A few months ago, I created a video series on Udemy called Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes. The series mirrors most of the book I wrote about Google Drive and Docs, but has the advantage of being really visual. In this post I will be sharing one of the foundation videos that explains the Google Drive interface. It’s less than 6 minutes long. Enjoy!
It’s a pretty common scenario to have to restore a deleted file in Google Drive. Perhaps you deleted the file in error, or you trashed it and discovered later that you need to access it once more. The following method to restore a deleted file in Google Drive is not failsafe, but in many cases it will allow you to quickly bring it back to life. Note that this method works for native Google files (such as documents created in Google Docs, presentations created in Google Slides, spreadsheets created in Google Sheets, etc.) as well as files that were created by other applications or devices–photos, Microsoft Word documents, text files, PDFs, etc.
The video is less than two minutes long:
Readers of Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes may be interested to know that we have several related products that can help them get the most out of Google’s free online office suite. They include a Google Drive Cheat Sheet, which is described below. The printed version of the Google Drive Cheat Sheet is available for purchase on Amazon or as a downloadable PDF. We also offer a Google Docs Cheat Sheet and Google Sheets Cheat Sheet.
Google Drive Cheat Sheet
The Google Drive Cheat Sheet contains top tips and easy-to-read annotated screenshots of Google Drive on the Web. The four-panel reference is printed on 8.5 by 11 inch high-quality card stock, perfect for desks, walls, and shelves. It has holes for three-ring binders. Topics include:
- The new Google Drive interface, including icons, file and folder uploads, and shared files. Annotated for easy reference!
- How to create new documents in Google Docs, spreadsheets in Google Sheets, and presentations in Google Slides
- How to drag and drop files to Google Drive using a PC or Mac
- Three options for converting Microsoft Office files (Word .doc and .docx, Excel .xls and .xlsx, and PowerPoint .ppt and .pptx)
- How to use search in Google Drive to find specific files or file types
- How to permanently delete files
- How to restore files and folders
- Keyboard shortcuts
- Basic features of the Google Drive mobile app
- And much more!
Note that aside from conversion, document creation, and keyboard shortcuts, the Google Drive Cheat Sheet does not cover Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, or other applications in Google’s free online office suite (we offer separate cheat sheets for those topics!)
The Google Drive Cheat Sheet was created by the author of the top-selling book Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes.
How to order the Google Drive Cheat Sheet
To order a printed copy of the Google Drive Cheat Sheet, visit Amazon. The PDF can be downloaded using this secure order form. There is also an option to purchase 20 copies of the printed Google Drive Cheat Sheet at 25% off the retail price, ground shipping included!
A reader of Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes recently wrote in with the following question about managing Google Drive on a Chromebook with limited storage space:
“When using Google Docs with offline sync is it possible to select where the files should be stored? There is little memory available in a Chromebook so I use a thumb-drive to store stuff and thought it would be a great place to store offline documents – but how to I tell the computer to store it there?”
It is possible the default “save” location for all files, using this method:
To set a default location for your saved files:
- Click the status area, where your account picture appears.
- Select Settings > Show advanced settings.
- In the “Downloads” section, pick a default download location by clicking Change.
However, I do not believe it is currently possible to change the default location of a Chromebook’s Drive Files folder for offline syncing. Following is an explanation of how Drive handles a lack of storage space on Chromebooks … it apparently removes older files that have not been accessed in a while:
Open the File Manager app.
- Click on the Downloads folder > 3 dot menu > how much space is left on your local SSD.
- Click on My Drive > 3 dot menu > how much space is left in your online storage.Drive offline syncs up to 5GB or 100 files. It will start automatically removing the oldest modified files from the local SSD when you get to that number.This is the only way you can selectively sync and choose non Google Docs, Sheets etc. Files like jpeg, png or PDF files or some other format via the right click context menu.This is how is works at the moment. The way to avoid the syncing for offline is to always work in the Drive app or drive.google.com. and only open the ones you want offline in the Drive folder in the File Manager app.Most chromebooks have 16GB – about 7GB for Chrome OS = 9GB – extensions/apps – cache – files in local Downloads – offline capable app files like Keep or offline Gmail.If your Chromebook is running out of local storage space, you either have a lot of files in the Downloads folder or have other User Accounts also using local disk space.
