing ownership of a file or folder

If you want to set one of your friends or teammates as the owner of your drive files, then you can easily do it. Once you set the owner to others, you have to be in mind that they are now able to control access, visibility and can choose to delete the file. To change ownership of a specific google drive file/folder, follow these options,

  • Go to the file you want to change the owner
  • Go to the share option (right click on the file and you will get the share option)
  • Type the email address of the new owner in the search box to invite. Click share and save
  • In the bottom right corner of the sharing box, there will be an advanced option, click on that
  • Select is owner
  • Click done

Save Gmail attachments

Since both Gmail and Drive are forms of Google service, google lets users save email attachments directly into the user’s drive. As google always intends to find ways to make things comfortable and easy to use, it is an example of such an addition.

If you have email activities and experience of transferring files, images via email, then you might concern this. When you open the mail contains some attachments, google with show you two options like,

  • Download the file on your device
  • Add the file directly to your drive

If you choose the second option, the attachment will save it as a new file into your drive. In this way, taking advantage of the drive will keep you free from losing files as well.

Powerful search option

Google is too advanced to keep users connected by offering all they need in a single platform. Definitely, you can find all the tools you need to do the jobs that you used to do on other platforms. But here comes a question, why should you use google drive instead of using the specific platform?

It is because google drive is versatile, you can get what you need like text, presentation, simple drawing, adding files, search bar for quick search in this single platform. Google Drive includes a very powerful built-in search option that will help you to find any of your files and folders in the twinkle of an eye even if there are thousands of folders.

To get the full benefits of this advanced search option, you need to click on the downward arrow sign just on the right side of the google search bar. You can see a screen like this,

powerful search option of google drive

If you look at those options on the left of the picture, it shows that you can set the type of the folder, if it is a doc, sheet, presentation, art, or anything else, you can command the file type here. Next is the owner option, what you have set the owner, choose the right option here.

In location, you can input the location of the file if you remember. The next is date options and item name. If you have the date then input, whether you have the exact file name or a particular portion, google could find that to you.

Scan documents with google drive

Do you know, google drive seems to be one of the best scanning apps for android devices? You may be hearing it first but if you take a little inquiry, you will find many of them using google drive for this purpose.

Because it offers a flexible scanning option just open and scan and the rest will be done automatically by its internal function.

However, to scan with google drive, you must have to use an android device that has google drive installed. Though every single android device now comes with a built in google drive installation. The scanning process may be similar to capturing an image in your device camera and you may be asked why you should use google drive instead of a mobile camera.

The reason is, Google has prepared the option particularly for scanning images, therefore, they include high intelligence image processing functions into the software that can instantly format the picture perfectly. Besides, it automatically stores the scanned file into your drive with the name, and the file is saved in PDF format.

Although, here is how you can scan documents using google drive,

  • Check if your phone has google drive installed, most of the android device come with google drive, therefore, you must have it on your device
  • Open the google drive app and you see a ‘Plus’ icon on the bottom right corner of the window
  • Clicking on the plus icon will show you options where you can the scan option, now click on the scan
  • It will redirect you to the scanning mode of google drive and you can see an interface just like you open your camera. Take the phone above into a paper document that you want to scan. Google built in features will automatically adjust the main object in the image. Take the picture as you capture it normally.
  • After scanning the document, it will show you a preview of the picture you have taken. If you find the preview helpful and perfect, then you should click on ‘Ok’ otherwise, you have to dismiss it and go for another one
  • If you find there include much of the background of the document and you want to cut them out, then simply click on the crop to resize the image
  • In this way, you can scan a whole book of pages by repeating the process
  • Saved images will directly upload to your google drive in PDF format and with google drive, you can easily convert PDF files into text format. That means, if you want to add/remove things from the scanned document, you can easily do it
  • Lastly, you can move, rename or delete scanned files whenever you want. You can also share the files with others just like the way shown above

Work offline

Sometimes, it is like bless that google allows you to access your drive files even when you are offline. Being a free text editor like google docs, it offers to edit and move upward with your working files offline. Google drive is the most versatile cloud service at present.

There are people who highly rely on google drive to deal with most of their job. For them, it is quite difficult to not use google drive even if there is no internet connection. Especially, if you are a blogger, then you need google docs on a mostly basis to edit existing content and write newer ones.

Fortunately, Google has made it available offline (condition required) to help those people so that they can keep moving all the time.

But before using your google drive files offline, first of all, you have to set them available offline. So, how can I do that?

For PC

If you have signed in your google account to the chrome browser, you have to install a browser extension named ‘Google Docs Offline’ for offline access. If you don’t sign in on your google account, instantly sign in and go to settings > more tools > extensions > search the extension name and add it to your chrome browser.

