How to Organize Google Drive

You can do a lot to keep your Google Drive organized and efficient, from creating separate folders for different types of data to color-coding and making them stand out. This article lists all the features you can use to organize your Google Drive.

1. Create folders for different types of data

Start by separating files in your Drive based on their type. To do this, create category folders for work, personal life, and education.

 Create folders for different types of data
Create category folders in your Drive.
  1. Open the Drive, and from the tab on the left, go to My Drive
  2. Here, click the New button, and from the drop-down menu, click Folder
  3. Finally, give the folder a name and click Create.

In each category folder, create subfolders to sort the data further. For example, you can create “Movies” and “Family Photographs” subfolders in the personal category folder.

2. Use color, emojis, and naming conventions

Organize folders further by assigning them colors and using emojis and naming conventions.

Use color, emojis, and naming conventions
Use names, colors, and emojis to differentiate folders visually.

Colors

In Drive, you can color-code a folder by right-clicking on it and clicking Change color. Then, assign a color to each main category folder, and apply the same color to all its subfolders.

Use color, emojis, and naming conventions
Select multiple folders to color all of them at once.

Naming conventions

Naming folders in a uniform way helps keep the data organized even more. An example would be numbering the folders. 

Name the folders with consistent conventions.

This will also help you sort the files in ascending or descending order.

Emojis

Insert emojis in folder titles to make them more attractive.

Adding Emojis to File Name
Add emojis by renaming the file/folder from the context menu.

3. Add, move, and copy files to where they belong

For existing files, start by moving them to category folders. Go to My Drive, and one by one, move them to the category folder they belong to. To do this, right-click and then click Move to. A pop-up will help you choose the destination for the selected file/folder. 

Add, move and copy files to where they belong
Move files/folders by clicking on “Move to” from the context menu, then navigate to the destination folder.

Alternatively, drag-and-drop files into each folder.

For new files, upload them directly to the category folders they belong to. You can do this by dragging-and-dropping files into the Drive or using the New button on the left-side panel.

Add, move and copy files to where they belong
Use the drag-and-drop method to upload files from your computer.

4. Rename files

Rename files that have varying names to make them more uniform and organized. You can do this by right-clicking the folder, then selecting Rename from the context menu. Make the names descriptive so that it’s easy for you to find them later on using the search tab.

Rename files from the context menu
Rename the files from the context menu.

5. Add descriptions to your files

A brief description of files and folders can help you know their content without opening them.

  1. Right-click the file or folder and select View details.
  2. Enter its description in the right-hand window.
Add description to your files
Add a description to your file from the context menu.

6. Deleting files and folders

Deleting files and folders
Delete unwanted files/folders by right-clicking and then selecting Remove.

Unnecessary folders or duplicate files can take up space. To delete them, right-click on the folder/file you want to remove, and from the context menu, click Remove.

Deleted files are moved to the Trash folder. From there, they will be permanently deleted after 30 days. If you have accidentally deleted something, you can restore it by right-clicking the file in the Trash folder, then selecting Restore.

Deleting files and folders (Restore)
Restore the accidentally deleted files/folders from the trash.

Click Empty trash to clear up the Trash folder and permanently delete everything in it.

Deleting files and folders (Empty Trash)
Click the “Empty trash” button to delete files permanently.

7. Change view

Change View
Switch between list and grid views by clicking the view button in the top right corner.

You can use the list view or the grid view when organizing your Drive. You can change between the two by clicking on the View icon in the top-right corner of the My Drive folder.

List View
Select List view for a detailed view of your files.

List view provides more information, such as the file’s owner, size, and the last modified date. 

Grid View
Select the Grid view for a minimalistic view.

Grid view gives a minimalistic view of your files and folders.

8. Sort files

Sort files in a consistent order throughout your Drive to make it more organized. You can sort them in ascending or descending order based on their name or date modified.

List View (Asc/Dsc)
Sort files/folders in ascending or descending order in the list view.

If you want the same file in multiple folders, you can use symbolic links instead of copy-pasting them. This makes your Drive more organized and saves up space.

Symbolic links
Use symbolic links to save space and stay organized.
  1. Right-click on the original file and select Add shortcut to Drive.
  2. In the new window, navigate to the folder you want the shortcut in.
  3. Click Add Shortcut.

The shortcut file will have a small arrow to indicate symbolic linking.

Note: Deleting the shortcut file does not delete the original file. However, deleting the original file permanently will render the shortcut file unusable.

10. Star important files

Star important files
Star important files from the context menu.

You can mark your important files and folders to access them quickly later. Right-click on the file and select Add to Starred. You can access all of your starred files in the Starred folder. Starred files will have a star next to their name.

11. Ignore the “Shared with me” tab

The Shared with me folder contains all the files and folders shared with you by other users. You cannot organize this folder because it contains the file you have access to but don’t own. 

Add to Shortcut Drive
Frequently accessed file shortcuts can be created from the context menu.

However, if there is a file that you access frequently, you can either create its symbolic link or make a copy of it and move it to your Drive.

12. Regularly Audit your Google Drive

Go through your Drive regularly and keep your files and folders tidied up. Instead of letting files pile up, place them in their designated folders from the beginning using correct naming conventions and the tips listed above.

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