how to use google drive
Here are five ways to get best out of using Google Drive. Source: John Macdougall/AFP

Today, it’s essential to know how to use Google Drive. This platform is arguably one of the best productivity tools in the market — reaching one billion users worldwide in 2018.

As good as it is, there may be some hidden features you are unaware of — functions that  can help you work better and smarter. Here’s how you can use this storage platform to its full potential, and additional plug-ins you can consider installing: 

how to use google drive

Google Drive supports offline access, allowing you to work on your document even when you’re not connected to the Internet. Source: Franck Fife/AFP

5 ways to use Google Drive effectively 

1. Install add-ons to check for grammatical errors and plagiarism 

As you edit your documents on Google Drive, installing Google plug-ins is a great way to boost your Drive’s function. 

If you need a tool that reviews your spelling, grammar and punctuation, consider using Grammarly. The best part? This software uses artificial intelligence so you can focus on the content of your assignment, as Grammarly will automatically do its work. 

You can also use Grammarly to check for plagiarism by clicking on the “plagiarism” feature. Note that this function is merely a suggestion by Grammarly, so we recommend you directly attribute sources and quotes and cross-check facts on reliable websites and sources. 

2. Learn to use Google Drive’s shortcuts 

Pressed for time and need to navigate your files on Google Drive quickly? Practise this neat trick. 

You can view a complete list of shortcut keys by clicking Ctrl and / or when you are on Google Drive. Once you’ve done that, choose whichever shortcut keys you wish to learn. 

For example, you can j,k,l, and h to swiftly scroll through the items you need on your Drive. Hover over a folder or a file and click x to access it. 

how to use google drive

If you find yourself constantly updating newer versions of your PDF document, here’s a neat trick to keep multiple versions of a file. Source: Fayez Nureldine/AFP

3. Keep multiple versions of a file

Find yourself uploading multiple versions of a PDF, image, or video? In Google Drive, you can constantly upload new versions of a file while keeping its older versions. 

To do so, right-click on the new file you have uploaded on Google Drive and click on “Manage Versions”. Here, you’ll be able to upload newer versions without creating duplicates. Remember to select the “Keep Forever” option when uploading your new files, or the older versions will get deleted after 30 days.

Unfortunately, this feature does not work with Google Docs, Sheets or Slides. 

4. See your files sorted by size 

Generally, Google Drive offers 15GB of free space to every user. Those who signed up with Google for Education using a valid student email are entitled to unlimited Google Drive storage.

Whether you are a general or student user, knowing how to store your files optimally helps free up more storage space — and it starts by arranging your files by size. 

Here’s how you do it:

  • Go to Google Drive and click “Storage” to see files sorted by size 
  • Locate the files that you no longer need
  • Right-click on the file and choose “Remove” from the pop-up menu
  • The files will be transferred to the “Trash” folder
  • Hover over the files that you don’t need and select “Delete forever” to remove them permanently 

5. Save files directly from the web (through an extension)

We get it: it can be a hassle to download files from the Internet to your Google Drive. Consider adding Save to Google Drive to your list of Google Chrome extensions. With this, you can instantly save links, images, and videos. It also allows you to save an entire web page in HTML, MHT, Google Docs, or PNG format. 

Check through the options in this extension, so you’re saving the files directly to your desired folder. To do so, right-click on the extension to view the “options” menu. Here, ensure you have linked the correct Google account and set the appropriate folder location.