How to organize your google drive

How to organize your google drive

Google Drive is like your closet — you stash all your stuff there, but it’s not exactly organized.

The storage service lets users save files like documents, forms and photos. Depending on your storage space, you have a lot of room to play with, which makes it infinitely easy to create clutter.

However, there are dozens of little things you can do to clean up your virtual closet. From color-coding to using the “Starred” folder, here are five painless ways to organize your Google Drive.

1. See what’s eating up your space.

How to organize your google drive

You only have so much free space in Google Drive before that gratis 15 GB is used up. Before you shell out for extra space, make sure you’re actually using the available room wisely. Much like any device we own, our Drive can quickly fill up with forgotten files, photos or documents that we might not need anymore.

One easy way to do that is by clicking on the tiny “Manage” option at the bottom left-hand corner. It tells you how many gigabytes your Gmail, Drive and Google+ are taking up. From there, go to your Drive homepage — if you look on the right-hand side, there’s a column titled “File size,” which will show how large each file is.

If you have a Google Play-compatible device, use the free app Unclouded. It automatically tells you which files are eating up the most space.

2. Color-code your files.

How to organize your google drive

If you’re all about visual presentation, color-coding folders is an easy way to organize your Drive. Right-click your folder of choice and select the option “Change Color.” You can select one of 24 different options.

3. Add numbers to file names.

How to organize your google drive

You can choose the order in which files show up, from alphabetical naming order to most recent files. If you know exactly what you want to go to, number your files from most important to least important. That way, the files you really want will always be on top.

Right-click the file of choice, and click on the “Rename” option. From there, go ahead and put them in number order.

4. Star different items.

How to organize your google drive

Much like your Gmail, there’s a “Starred” section of your Drive. Star whichever files you want by right-clicking and then selecting “Add star.” Be judicious, though — the more you star different items, the less useful that option becomes.

5. Take advantage of Google Forms.

How to organize your google drive

Have a bunch of to-do or shopping lists waiting for you in Google Docs? Use Google Forms instead. Laura Tucker of the Make Tech Easier blog writes a helpful tutorial on ignoring Forms’ quiz and survey format to make a list that works for you.

Click on the red “Create” option on the Google Drive homepage, then select “Forms.” Once the form is open, you’ll be prompted to create question titles and a question type. Select “grid” for the type, and simply put a list item in the “Question Title” box.

If you’re a fan of Netflix or have been browsing social media outlets lately, then you’ve probably heard about the new Netflix show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”. Thanks to this show, and the growing trend of ‘decluttering,’ Americans are starting to get rid of all that extra ‘stuff’ at an impressive rate. In fact, NPR reported that many thrift stores are becoming swamped due to the increase in donations.

It sounds quite cathartic, right? To get rid of all that excess stuff and free up some room in your home. Well, what if you could do that for your Google Drive too? If you use Google Drive to manage brand assets for your business, then it’s likely that you could use a little refining in terms of organization.

By efficiently organizing your Google Drive, you can save precious time locating files when you need them. This is essential to generate content with speed and to avoid using the wrong assets.

So, if you need some assistance tidying up your brand assets, allow us to be the Marie Kondo to your Google Drive. Here are 5 simple tips and tricks for organizing your brand assets on Google Drive efficiently.

Use Folders As Appropriate

There are two types of Google Drive users: A.) Those who use way too many folders and B.) Those who don’t use nearly enough folders. With the former, it can be difficult to track a specific asset if you have folders that can be grouped together, but are not. For example, having two separate folders for Facebook and Instagram assets. With the latter, you’re probably spending too much time scrolling for an asset in a sea of other files.

Your Google Drive should look like a nice, tidy, and well-organized closet that uses ‘folders’ instead of shelves or hangers. You have your pants hung up together (pants folder), your work shirts next to each other (work shirt folder), your jackets side-by-side (jacket folder), and hats stacked on the shelf up top (hat folder).

