Quick Tip: Count and itemize files in Google Drive

You can quickly find out how many and what type of files are in a Google Drive folder with this little trick.

At the beginning of 2013, I made a commitment to use Google Drive to store all my TechRepublic files instead of the network share I had been using for years. It has been a very successful experiment so far and I have run into very little trouble along the way.

Tracking files

One little tip I can share involves measuring the number of files in a particular Google Drive folder and assessing what types of files occupy that folder. The basic idea is to start the download process but not complete it.

  • Navigate to the folder you want to examine and hover your mouse over it.
  • Click the more dropdown arrow and select the Download menu item.
After a few seconds, Google Drive will show you how many files are in the folder and provide a breakdown of included file types, similar to the one shown in Figure A. Click the Cancel button when you are finished looking at the listing.

Figure A

Folder breakdown
One caveat I will mention, if the folder you are examining is very large, Google Drive will tell you there are too many files to count and won't finish the counting. (Figure B)

Figure B

Too many to count

Also read:


Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.


... that the app doesn't have the same sort of functionality as Windows Explorer using a network share as Mark mentioned. Like "standard" sortable multi-column views with the usual click/shift-click/control-click selection method, Property dialogs for files and folders, drag-and-drop move and copy(including the right-drag options) and so on. I mean this stuff is not some new fangled idea, it's been around for near 20 years now. This seems to be a common issue with a lot of online apps not just Google. It's one reason I haven't used them as yet. Every time I start looking at an online/cloud app, I hit these sort of limitations pretty quickly which discourages me from proceeding. Even home use needs more, at least for me. As soon as your photo/music/video collection has more than a few hundred files, you need serious file management tools and integration with you apps.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I am using the CBS Interactive version of Google Drive the same way I used to use the network file share set up on the server down the hall. Is this a good application for Google Drive? Am I missing a potential risk?

Editor's Picks