Intro

Google Drive is basically an extension of your computer’s hard drive, allowing you to securely store your files and manage them from any device. A free Gmail account grants you with 15G of space to get started, with very economical options to expand your storage space.

Backing up your files to a cloud-based storage system, such as Google Drive is just a smart idea.
 

Getting Started

Google allows you to open your files from any Google app just by clicking on the 3×3 series of dots in the top right-hand corner. Alternatively, you can visit drive.google.com and sign into your account.

This is your “Drive”, where you can set up file folders and create documents such as spreadsheets, Docs, Forms, and Slides. Here is where you organize it just like files on your computer’s hard drive, dragging and dropping to move files around.

Also note that you have the ability to colour code folders, making organization even easier.
 

File Sharing

Google Drive is the ultimate tool for virtual teams working together, because it encourages collaboration. Several people can be working on the same file at the same time, with changes being made in real-time.

To share a file or folder, right-click the file or folder you wish to share. You will see two sharing options, “Share” and “Get Shareable Link”. Click on Share and a small window will open (where you will again have the option to get a shareable link). This is where you can input the email address of the person you’d like to share the file with. Clicking on Get Shareable Link, and Google will generate a link that you can send to the person you wish to share it with.

Special note – not all file-sharing permissions are the same. You can choose to allow others to View or Edit, depending on your needs. You can also revoke someone’s access, just by clicking on Advanced, and removing the person.

 

Viewing Files Shared with You

If you click on “Shared with me”, you will see all the files that others have shared with you. This is handy if you’ve lost the file-sharing invitation email that you were likely sent when they shared it with you. These files will remain here until you choose to remove them. Removing files here doesn’t delete the file for the file owner, it just removes you from the people the file is shared with.

 

Trash

Files in Trash should be reviewed on a regular basis, especially if you’re trying to stay within your free file storage limit. Anything you delete from Google Drive will be here, and if you REALLY want to remove it for good, you’ll need to empty your Trash. Trash counts against your storage space, so this is an important step.

 

Extras

As someone who works virtually and doesn’t like to leave anything to chance, I strongly recommend backing up your Google Drive, and to do that, you will need to visit Google Takeout: takeout.google.com.

You can choose to back up pretty much anything in your Google account, but Drive is what’s important here. To do this, deselect everything, then select Drive. Scroll to the bottom and click Next Step. Select Export Once, choose your file type and the file size (Google will adjust if you’ve picked a size it cannot accommodate). Click Create Export. I recommend downloading this file as a zip file and uploading it to a cloud-based app OTHER than Google Drive, such as DropBox. You’ll receive an email, verifying that your archive has been requested. It takes a few minutes, maybe several, depending on how much data you’re backing up.

It’s also, in my opinion, important to know how to find the largest files taking up space in Drive. This is a great way to find sneaky files that are eating up space so you can decide on whether you need them or not.

To do this, go to your Drive, and click on the space used under Storage. Drive should automatically list from largest to smallest. If you aren’t sure if you need the file, you can right-click on it, and select Preview. You can choose to keep or delete them. Don’t forget to Empty Trash when you’re finished this step.

 

I hope you’ve found this article helpful!

 

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