Your Google Drive should look just like that, with folders for social media assets, email assets, website assets, and so on and so forth. When it comes to folders for your Google Drive, start with broad categorizations so that anyone in your organization can find what they need. When you need to get more specific, that’s where subfolders come into play.

Don’t Forget About Subfolders

Sticking with the closet analogy, within each of your ‘folders’ you can have a subfolder as well. Let’s say in your closet you have all your button shirts lined up together. You could create a subfolder based on how heavy each shirt is. For example, all your heavier button flannels may be on the left side and as you move to the right, they become lighter and lighter. That way, you can easily find the shirt style you want based on the weather.

With Google Drive, you can get much more specific and detailed when it comes to your subfolders. Within any given folder, you can create multiple subfolders to narrow down assets. Going back to our social media example, let’s say you create a “Social Media Assets” folder. Within that folder, you can create a “Facebook Assets,” “Instagram Assets,” “Twitter Assets,” etc.

Color Code Your Folders

For those who like to visually organize your belongings, Google Drive also allows you to arrange your folders based on colors: green for marketing, blue for sales, red for creative, etc. So, just like you might organize your clothes by color, you can organize your brand assets this way as well. However, you should still make sure you are descriptive in naming assets and folders. Which brings us to our next tip…

Create a Consistent Naming System

Your file and folder names should follow the same structure throughout your drive. You should use dates, version numbers, departments, clients, and other variables in the names of your Google Drive files.

For example: RedAcreBrewery20191221BrandLogo

For more tips and tricks on file names, check out our File Naming Best Practices for Asset Management post.

When it Comes to Upgrading Your Asset Management, Choose MediaBeacon

When Google Drive isn’t enough, turn to MediaBeacon digital asset management (DAM) to make your assets easy to find. With a DAM, you can attach metadata to your assets to make them searchable by dictionary and thesaurus terms, color, file type, association to other assets, and more. Our services team can help set up the DAM according to the specifications that work best for your company. Request a free demo today!

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I’ve been using Google in the classroom for about four years now and I constantly find myself helping other teachers in my building with all of the different pieces of Google in education. One of the things that comes up the most often is organization. By default, I don’t think Google does a great job of helping things stay organized. My main focus in this post is going to be organizing your Google Drive for use in Google Classroom or with other learning management systems.

To begin with, whenever you create a class in Google Classroom it creates a folder for housing all of the shared docs, sheets, slides, etc. This folder can be found in your Google Drive under a folder called “Classroom.” Each new class will create a new subfolder in the Classroom Folder. Take a look at number 2 in the image below if you aren’t sure.

How to organize your google drive

Now I also have a number 1 identified which is where my organization comes in.

The Problem

While the creation of the classroom folder is helpful for creating copies of what I like to call master files, it doesn’t allow for a good place to keep and organize those master files. By master file, what I mean is the original doc, sheet, slide, etc that you created and then shared out with your class. I often find myself using the same files year over year and the only solution Google gives you right now is to use a post from a previous class. That’s fine, but I also like to update those files each year and it can be cumbersome to look through old classes to find what you are looking for.

My Solution

My solution to this problem is to make a folder for each one of my classes in the main Google Drive directory. In the image above you can see the Classroom folder at number 2, but at number 1 I have three different folders. Each folder is for a different class. I teach three different classes over three grade levels so I’ve organized the classes by grade level and then I have additional organization in the folder.

I like to put a number zero in front of each of the classes to make sure that they stay at the top of my Google Drive to ensure easy access. Google Drive organizes items in alphabetical order with numbers coming before letters. So putting numbers in front of important folders helps keep them at the top. A period also works well if you don’t want to include any numbers.

How to organize your google drive

From there I have a subfolder for each of my units. I number my units starting at 1 and going up until the course is done. The image above shows by 7th-grade technology class and how I have it organized. I have the units clearly labeled, and with numbers to keep them in order for easy and quick viewing.