However, you have to enable offline access from the settings to make the file ready for offline use. You can enable offline access in various ways. On the main page of your drive, you will get to see a hamburger menu in the top left corner of the screen, select the settings and enable the offline toggle.

You can also see a correct sign in the upper right of the window which looks like this,

google drive offline preview

From the option, seen above, you can easily make an offline preview for your drive.

For Android

Enabling offline access for google drive is also simple on android devices. Just open up the Drive app on your device, go through the settings and enable ‘Make recent files available online.

After toggling the offline button, the mobile apps will automatically detect the files which you have used frequently or the last visit in the drive available for offline use.

In this way, you can easily make files available for offline access and can alter anything you want when there is no internet connection in the device.

Although, you can select files manually to make them offline available, which means you can specifically get access to certain files that you want.

Synchronization

Since google drive has become a daily essential tool of our life and we use it to backup all of our needed files and programs to store in it, it should remain updated with all our stored programs so that we can get them any device signed in with our Gmail account.

This is a recent addition that brings google thinking about user compatibility. In June 2017, Google announced this function called ‘backup and sync’ to synchronize any folder on the user’s computer to google.

Well, if you are like those people who use google drive as a primary tool which comes in various needs, you must have known about the synchronization features because it will help you to get in touch with what you have done in previous with your google account.

The synchronization system will allow you to synchronize either all or specific files and folders. The backup and sync tools are divided into two main sections, they are,

Google Drive: it did the same thing as the google drive app. You can mark folders that you want to sync like a specific one or the specific folder in your google drive storage and when synced, they will appear in a google drive folder on your PC. If you put anything to that folder from your pc, it will automatically sync to google drive.

My computer: In this part, you will sync files between your computer and drive without putting that file in a dedicated google drive folder on your device. Just pick the folder you want to sync and it will automatically sync to your Drive storage.

Google Drive backup and sync will provide you full authority over how you want to sync files and folders. You can specifically do this like,

  • Sync My Drive to this Computer: Use this option to enable/disable syncing your Google Drive to your computer
  • Sync everything in My Drive: Literally syncs the entire contents of your Google Drive to your computer
  • Sync Only These Folders: This allows you to specify which folders to sync from Drive to your computer

See revision history

Another mentionable feature of google drive that keeps users away from overdoing in collaboration work. In the time of a team working in a specific google drive file, team members can freely access the file whenever they want and can change things also.

For example, if a team working on a research paper, including important aspects in the research paper. It can happen that not all the team members are active in a particular moment. One or two may be offline so that they aren’t able to see what was held when they are not in the time.

In such situations, when you are collaborating with several people on a single file, it can be difficult to pinpoint who made certain changes and when. But with google drive, you can easily track what was changed in the file, what include or exclude when you are not exactly in there.

Google Drive keeps track of changes in shared files by identifying changes and who made them. In addition to this, you can also revert to a previous version of the file. So, how can you use googles version history?

Add-ons

Add ons are like chrome extensions which are used to speed up your work and allow you to work more sensitively with those add ons. Since google drive has been started using as an alternative to Microsoft word. Google always intends to import new features looking at user compatibility.

You can use google drive add ons to get flexibility and to get diversity in your work. However, there is a library of multiple add ons available in the collection of google drive add ons. You can choose what you need, install and enjoy. These add ons are applicable to google docs, sheets, and google slides.

Here is a few examples of add ons you can install in your drive,

  • HelloSign – to import or create real handwritten signatures and insert them in google docs document
  • Quick drive – access google drive files from anywhere
  • DriveCast – show media files stored in your drive on your TV via Chromecast device
  • Zapier – it has both free and paid versions. It is used to connect google drive to 1500+ apps and services
  • Zoom – it is for those who use zoom and it lets them manage schedule, join, manage and customize meetings in Gmail and google calendar
  • Lucidchart Diagrams – use to draw line art diagram like a flow chart, organizational chart, and other kinds of structured diagram
  • Auto-Latex Equations – If you are using the drive for mathematics, then you need mathematical signs and equations to use. Then this add on will help you to insert algebra, trig, calculus, and so on in your google docs easily
  • Sync and backup Google Drive – backup your google drive files to any other cloud storage platforms
  • Bookmarks Backuper – backup your chrome bookmarks in google drive
  • DriveSlides – create a google slides presentation with images stored in your drive

There are so many add ons you can find in add on the library of google drive. Install and take advantage of them.

