Organizing Your Google Drive


Is your Google Drive a virtual rats’ nest?  Does it take you longer to find the file you need than the attention span of your students? Is organization really possible with your Google Drive Files? Does the chaos of your files and folders relate to the image below, or make you dream of “Dial-Up Mode” described in this Video?  If so, it’s time to slow down and take time to organize.


In this post, we will examine several tips and shortcuts to save you time and keep you organized as you use Google Drive for your own productivity as well as with your students.  Let’s organize our Google Drive file structure and leave the chaos at recess on the playground.

Remember as teachers and people, we tend to be happier and at peace when things are in order. Don’t let yourself become unproductive and inefficient with a cluttered file stream. Keep yourself organized which will ultimately have a lasting effect and be an example to our students.  “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” I Corinthians 14:33

Tip #1:  Creating Folders & Subfolders

Why: The primary method of file organization is creating folders and subfolders.  Folders and subfolders allow for logical organization of files.

How: Select “New” and “Folder” to create folders as needed.  This can also be done within folders to create subfolders.  You can Drag & Drop to move files and folders as desired.

Note: The below graphic shows an example of using folders and subfolders for a logical organization of files for a 1st grade teacher.


Tip #2: Color Coding

Why: Having a complex folder system is greatly simplified by visualization. Color is a great way to easily distinguish different categories of files.

How: Right click on a folder and select “Change Color” to choose a color.

Note: Category options: type of file, topic, class period, timeframe, etc.  Below is an example of folders set to colors for easier visibility and file organization


Tip #3:  Symbols – Copy/Paste Character Site

Why: What you name your folders is as important as how you organize them.  Using numbers or even symbols can easily prioritize and identify certain folders for quick access.

How: Choose an icon from the link above.  Right-click on the symbol and “Copy”.  In Google Drive, right-click on the folder, and “Rename”. Right-click within the name field, and “Paste” into the folder name. Below are some folders using symbols to help identify their contents.

pasted image 0.png

Tip #4: Add Files to Multiple Folders

Why: Oftentimes, a file fits into multiple folder locations or categories.

How: Click on the desired file and press “Shift-Z”.  Navigate to additional desired folder within the “Add-To” window, and click “Add”.  The file will appear in both folders.

Note: The file will be editable in either location and updated in both locations.

Tip #5: Add to Drive from Shared

Why: Files that have been shared To you should fit into your organizational system so you always know where that folder is.  The “Shared With Me” “folder” is a filter for finding files that have been shared. It is not actually a folder.


  • A: Simply drag and drop the file into your preferred folder location in your “My Drive”.
  • B: Right click on the file and select “Add to My Drive” OR
  • C: If the file is open, click the “Add to Drive” icon located near the file name to move it.

Note: Using the “Organize” option will allow you to place the file in your preferred location.  Moving a “Shared with Me” file does not change or remove the sharing criteria.


These are some of the tips and tricks that have helped me keep organized. Over the years, I have developed a full conference presentation with these tips and more in a slideshow format which you can reference HERE.  Happy Organizing!   ~Susan

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