How to organize your google drive

Once you get inside of each of the units I change the naming system slightly. In the image above am in my Unit 1 folder. Each of the docs, sheets, slides, etc that is a part of that unit is placed in that folder. Since it is Unit 1, all of the file names start with a 1. After that, I add a period and the next number, which I use as the lesson number. I can look at a file and quickly know which unit and lesson it is. For example, I know that 1.3 Engineering Design Process is from unit 1 and that it is lesson 3 in Unit 1. I also have enough of a title so that I know what the lesson is about.

My units don’t generally go over 10 lessons, but for ones that do, I would add a zero to the first nine lessons. For example, 1.3 Engineering Design Process would be renamed 1.03 Engineering Design Process. This helps ensure that the lessons stay in order when viewing them in Google Drive and posting them to the Classroom.

Speaking of Classroom

How to organize your google driveOne of the main reasons I organize things like this is because it helps me quickly and easily post things to Google Classroom. It also helps me jump between units and communicate missing assignments to students and parents. The naming scheme is also matched inside of my Gradebooks so that everything matches across the board.

One of the great things about Google Classroom is the ability to add topics. Instead of having an endless series of assignments and postings, you can add a topic and enable quick navigation to anything in that topic (unit).

In the image to the right, you can see all of my topics to this point in the year. The topic names match my unit folder names in Google Drive. I might be a little over the top with this, but it helps keep my brain focused and organized on what exactly I need to do and where to find things.

In the image below you can see how my naming scheme doesn’t just apply to my Google Drive and Gradebook but gets passed into Google Classroom as well. I know the order of the lessons, names, and where to get all of the associated files because of the naming system.

How to organize your google drive

Going Beyond

This is my organization scheme for Google Drive. My system relies on folders that contain master files and subfolders for each unit. Inside the units, I have a standard naming system that gets applied to all of the files associated with the unit. I’ve talked about docs, sheets, and slides, but the naming system also includes any images, video, or audio that relates to the unit.

I’m a big believer in video content to teach skills and concepts. I record my screen almost daily for my students so that the learning we do is never temporary. Those recordings get placed into the unit folders and are saved there for use by students and me. I use Google Sites to build a directory of recordings that students can refer back to if needed. My Google Sites and directory are arranged by unit and lesson. It helps keep things consistent and makes access to learning easy for students and parents.

How do you keep your Google Drive organized?

It’s time to organize your Drive with Google Sites. We all know that putting our files in folders helps. But sometimes it’s not enough. What if you need a more visual presentation? Google Sites provide a polished view and click environment. Check it out.

How to organize your google drive

How to Organize Your Drive with Google Sites

Let’s take a look at this set of daily language materials as an example. It includes three slideshows, three practice pages, three mixed practice pages, and a quiz. Since they’re digital, I keep them in a folder in my Google Drive.

How to organize your google drive

But I got tired of opening each file to see what it contained. That’s when I decided to make a Google Site. (You can see it in my folder above. It’s the file with the blue icon.)

How to organize your google drive

A home page lists the weekly concepts.

How to organize your google drive

All of the slideshows can be embedded right into the Google Site.

How to organize your google drive

I took a picture of each student page and inserted it. That way, I could see what I was assigning without opening any files. Answer keys were also inserted for a quick look.

My Google Site lets me view and access everything – all in one handy place. I love it! What’s more? To create my remaining daily language websites, I simply duplicate this site and plug in the new media.

Organize Your Drive for TpT

Over the past few months, sellers at Teachers pay Teachers have discussed ways to share Google Apps with their customers. Google Sites presents the perfect solution because you can:

  1. Add links that force new files. This means that teachers with who don’t have Google Classroom can also share clean, individual files with their students.
  2. Link PDFs. This means that teachers whose students do not have access to G Suites can also use your resources.
  3. Embed presentations, videos, and other media.
  4. Organize everything in a way that makes sense to the user.
  5. Present your resources in a clear, polished, professional manner.