It’s probably not the answer the reader wanted to hear, but in this case I think it is difficult to work around the inherent limitations of the Chromebook platform (i.e., tight integration with Google Drive/Docs/Sheets/Slides and a lack of internal storage to keep Chromebooks cheap & help them live up to the promise of cloud storage).
One thing I added when I responded to the reader: Keep in mind that even if a file is removed from the Chromebook, it will still be available on drive.google.com.
A reader recently contacted me to ask about file conversion and use of storage space in Google Drive. She wrote:
“I purchased your Google Drive book today and consider it a solid foundation to begin, thanks! I am new to freelancing and two of my clients use Google Drive so trying to get up to speed ASAP.I am hoping you can answer one of the questions that I am most interested in – is there a way to convert a word doc with ext .docx into a Google doc and not use up storage space? I.e. if I copy text from a word doc and paste into a new Google doc is that considered a Google doc file and therefore doesn’t use any storage space? I’d like to eliminate a number of word documents on my laptop and transfer to my Drive so can easily share with clients, but would prefer not to use up storage space.”
The answer: Any Google Doc created by a user through any means (copy and paste, or the “open as” feature) will not count toward that user’s Google Drive storage limit.
However, if the user uploads and converts a .docx file, he or she should delete the original .docx file after creating the Google Docs version because the original Word file will count toward the storage limit. For people using the free Google Drive/Docs accounts, this is a big deal.
However, there is one other major consideration before doing any large-scale conversion of MS Word files to Google Docs: If the original .docx files have complex formatting (for instance, a newsletter or a document with complex headers or footers), Google Docs will strip out most of the formatting or convert it to something that looks quite different than the original. This is an issue I discussed in my book, and used an example of a fancy Word template that was completely gutted during the Google Docs conversion process. Standard reports, letters, and drafts generally come through OK, though.
Also, in my opinion it’s worth paying a little extra to get more storage space and other features. I do it through a Google Apps subscription, which allows me to use my own email address plus a bunch of email aliases and more Google Drive storage than I know what to do with (90 GB in all). It’s worth the $5/month, plus I get a little more attention when I need Google Drive support (that is, an actual human being looks into issues when they come up).
How to permanently delete a file or folder in Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, or Google Drive, using the new Google Drive interface released in 2015. While most people think that clicking the trash can icon for a selected file or folder in Google Drive will remove it for good, that’s not the case — it still exists in a sort of holding pen. The following two-minute video explains how to permanently delete a file or folder in Google Drive:
For more tips and tricks on how to get the most out of Google Drive, check out Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes, 2nd Edition.
Learn how to restore a deleted file or folder, using the new Google Drive interface released in 2015. Because Google Drive doesn’t delete selected files or folders when you “remove” them using the trash can icon in the Google Drive toolbar, you can restore them. This means that old project folder or a Google docs file you mistakenly trashed can be recovered as long as you haven’t emptied the trash. The video below explains how it works:
This video is less than 2 minutes long. For more tips and tricks on how to get the most out of Google Drive, check out Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes, 2nd edition.
A reader recently emailed to ask me about Microsoft Office vs Google Drive. He noted that Microsoft has invested millions of dollars refining its Office Suite over many decades, and the suite has now evolved to Office 2013 and the subscription-based Office 365. He added that Microsoft Word, although not perfect, is full of extremely useful functionality. Moreover, Microsoft Office has Access (a pretty powerful database tool), for which Google doesn’t even offer a corresponding product.
As I read his email, I found myself nodding in agreement. Microsoft Office is a powerful suite. Although I have written an in-depth guide to Google Drive & Google Docs, I am by no means a Google zealot. The Drive suite competes poorly against its Microsoft counterparts in several key aspects. However, it also has some functionality that Office does not have. Here’s my response to the reader asking about Google Drive vs. Microsoft Office:
If Access is a must-have application in your business suite, I would say that you should stick with Office. Likewise, if you need advanced formatting options in Word and PowerPoint, Office beats the Google Drive suite, hands-down.
The formatting options in Drive are very basic, suitable for basic business letters, reports, and spreadsheets, but for professional looking business-grade documentation or presentations Office is superior. Tracking changes in Word is also superior to Google Docs’ rudimentary functionality.
As I explained in my guide, where Google Drive excels is in its collaboration features and online integration. The real-time collaboration and permissions are very powerful, and the ability to publish documents to the Web for external review or other purposes is unmatched. Google Sheets also has neat features that let you publish online forms to the Web to gather data (for instance, a simple survey or customer contact form) and the data is automatically flowed into a spreadsheet or emailed to the account owner. Sheets can also publish a spreadsheet to the Web so audiences can slice and dice the data or even add their own data (if permission is granted). I describe how to use all of these features in my guide.
