Google Drive would be at the top of our list if you asked us to name the pages and applications we use on a daily basis. We use it at work to take notes in meetings and create polls for blog posts. We use it at home to log workouts with our gym buddies and measure vacation expenses. It’s one of those web resources that is so powerful and all-encompassing that we can’t recall a time when we didn’t have it.
That’s why it’s easy to forget that Google Drive is just three years old, and that its precursor, Google Docs, was only ten years old when it was launched in 2006. The software was a web-based rival to Microsoft Office Suite at the time. Google Drive is also a cloud-based programme for storing files. Google Drive is now a cloud-based app for creating, storing, uploading, and collaborating on files, among other things.
In reality, there’s more to Google Drive than meets the eye. Did you know that you can crop images directly inside a Google Doc? Or that you can use Drive to send people extremely large files that are too large to send via Gmail? Let’s take a look at how to make the most of Google Drive’s features. (You might also want to save our list of Google Calendar features that aren’t widely known.)
9 Google Drive Helpful Hints
1) Use these keyboard shortcuts.
Do you want to get the most out of your Google Drive efforts? There is a slew of keyboard shortcuts for Google Drive, including:
- Create a new document by pressing Shift + t.
- Create a new presentation by pressing Shift + p.
- Create a new spreadsheet by pressing Shift + s.
- / = Look at your files on your computer’s hard drive.
When using Google Drive, do you ever need a fast reminder of these shortcuts? On Chrome OS or Windows, you can always show the list by pressing Shift + / or Ctrl + /, or ⌘ + / on a Mac. Alternatively, select “Keyboard Shortcuts” from the dropdown menu by clicking the gear icon in the upper left corner of your screen.
2) Make massive files available to others.
Google Drive could become your go-to if you’re looking for a way to get around Gmail’s file size cap. Although Gmail attachments are limited to 25 MB, which means you can’t send large video, audio, or complex image files, Google Drive allows you to send files up to 15 GB. You’ll do this by creating a folder, uploading files to it, and sharing it with others.
Log into Google Drive and click the big, red “New” button on the right-hand side of your screen to create a folder. From the dropdown menu, choose “Folder.” Then, either drag and drop files into the screen’s central pane (as in the screenshot below), or right-click anywhere on the screen and select “Upload Files.”
(Notice the call-to-action in the bottom left-hand corner for purchasing additional storage space.) Adding large files to your Drive, as you would expect, will reduce your total storage space. Google offers you 30 GB for free, but if you need more, you can pay $1.99 per month for 100 GB or $9.99 per month for 1 TB.)
After that, open My Drive, which is your main Google Drive tab, and share the folder with others. Choose “Share” from the dropdown menu when right-clicking on the folder.
Choose whether or not anyone you’d like to share the folder with can edit or comment on the documents inside by entering their names and email addresses. Once you’ve clicked done, you’re done!
3) Crop, mask, and border images as needed.
You can crop, mask, and even add borders to an image after it’s been attached to a document or a presentation slide. Take a look at the steps outlined below. (If you ever want to restore an image to its original state, just pick it and press the “Reset Image” icon on your toolbar.)
Crop a Photo
Click the crop icon in your toolbar to crop a picture in your document or presentation.
Then drag and drop the blue handles until the picture is cropped to your taste. Click “Enter” on your keyboard or simply return to your document or slide to save it.
The term “making” refers to the process of fitting an image into a particular form. This is possible in a Drive slide show, but not in a doc
Click the dropdown arrow next to the crop icon in your toolbar to select a picture in your presentation. Shapes, arrows, callouts, and equation are the four mask groups from which to choose.
Choose one, and the picture will take on that form. By dragging and lowering the blue handles, you can resize it.
Add a border to a picture
Even after you’ve cropped or masked an image in a document or presentation, you can add coloured borders. To do so, pick the picture and press the pencil-shaped line colour icon in your toolbar.
Choose a colour (or press “Custom” to make your own), and that colour will be applied to the image’s border. Simply click off the picture to save it.
4) Customize the way things in My Drive are viewed.
Google recently modified My Drive’s default view from “list view” to “grid view,” which meant that instead of a long list, all of our files were displayed as large icons. Personally, we didn’t like the move, but luckily, they made it very simple to reverse it.
Simply select the button to the left of the gear icon and press it (which is located on the top right of your window). If the icon is set to “Grid View,” it will look like the one below, and if it is set to “List View,” it will look like a bulleted list
Do you want to rearrange the order of your items? To order objects by “Last updated,” “Last edited by me,” “Last opened by me,” or their file names in alphabetical order, click the “AZ” icon in the top right-hand corner.