In addition, using Google Sites allows you to:

  • Communicate directly with teachers who use your resource. Just add a page with your message.
  • Include extra materials or links to help teachers use the resource. For example, you can link directly to a blog post that better explains a concept or process.
  • Link freebies and incentives on hidden pages (available on New Sites only).

You may ask, “Can I upload a Google Site using the new App upload?” The answer is no – and yes. While you may not upload a Google Site, you can post Docs or Slides with the link to a Site.

Google Sites Organize Teaching

Google Sites can organize your teaching life. They’re great for coordinating lesson plans, units, curriculum, long-range plans, and even sub plans. Student information can be managed through portfolios, seating charts, class forms, and behavior logs. Try making a Google Site today!

How to organize your google drive

I nixed my hardcopy recipe collection of cookbooks and binders years ago.

Because the internet, obviously. Everything ever created is on the internet.

However, I had an organizational problem. How to keep track of all these digital recipes and keep them organized? I could bookmark recipes I wanted to remember, but what if the page moved or the site shut down and the link now lead to a big 404 error? I could print them out, but I was trying to get away from all the binders of printouts.

None of this would do.

I wanted a system that was paperless, did not involve bookmarking websites, took minimal effort and was accessible from my iPhone, which I use as my cookbook in the kitchen.

I settled on my storage method of choice: Google Drive.

Here’s how it works.

First, you need a Google account. I think most people probably have one these days, but if not, go to and sign up. I’m not walking you through that part. Next, open up Drive.

There are two ways to do this.

  • Method 1 should work for everyone and is slightly more complicated (which is to say still not very complicated).
  • Method 2 is simpler, but it only works with the Chrome browser and it may not play nicely with every website. I use Method 2 primarily, and Method 1 on websites that don’t cooperate. There aren’t many.

Method #1 – The Copy/Paste Method

1. Create a new document in Google Drive.

How to Save and Organize Recipes with Google Drive

2. Find that recipe you want to save and copy it.

Highlight and copy the recipe, pictures and all. If the website offers a “printer-friendly” link to the recipe without all the ads and bric-a-brac, copy from there. I’m going to copy this delicious recipe for Indian Samosa Casserole from Vegetarian Times. Omnomnom.

How to Save and Organize Recipes with Google Drive

3. Paste that baby into your blank document in Drive.

You’ll end up with all the images from the page, along with any URL links. This is really handy when a recipe links to another recipe, ie: a recipe for a yummy sandwich has a link to a separate recipe that tells you how to make the bread.

How to Save and Organize Recipes with Google Drive

That’s it! Google Drive saves automatically, so you can close this document.

Method #2 – Print directly to Google Drive.

Again, to use this method you must be using the Chrome browser, and you must be logged into your Google account in that browser, which you are if you’re looking at your Drive.

1. Find the recipe you want to save and click Print.

If the site you’re visiting has a handy printer-friendly link like this one does, it will probably give you a nice cleaned up version of the recipe without extra ads and other noise, so use that. Otherwise just use whatever command you would normally use to print in your browser (probably Control + P). In the Print dialogue that appears, click the Change button, choose Save to Google Drive, and then click Save.

How to Save and Organize Recipes with Google Drive

2. That’s it!

Everything happens in that one window. In a few seconds, your recipe will appear as a PDF in Google Drive, as if by witchcraft! Enjoy!

How to Save and Organize Recipes with Google Drive

Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never used Google Drive. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with it (and it’s really simple) the process of saving recipes to your stash will take all of ten seconds.

And hey! I made you a free cheatsheet with these steps that you can print out and keep handy in case you forget. >>>

Download my free cheatsheet for organizing recipes in Google Drive

Extra Credit: Once you’ve got a few recipes in there, create folders! Color code them! Enjoy the ability to search your recipes! Figure out what to do with all that Kale you bought at the farmers market! Share your recipes with your friends!