To see all changes in a file or revert to a previous version

Here is how you can see all changes in a shared google drive file and how can you revert it to the previous version,

  • Go to google drive and open the file
  • Before going, you should know that you need the owner or editor access to the file, and one more thing, to apply this set of version history, the file must be a native drive file (Docs, sheets, slides) because it is not available office editing
  • Click a timestamp to see a previous version of the file. You will see timestamps like ‘names of people who edited the file’, ‘a color next to each person’s name. The edits they made appear in that color
  • To revert, name, or copy a previous version, click ‘restore this version to make it the active version, ‘name this version’ to name a previous version, and ‘make a copy to create a copy of a previous version

Besides, you can check persons who commented, edited, moved, or shared a file also. To get the settings, you have to click the ‘view details’ option placed at the top right corner of your drive. It is an activity tab that automatically selects and lists all the activities in your drive. For each activity, the details include,

  • The file or folder affected
  • The user that made the change
  • The date and time of the activity
  • Any other users affected by the activity

You can see specific details by choosing any specific file in your drive.

Highlight option

Google docs provide a highlight option to markup text lines to mean the importance of such lines and important points. Highlighting is highly needed when you are making data rich content or presentation for the class. We use highlighter in real life in both reading and writing to emphasize lines or words. Highlight helps us to take a glimpse over important lines and phrases that we markup for further revision.

Well, we don’t need to use these physical markers/highlighters as we do most of the texting and writing with word processors like Microsoft Word and google docs. In google docs, if you want to highlight any text lines among the thousands of words and lines, then you have to follow this.

Open a google doc file that you want to highlight. Look at the horizontal toolbar in the upside area of the window. You will find an option called ‘Add ons’, click on that. It is the option to provide supportive integration and tools for dive like installing extensions in your browser.

highlight option of google drive

Here is showing the highlight tool because I have already installed it. But on your screen, click on the ‘get add ons’ option and it will show you another page where you can search different add ons to install in your drive.

google workplace marketplace in highlight tool

Just like the image above. Choose the selective add ons you need and install them. To work with the add ons, you have to go to the add ons options and click. See the ad you just install has been added to the menu. Click start and a new window will open, click next and do that.

After installing the highlight tool, you can now create highlights, change highlight colors, and also can apply highlights to several sections of your document.

Free up space

Since Google offers limited space to users at the first time, it is normal that you will easily run after space. If you use a drive for various purposes, then you are dealing with so many files and folders which can include large images and video files.

Whenever you get yourself out of drive storage, you can free up some space by deleting some unnecessary files that end up unnecessary. Running out of storage is sometimes irritating and an unwanted situation because it can stop you on track.

Therefore, freeing up space will help you to continue with work. Always keep an eye to make space in your drive storage so that you don’t have to be stopped for unwanted reasons.

Convert PDF to text document

Back to the days when it was difficult to convert PDF files into editable text formats. Google Drive makes it easier for us and we can now convert PDF files and images into text files easily. Google drive has a feature called OCR (Optical character recognition) that makes it able to capture texts in the images like PDFs.

Using google drive for PDF conversion is the fastest method to make PDF into a text file. Here is how the process go on,

  • Upload the folder in your drive
  • Once it uploads, right click on the file and select ‘open with’ then choose google docs
  • Google doc will automatically turn the PDF file into a text format

While taking the help of automatic converting, there are some defects that may occur in such a process. They are,

  • Double-space turns to single space
  • Single space become no space
  • Number and bullet points become one paragraph
  • Fillable form fields are removed

Therefore, you should care about these when converting PDF into text.

Voice types

If you get surprised by seeing the headline of voice types then you may not know about these features of google these days. It is a stunning feature of google drive through which you can type by saying words in your microphone.

This great feature of Google Docs will help you to take a rest from your keyboard while doing work in another way. To start with it, you have to install a microphone on your device then open a google doc file. To activate voice typing, click tools>voice typing or press ctrl+shift+S and you will find voice typing.

Google drive voice typing option

It will require chrome permission to access your microphone on the google Docs function. Once you have done, you will see a microphone icon appear on the screen on which you have to click while dictating. You can match up the function with your native tongue to get your voice and accent clearly.

To get the best results through voice typing, you have to speak clearly so the tool can understand what you are saying. To add punctuation marks in your voice typing, you have to use these words,

  • Period
  • Comma
  • Exclamation mark
  • Question mark
  • Newline
  • New Paragraph

Communicate While Collaborating

In collaborating work, there needs to be communication with teammates to give instructions and opinions. Though it is not something like a private inbox because everyone in the group can see the message. But it is still a good feature and helps so much in collaborating work. You can put messages as like as line comments and can make questions for a specific person on the team.

To use this option when collaborating, click the circle icon next to the collaborator chat heads and type a message. The receivers will get the message instantly.

However, it seems like google drive is a tool with versatile options that can make your daily life easier by combining different working facilities into a single platform. Ramp up with google drive and get accustomed to using it. you will find it more helpful if you can take full advantage of google drive.

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