Finally, on My Drive, you can adjust how densely the objects are packed together, from “comfortable” to “cosy” to “compact.” To do so, hover your mouse over the gear icon and select “Settings” from the dropdown menu. Choose one of the three density choices under “Density.
6) Save web material, such as photos, to Drive directly.
Google developed the “Save to Google Drive” browser feature, which allows you to add documents, photos, links, and HTML5 audio and video files to Drive with a single right-click.
Download Google’s free browser extension and approve it on your device to allow this on your desktop computer. Then pick “Save to Google Drive” from the drop-down menu when you right-click on the web content you want to save. You’ll have immediate access to the file on Drive.
7) Access and edit your documents when you’re not connected to the internet.
We’ve found ourselves trying to make changes to a document while on a plane without WiFi far too many times, which is why we appreciate that Google Drive allows you to view and edit documents offline on your laptop, iPhone, iPad, or Android computer. To allow offline access for a file, you must be connected to the internet — but once you’ve done that, you’re good to go. When you restore your internet connection, all of the improvements you made online will be updated
However, be cautious about which computers or devices you allow offline access on. Stick to personal computers and laptops that you use on a daily basis, according to Google. Google advises that you only use personal computers and devices that you use frequently; otherwise, your data can be compromised.
The only requirement for accessing and editing files offline on a desktop computer is that you use the Chrome web browser. If you want to use this feature, make sure to download Google Chrome.
Go to Google Drive in your web browser and click the gear icon in the top right corner to allow offline viewing and editing. From the dropdown menu, choose Settings. Then, as done below, simply check the box in the “Offline” section:
Apple’s iPhone and iPad
On your Apple devices, you can allow offline access to specific files. To allow offline access for later, first make sure you’re connected to the internet. Then, find the file you want to be able to access offline and tap the grey I button next to it, which will take you to Activity Details. On the right, an information panel will slide in; locate “Keep on Computer” and change the setting from “Off” to “On.”
When you’re not linked to the internet, all of your offline files will have a pin icon
next to them. Open the Google Drive app and pick “On-screen
” from the left-hand navigation panel to access your offline products.
On your Apple devices, you can allow offline access to specific files. To allow offline access for later, first make sure you’re connected to the internet. Then, select the file you want to be able to access offline and choose one of the following options:
1. In the information screen, touch the grey I button
next to the file and change the setting from “Off” to “On” to “Keep on computer.”
2. For 1-2 seconds, press and hold the file’s name. Then, in the pop-up box, tap the offline button.
The file is still available offline if the icon isn’t filled in.
Open the Google Drive app and pick “On screen” from the left-hand navigation panel to access your offline products.
8) Check the modification history for previous versions and restore them.
This feature is fantastic because it allows seeing all of the improvements made to files in Drive by anyone. Even better, I can go back to previous versions of my file and see who made which changes. Isn’t it cool
Simply right-click on a file or funder and select “View Details” from the dropdown menu if you only want a quick look at the operation history without going into depth. On the right-hand side of your computer, a panel will appear with a summary of who made changes and when.
To see the revision history in greater detail, open the file, select “See revision history” from the “File” menu at the top left of your computer. If you press “Display more comprehensive revisions” at the bottom, a revision history panel will appear on the right-hand side of your screen, showing who made changes and when — as well as which particular changes that person made.
To go back to a previous revision, press it and then the “Restore this revision” link that appears.
Don’t worry, restoring the revision won’t delete any of your file’s copies. By clicking the X in the upper right corner, you can return to the latest version of your folder. The previous version will be moved to the top of your revisions history.
For up to 30 days or 100 updates, Google Drive will keep a version history of all your files. Then, in a method known as “revision pruning,” it will merge revisions depending on the file’s age and/or the size of the revisions to save storage space. If you need to keep revisions for longer than that — say, for a document that is updated several times per day by several people — you can mark individual Google Drive files to hold all versions.
9) Make Drive the default document storage spot.
Do you want to make your cloud storage experience more efficient? On a Windows desktop machine, you can make Google Drive the default save location for all new documents. (Please accept our apologies, Mac users. This blog post from 2012 states that you can do it with Terminal on Mac OS X, but we couldn’t get it to work for me. It’s possible that there’s a Mavericks environment that doesn’t fit. Please leave a comment if you know how to make Drive your default document position on a Mac.)
Users of Windows: Right-click the Documents folder on your computer. From the dropdown menu, choose “Properties”.Then, under “Include a folder…”, locate your Google Drive folder. After that, highlight Google Drive and press “Include folder.” Click “Set save place” after selecting “Google Drive” from Library Locations. Click “Submit” to make the changes permanent. And that’s what there is to it!
What other Google Drive hacks do you employ? Use the comment section below to tell your favs