In the end, I have to acknowledge that the Microsoft Office suite is a superior tool in many respects to Google Drive. However, the powerful online features of Google Drive, not to mention it’s browser-based functionality are attractive to millions of users across the globe. In addition, it’s possible to work with both suites (I use Office and Google Drive for my business) and there are many conversion tools in Drive, which make it possible to convert a PDF to Google Drive or Microsoft Word, or convert a Google Sheets spreadsheet to Microsoft Excel.
Finally, Google Drive offers a powerful reason for newbies to at least try it out: It’s free for the basic storage plan offered by Google. Microsoft is experimenting with low-cost or free programs with Office Online, but for the full-featured Office suite, you’ll have to pay.
Here’s the scenario: You have a Microsoft Word .doc or .docx file. It’s important, and you want other people to see it, but you don’t want to email it around. The following short video (less than 5 minutes long) will show you how to publish a Microsoft Word document on the Web, using the free online word processor that comes with Google Drive.
While this method of online publishing may not preserve fine-tuned Word formatting, fonts, or special graphic treatments in the original .doc or .docx file, it’s great for publishing rough drafts of reports, letters, homework assignments, or other documents that you want to share with a wider audience. Google Drive will generate a link that you can copy and paste into other documents or email programs. Drive also lets you publish the link directly to Facebook or Twitter, and for those people who know how to use HTML, it’s also possible to embed the video in a blog post or some other type of online publishing system.
If you want to have a reference for this and other Google Drive tips and tricks, check out my book, Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes. In addition, if you enjoy the video, please share it or like it:
Google Drive shortcuts: Why use them?
Keyboard shortcuts let users issue commands and perform basic formatting. They can save a lot of time. Instead of moving the cursor with a mouse to select a menu item or toolbar icon, you simply hold down two or more specific keys at the same time.
Here is a basic reference list of Google Drive shortcuts. It applies to Google Drive as well as Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.
All of the listed shortcuts work in the Google Chrome browser. Some may not work in Internet Explorer or Firefox. Google recommends the Chrome browser for Google Drive and other Google applications.
Google Drive home screen shortcuts
The following keyboard shortcuts work on Windows and Mac desktops and laptops as well as Chromebooks.
c – Create new file
u – Upload new file
o – Open file
d – Information about file
j or down arrow – Advance to next file
k or up arrow – Go back to previous file
x – Select file
t – Open settings pane
n – Rename selected file
Keyboard shortcuts for Google Docs, Sheets and Slides
Some keyboard shortcuts are identical to those used in Microsoft Office and other programs. For instance, copying and pasting text is the same in Google Docs and Microsoft Word.
Here is a list of shortcuts for Google Docs, Sheets and Slides:
Control + / – Show all keyboard shortcuts
Control + ‘ – Go to next misspelling (Docs only)
Control + Shift + c – Word count (Docs only)
Control + o – Open file
Control + p – Print file
Control + f – Find text
Control + z – Undo
Control + y – Redo
Control + b – Bold text
Control + i – Italicize text
Control + u – Underline text
Control + a – Select all
Control + x – Cut selected text
Control + c – Copy selected text
Control + v – Paste
Control + k – Create link to Web address
Alt + Shift + f – Open file menu
Alt + Shift + e – Open edit menu
Alt + Shift + v – Open view menu
Alt + Shift + i – Open insert menu
Alt + Shift + t – Open tools menu
Command + / – Show all keyboard shortcuts
Command + ‘ – Go to next misspelling (Docs only)
Command + Shift + c – Word count (Docs only)
Command + o – Open file
Command + p – Print file
Command + f – Find text
Command + z – Undo
Command + y – Redo
Command + b – Bold text
Command + i – Italicize text
Command + u – Underline text
Command + a – Select all
Command + x – Cut selected text
Command + c – Copy selected text
Command + v – Paste
Command + k – Create link to Web address
Control + Option + f – Open file menu
Control + Option + e – Open edit menu
Control + Option + v – Open view menu
Control + Option + i – Open insert menu
Control + Option + t – Open tools menu
Each one of our Google Drive, Google Docs and Google Sheets cheat sheets contains lists of keyboard shortcuts.