Maximizing Efficiency: A Cheatsheet to Master Google Drive

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Whether you are a professional, a student hungry for knowledge, or the average layman who occasionally accesses Google Drive to manage your files, images, and videos, everyone can benefit from a bit more efficiency. I’ve prepared this cheat sheet for Google Drive after using the service extensively both in my personal and professional life.

The ultimate cheatsheet to master Google Drive:

1. Find the right file with “Search Within”

Google Drive allows me to save several files with the same name. That’s a neat feature when I’m in a hurry. Unfortunately, finding the right file becomes a hassle later on. That’s where the Search Within feature comes in.

While the feature doesn’t exist separately anymore, you can simply type the content inside the Google Drive search box. For instance, if a Google Doc has the phrase “Bet new AI tools”, type it directly in the search box and Drive will show you the most recent files with that phrase.

2. Fine-tune your Search

You can also fine-tune your search for finding a very specific file.

  • Click on the toggle in the right corner of the search box in Google Drive.
  • Click on “Type” and choose the file type – PDF, Images, Documents, etc.
  • Choose the owner of the file – You or someone else who has shared the file with you
  • Hit the box next to “Has the words” and enter a few words that can be found in the file
  • Enter a few words that match the file name in the box next to “Item name” 
  • You also get to choose the location of the file. Click on “More locations…” to browse to a certain folder in the drive or select “Anywhere” if you aren’t sure about the location of the file.

You can also find options to search for files in the trash or even those that are awaiting your approval.

3. Useful shortcuts

Shortcuts seem less intuitive than dragging the mouse to click on a few options to get something done. However, when you get used to shortcuts, you become more efficient and achieve a seamless workflow. The same holds for Google Drive. Here are a few shortcuts that you may use frequently:    

  • G+A = Download Status
  • G+U = Upload Status
  • Shift+Left Arrow key = Extend selected text to left in documents
  • Shift+Right Arrow key = Extend selected text to right in documents
  • Ctrl+P = Print document

With these few shortcuts, you’re just scratching the surface. You can explore all the shortcuts on Google Drive by pressing Ctrl+/.

4. Enable Offline Sync

Free WiFi isn’t a new thing. However, when you’re on a flight and need to get work done, you run out of options. With offline sync, you can continue your work anywhere, even when you’re not connected to the internet. However, you need the Google Chrome browser to enable this feature. To do that:

  • On Chrome, go to Google Drive
  • Click on the gear icon to open Settings
  • Click the checkbox for Offline

You can also download the Google Drive app on your phone and do the same to keep changes synced.

Google Drive is a very powerful tool that lets you leverage all the capabilities of the Google Suite and it’s going to keep improving. With the above-mentioned tips and shortcuts, you can leverage the full power of this tool and use it more effectively.  

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