Cloud

5 Google Drive tips you'll kick yourself for not knowing

Take your Google Drive experience to the next level with these five handy tips.

Image: Google

Are you getting the most out of Google Drive? If you don't know, check out these tips that could make your experience of using Google Drive even better.

Start using these lesser-known keyboard shortcuts

The standard shortcuts in Google Drive (for features like cut, paste, select all, print) all work as expected, but there are other shortcuts you'll want to know. This is the short list:
  • Shift + t: create new text document
  • Shift + p: create new presentation
  • Shift + s: create new spreadsheet
  • /: search your Drive
  • d: show/hide details pane
  • n: rename selected item

For the full list of Google Drive keyboard shortcuts, check out this official Google page.

Send large files to others

Many sharing services limit the size of files you can send to other users; you can get around this with Google Drive.

I create a shared folder at the root of my Drive and name it Public Share, and then I upload to that folder whatever large file I want to send to another user. Once it's uploaded, right-click the file and select Share. Enter the target user's email address, and they will receive the link for the file. Simple as that.

Make use of the revision history

As you make edits to your files, Google Drive retains a revision history. You can always examine every revision you've done and even revert back to an older iteration of the file. If you navigate to a file's containing folder and select the file in question, you'll see the history of the document in the Activity section of the Details Pane (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A
Image: Jack Wallen

Looking through the activity of a Google Drive file.

The activity doesn't show you the revision history — only the dates the file was modified. To view the full revision history, open the document, click File | See Revision History, and the full history of your edits will appear (Figure B). You can revert to any of the revisions by selecting a date from the right pane and then clicking Restore This Revision.

Figure B

Figure B
Image: Jack Wallen

Viewing the revision history of a document in Google Drive.

Benefit from suggested edits

The suggested edits feature (not it's official name) makes collaboration or even working on your own documents so much easier.

While working on a document in Google Drive, you'll notice a drop-down near the top right corner. By default that drop-down will be set at Editing. If you click it, you can select Suggesting. When you select that option, all of your edits will appear as suggestions — similar to that of Track Changes. You can accept or reject the edits in the user box at the bottom of the pane (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C
Image: Jack Wallen

Suggestive editing in Google Drive.

To switch back to standard editing, select Editing from the drop-down, and you're good to go.

Use Google Drive's add-ons

Google Drive offers a number of really handy add-ons. The Add-ons menu is between Table and Help; click Add-ons and then select Get Add-ons. In the resulting window, you can select from helpful additions ranging from diagrams, charts, mind mapping, bibliography creators, writing aids, music notation, and so much more. After you install an add-on, it will show up in the Add-ons menu.

I highly recommend scouring through the list of add-ons to find exactly what would help make your Google Drive experience even more powerful and efficient.

Post your favorite Google Drive tips

These five tips are sure to make your daily grind simpler and shave at least a few seconds off every time you venture into the Google cloud platform.

What are your favorite Google Drive tricks? Share them in the discussion.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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