Google Drive

Working With Your Google Drive

In the last post, we examined several tips and shortcuts to save you time and keep you organized as you use Google Drive for your own productivity. Now that you have gotten all organized, let’s take a look at some tools within Google Drive to help make your workflow run more smoothly and efficiently.  Using these tools will help you save time and allow you to access needed information in a more efficient manner.

Scripture reminds us in I Corinthians 14:40 to “Let all things be done decently and in order.”  This especially applies to our work and responsibilities, but can and should apply to the rest of our day-to-day life beyond the classroom. Organization and efficiency can give us peace-of-mind and allow us to enjoy life rather than stress over the little things.

Tip #1: Sorting

Why: When navigating through files and folders, sorting by certain criteria helps finding what you need much more quickly.

How: In the top right corner of the folder, click on the sorting option and select your preference. The arrow beside the sort option will toggle between ascending and descending order.

Note: Sort options include Name and Modified options.


Tip #2: Grid View vs. List View

Why: How you view information is as important as what you view. Grid view allows for larger icons if each filer/folder for better previewing of the information they contain.  List view allows for a larger view of files/folders contained within the folder you are in.

How: Click on Grid/List view icon in top right corner to toggle between views.


Note: Folders with a larger quantity of files may be easier in List view while folders with fewer files may be easier in Grid view.  It is all a matter of preference and what is easier for YOU.

Tip #3:  Previewing Documents

Why: What is that file? What’s in that file?  A quick way to preview what a file consists of is….Preview.  (Who would have guessed??)

How: Click on a file, then click on the Preview button in top right corner. (See a pattern?  All your main tools are right in that top right corner.)

Note: The Preview function is for viewing only.  It does not allow direct editing. You must open the file to work with it.


Tip #4: View Details

Why: When was this file created?  When was this file modified? Who touched my file?  These are just a few questions answered by the Details view.  View Details displays a file’s history log.

How: A: Right-Click on a file, and select “View Details”  or Click on Info button in top right corner.

Note: The Details view includes two tabs.  The Details view consisting of file info. The Activity view is the file’s history log.


Tip #5: Search Tools

Why: Where did I put that file?  How many pictures do I have in my Drive? Search is Google’s forte’.  Take advantage of Drive’s search function rather than sifting through all…..those….files.

How: Click in the Search bar right on top.  You can type in the criteria you are looking for, or you can click on a popular file type already listed, or you can click on “More Search Tools” for even more search criteria.


Note: Search criteria include, but not limited to: Name, File type, Date modified, or File Owner.

These are some more of the tips and tricks that have helped me efficiently access information in Google. These are excerpts from a full conference presentation I have done on this topic. A link to this slideshow for your reference can be found HERE.  Happy Googling!   ~Susan

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