Tech Tip Tuesday: Tame Your Google Drive

If your google drive is anything like mine, it fills up fast. Really fast. Scrolling through my drive is a sure-fire way to increase my anxiety. Since that’s uncomfortable, I avoid it like the plague.

But when you need to find something, you need to find it.

That’s where the advanced search features of my Google Drive have become my go-to in just about every situation.

Advanced Google Search

Google does a lot of things really well – one of those things is searching. Google searches so well that the word itself has become synonymous with searching – eg, “Just Google it.”

At the top of your drive is a search bar – you’ve probably used it. But have you ever clicked on the drop-down triangle on the far right side of the search bar?

When you do, you’ll see all kinds of ways to filter your search. Let’s say I’m looking for a Google Doc on Choice Boards. I have several of them, but they don’t all start with the word “Choice,” so searching alphabetically is going to be almost impossible.

Just Filter It!

So…in the “Type” drop-down, I choose Docs.

I know I made the document, so I select myself as the owner. If you know someone else created the doc, you can select whatever is appropriate. In the image below, I left “Date Modified” at “Any time” because I want to see all of my docs and in “Item Name” I typed “Board” because I want all docs that have the word Board in the title.

If you’re not sure what’s in the tile, but you know some of the words in the file itself, there’s a place to enter that as well. There’s also a place to filter by “in trash,” “starred,” “Shared with,” and even if it’s been marked for Follow up.

It’s Almost Miraculous

Here are the results of my search:

Waaaaaay more manageable than scrolling through the approximately 1,000,000,000,000 documents in my drive. Approximately.

Pretty slick, yeah? But sometimes, even filtered searches are time-consuming and crazy-making.

When Advanced Search Isn’t Enough

I usually have several plates spinning at once. When you collaborate with folks on projects and you need easy access to a set of files but have hundreds of file folders and some of those are nested two and three folders deep, finding the right folder takes too much time. I hate wasting time when I’m trying to work.

Enter Priority Workspaces

I don’t know when Google made Priority Workspaces, but I discovered them this past fall. They have saved me time and made me an all-around nicer person. Essentially, the workspace lets you add a group of documents into a single workspace without moving them to a particular folder.

You’ll find Priority Workspaces right in your Google Drive page.

Click Priority and it will take you to this view:

Click Create to make your first workspace. You’ll be prompted to give the Workspace a name and then you can start adding files.

Add the files you need. I’ve used workspaces when I was getting together a presentation and wanted all of my resources within a single click. I use one to keep all my ed tech team type documents (like meeting agenda, status reports, etc) in one place – even though some of those docs “live” in shared team drives.

Be a Good Teammate

It’s important to emphasize that your Workspace doesn’t actually move anything – it just serves as a “pointer” to the docs. When you are collaborating, this is crucial. You can’t just go moving documents from one folder to another when you’re working with other people. I found that out the hard way – even if the folder I put the documents in made sooooo much more sense. 😉

For a Virgo like me, it Priority Workspaces satisfies my need to feel organized and at the same time saves me tons of time looking for things that are buried in folders. Well… I have to look for them once – when I’m building the workspace – but after that, it’s just a single click on Priority and everything I need is right in front of me.

When you’re done with a workspace, you can delete it. If you’re not done, but your workspace is getting crowded, you can just hide it. Click on the three dots for your options.

Give these Google Drive tips a try if finding things in your drive drives you crazy. You’ll be the master of your drive in no time!

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