5 basic but effective Google Drive tips

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5 basic but effective Google Drive tips

If you're new to Google Drive, here are some suggestions for getting the most from the service.

Install the Drive software on your computers and devices

Maybe this one's obvious, but it is an important step if you don't just want to use Google Drive via the web. With Drive https://www.google.com/drive/download/ installed on your Windows or OS X computer, or iOS or Android device, Google Drive works much like Dropbox and similar file-sync services in terms of keeping your files accessible everywhere.

Use Google Drive instead of attachments

If you email a large file to someone, there's a chance that it will be too big for their inbox, or larger than permitted by their mail administrator. Various services exist to get around this (eg, Hightail https://www.hightail.com ) by letting you upload the file to their servers and then emailing a link to the recipient. Equivalent capability is built into Gmail and Google Drive.

When composing a message in Gmail, click the Google Drive icon to the right of the Send button, then select the required file from your Google Drive. 

If you do want to send a file from Google Drive as an attachment, that option is available too.

Move files easily into Google Drive

The previous tip works nicely if the file you need to send is already in Google Drive. Copying a file to Google Drive means opening the Google Drive folder - if you followed our first tip, the easiest way is to click on the Google Drive icon in the system tray and select "Open Google Drive folder" - and then drag the file to it.

Wouldn't you rather do this in one step instead of two? You can, after a once-off setup task.

Open a Windows Explorer window (perhaps by selecting Computer from the Start menu) and type or paste the following string into the address bar:


and press Enter.

Next, right-click the Google Drive item in the list of Favorites (the left-hand column of the window), and drag it into the main body of the window. Release the button, then select "Copy here" (not "Move here") from the popup menu with a left-click.

Now you can right-click on any file and then select Google Drive from the "Send to" submenu.

Online apps

This might be obvious to the initiated, but Google Drive is more than just a Dropbox alternative as it also provides a suite of online applications: Docs (word processing), Sheets (spreadsheets), Slides (presentations), Forms (data collection), and Drawings (graphics). Click the New button to create a document using any of these apps.

Documents created in Google's apps do not count towards your Google storage quota.

A variety of other apps integrate with Google Drive. Click the New button, hover over More, and click "Connect more apps" to see them listed.

Empty the Bin

You already know that when you move an item to the Recycle Bin (Windows) or Trash (OS X), it isn't actually deleted until you empty the Bin/Trash. Google Drive works much the same way. When you delete an item from your Google Drive it's just moved into the Bin. To empty the Bin, click Bin, then open the Bin menu and select "Empty bin".

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