7 Awesome Google Drive Features You Didn’t Know About

7 Awesome Google Drive Features You Didn't Know About
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Google Drive logo.

Many people take Google Drive for granted. You store files there and access them when you need them. But there’s more to Google Drive than meets the eye. Here are some of the useful features you may have missed.

Find Files with Advanced Search

The more files you upload to Google Drive, the more you’ll have to look at when you need it. Fortunately, you have moved on search options it makes it easier.

RELATED: How to quickly search Google Drive

Enter a keyword or phrase in the Search Drive box at the top of the home page. Next, click the Show Search Options icon to the right of the search box.

You will see many options that you can use to find your file. Select the file type or owner, use keywords within the file or filename, select a location, select the modified by date option, or use one of the other fields you see.

Search options in Google Drive

Select “Search” and then view your results. If you know what folder the file is in, you can too search directly in the Google Drive folder.

Go to Direct Files

Another handy feature is Google Drive to get a direct link to your file. You can do this without even opening the file. Then, save it to your notes for quick access or with a colleague.

Right-click the file and select “Get Link”.

Get Link in the shortcut menu

You can then select “Copy Link” to place the link on the clipboard and paste it wherever you want. You can also use this box to share a link by entering your contact’s email address.

Copy and share options for Google Drive link

Use the General Access section at the bottom of the window Control who can open a file with a link. You can choose “Restricted” to give access only to people you share with, or “Anyone with a link” to allow anyone who clicks the link to open the file.

General access for file connection

Work with Microsoft Office files

If you have Google Drive, you don’t need to have Microsoft Office to work with Office files. You can receive a Word, Excel or PowerPoint file that you need to view or edit. You can open these files in the appropriate Google app, Docs, Sheets, or Slides.

RELATED: How to Download Files and Folders from Google Drive

You can additionally download Documents, Tables and Slides documents in Microsoft Office formats.

To open an Office document, upload it to Google Drive like any other file. Then either double-click or right-click, go to Open With and choose from Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides.

For a Word file, open it with Google Docs

When the file is opened in the appropriate program, you will see the file format saved above. Your changes are automatically saved and you can download the file in its original Office format.

The Word document opens in Google Docs

If you have a Document, Spreadsheet or Slides file you want export and save In Office format, it’s just as easy. Open the document and go to the File tab. Go to Download and select a format from the drop-down menu.

Download a Google Doc in Word format

Manage file versions

You can manage versions of your file, such as accessing a link to it without opening it. This feature works with PDF and Microsoft Office files as well as images.

Right-click the file and select “Manage Versions”.

Manage Versions in the shortcut menu

You will then see a pop-up window with each version of the file, including the current version.

Manage Versions window in Google Drive

As you can see at the top of the window, old versions can be deleted after 30 days or 100 saved versions. If you don’t want to lose the previous version, click on the three dots to the right of it and select “Save forever”.

Keep Versions Forever in the Manage Versions window

If you have a newer version saved on your device that you want to use, select “Download new version”. Then find the file and select “Download”.

Download New Version button

There are two other actions you can take to remove or download any of the versions you see. Use the three dots to the right of the version to select “Delete” or “Download”.

Download or delete file version

View File Action, Details and Description

Although it seems like such a simple thing, seeing the activity and details of a file can be just what you need to do. In addition, you can also benefit Images on Google Drive to add your own information.

RELATED: How to change the owner of a file in Google Drive

Open the Details sidebar in one of these ways:

  • Right-click the file and select “View Details”.
  • Select the file and click the View Details icon (lowercase ā€œiā€) in the top right.
  • Select the file, click the three dots at the top and select “View Details”.

You will then see a sidebar with two tabs for Details and Action. With details, you can specify the file type, size, the owner, date of creation, etc. You’ll see when a file is uploaded or edited with an action.

Details and Action for a file in Google Drive

Use the Details tab in the sidebar to add a description to the file. Enter your text in the Description box below and press Enter or Return. This is a good way to distinguish between files with similar names.

Description box for Google Drive file

Add Comments to Files

Another handy feature of Google Drive is the ability to make add comments to files. This is useful for notes for yourself or your colleagues.

Open the file in Preview mode. You can do this by selecting the file and clicking on the Preview icon (eye) above, or by right-clicking and choosing “Preview”.

Select the part of the file you want to comment, and then select the Comment icon on the right or top.

Type your comment in the box that appears and click the “Comment” button.

Comment box in Google Drive

Note that you can use the @ (At) symbol to tag a collaborator if you like. As a bonus, you have the option to assign your comment to that person. Check the Assign box and click the “Assign” button.

Comment box to set a note in Google Drive

Upload Files with Your Mobile Device’s Camera

If you use the Google Drive mobile app, you have an additional feature that you can do make downloads easier. You can use your device’s camera to capture a file or other item and download it as a PDF (Android) or image (iPhone).

RELATED: How to upload files and folders to Google Drive

on Android

open Android Google Drive app and tap the plus sign to download the file. Then select “Scan”.

New document and scan to Google Drive on Android

Tap the shutter button to scan the item and then use the icon to save it. If necessary, you can select the trash can icon to redraw the scanner. Select “Save”.

Mark and Save option for the scanned item

Select a location to save it to Google Drive, and then click Save again. You will then see your scanned file as a PDF.

Save the scan to Google Drive on Android

Where is the iPhone

open iPhone Google Drive app and tap the plus sign to download the file. Then select “Use Camera”.

New document and use Camera on Google Drive on iPhone

Tap the shutter button to take a photo, tap “Use photo” to upload it. You can also select “Retake” to retake the shot if needed.

Use Photos to save to Google Drive on iPhone

After a few minutes, you will see your photo in Google Drive.

Sometimes features are obvious, especially if they’re ones you use often. But then there are others that you didn’t realize existed and thought would be very useful. We hope you find at least one of these Google Drive features useful.

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