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5 Google Tips You Can't Live Without

posted Dec 3, 2012, 6:46 AM by Kay Schmalen

Using Google Drive can be a blessing and a headache at the same time.  Files are appearing in your Google Drive left and right, you have no idea where they came from or how to get rid of them! Luckily, I have 5 helpful tips that can make your life a little easier when it comes to using Google Drive.

1.  Organize, Organize, Organize.

Take advantage of those organization tools.  When you go to Google Drive, there is an option to create Documents, Presentations, etc. there is also can option to create folders?  From there you can move files into those folders by selecting the document and then clicking on organize.


(Be careful that you don't move files out of a shared folder though!  It will remove that file for everyone who has access to that folder.)  These folders work just like your folders on your laptop or desktop computer.  You can name them accordingly, nest them and change the colors of the folders.

2.  Use the Search Toolbar

Google Drive has its own search toolbar.

Using this tool bar, you can search your entire Drive.  When you put a search term in the textbox, it searching EVERYTHING in your drive  for that term.  It searches titles, descriptions and text within files, even PDFs. You can also apply some search operators to help narrow your search.  For example, use quotes around a phrase to search for that EXACT phrase.  Use the word OR to search for more than one word, use a hypen (-) to remove words from the search results.  There are some other powerful search terms:

title: search within the title only
owner: search documents that are owned by a certain person (use their Google account info, e.g.
to: search for documents that were shared with a certain person (use their Google account info, e.g.

Google also provides documentation on these search terms.  If I can't find something, the Search Toolbar is my go to tool!

3.  Have more than one Google Account?  

Remember if you have a Google Apps account provided for you by AEA 267 (or your place of employment), it should be used only for work related materials.  Therefore, I have two Google accounts, one that I use for work and one that I use for personal things, such shopping, kids activities, etc.  When you are in one Google account, it is a pain to log out of one and go to the other.  Google provides something called multiple log ins.  When I am logged in to my Google account and click on my name in the upper left hand corner of the web page, I see something like this.  This way I can easily navigate between my two accounts.

To set this up, log into one account, then click on Add Account, and log in to the other account.

This is a great feature, and if you choose to use it, please keep in mind that it is ultimately your responsibility to know which account you are in.  You can check this looking in the upper right hand side of your browser window.  

Also, if you are using a company owned computer, keep in mind that ANY activity that you do on that computer, regardless of what account you are using, is subject to your employer's Acceptable Use Policy. 

4. Bookmark Common Documents

Because each Google Document has its own unique web address, just like your favorite web pages, you can bookmark any Google Doc the same way as you would a web page (even ones that you don't own). For example, I have a document called Contract Days that I update frequently.  Instead of opening up Google Drive and locating it in my list of files, I have the document bookmarked or listed in my favorites.  This way I can easily locate it by clicking on the link that I have bookmarked.

5. Organize, Organize, Organize

Ok, I know that I've already said, but it bears repeating, and Google Drive has more than folders to keep you organized.  If you have a file or files that someone has shared with you that you don't need anymore (e.g. old agendas, committee notes that you are no longer part of, documents that are no longer relevant, etc.) you don't have to keep them.  I'm giving you permission to remove these items from your Google Drive.  To do this, click on the box next to the file that you no longer need then click on the trash can icon at the top.

If you don't own the document or if you own the document and it isn't shared with others the document will disappear and you will receive a notice at the top saying that the item(s) was removed. If you own the document and it is shared with others, it will be moved to the trash and you will receive a notice at the top, that it was removed and is no longer shared with others.  In other words, those who you gave permission to the document to edit it, view it, etc, will no longer have access to it.  

If that is not what you wanted to do you can Undo it, by clicking on the blue Undo button, or going to your trash and restoring it.  (Once you empty your trash, you cannot recover it.)

Lots more tips coming! 

Also, check out the AEA 267 Google Apps Website for additional resources. You’ll also find a list of upcoming workshops that are available in each of the AEA 267 offices.