So what if this thing gets all gross looking when I copy and paste and I don’t use Chrome?

Sometimes you’ll run into a website that just doesn’t copy/paste nicely because they used some kind of crazy borked-up formatting. Try a website like PrintFriendly or PDFmyURL to make a PDF of the recipe and then just drag that PDF from your desktop into Drive in your browser to upload it.

What does my recipe collection look like now?

How to Save and Organize Recipes with Google Drive

Isn’t it lovely? Yes, I really do love grilled cheese enough to give it its own folder.

Do you have a system for taming your recipe clutter?


Picture Homer Simpson when he’s dreaming of beer or a doughnut. That’s me right now, I’m just a little cuter and a little less yellow.

Great idea & post!

How nice of you to share this information. I have made many on-line cookbooks from the various sites. It is easy but none seems to fit what I want to do. I want to add stories and pics. Does your info seem to fit this idea.

Great idea, I’ll be doing this with my recipes.
Also, this was well written! Who thought I could be so entertained from reading how to organize my recipes.

This is perfect! I currently use Pinterest to save ideas as well as copying some down onto index cards from books I got rid or books I borrow from the library.

I was looking for something to keep recipes that I want to make again, and this is perfect! I really hate paper waste and I want to minimalize so this will work well.

I just did a search on organizing recipes and this blog entry came up. You’ve rocked my world today! Thanks for the graphics and easy-to-use directions on saving recipes, making folders, etc. I had never used Google Drive and now I already have a few recipes saved–AND your instructions on how to save to Google Drive. Yay! Pinterest just wasn’t working for me, and the 3-screen long list of recipes I scroll through in Bookmarks will soon be a thing of the past. Thanks! 🙂

In this lesson, you will upload files to your Drive, create folders, sort the files, and then share a folder with others.

Everyone accumulates documents and files.

These can be saved from websites, sent to you by other people, or created by you.

One way to get your files organized is to upload them to your Drive.

Google Drive allows you to store, access and share files like documents, spreadsheets, slideshows, photos and more.

Your Google Drive is a part of the “cloud.”

It’s a place on the Internet that is secured for your personal access.

Because your files are stored in the cloud, they can be opened, edited, downloaded and shared from any device with Internet access.

Storing and organizing files in your Drive can be very convenient.

If you are conducting a job search, collecting recipes, or if you are involved in several different activities, using your Drive will help you stay on track.

If you have projects with multiple clients, need to update your resume or are organizing a volunteer schedule, you can access and work on these files using your Drive.

As you complete this lesson in Google Drive, you will: Add starter project files to your Drive, Add folders and subfolders to your Drive, Move your files to the folders, And share files and folders with others.

To begin, sign in to your Google account.

Open a new tab in your browser, and navigate to

If you are not signed in, do so now using your gmail login information.

If you do not have a Google account, pause the video and create one now.

Then, open the starter projects and make copies of them.

Then, move on to the next video to begin organizing your Drive.

Now, it’s your turn: Make copies of the starter projects, And sign in to your Google account.

I have a confession: Google Drive is my hero.

If you’re a Google Drive user, it’s likely you understand my sentiments. It’s hard to not to fall in love with free, user-friendly cloud-based file storage that can be shared, accessed and edited from any device — amiright?

So long, trusty flash drive. It’s been real.

If you’re relatively new to the wonders of Google Drive — or even if you’ve been using it for a while but haven’t had a chance to fully explore all of its features yet — here are a few of my favorite organizational tips.

How to organize your google drive

Many people know about the Search feature in Drive, but the Advanced Search features icon is a bit more subtle.

At the top of your Drive, you’ll see a little bar with a magnifying glass icon and the words “Search Drive.” This, not surprisingly, is the Search bar, which allows you to search for any files within your Drive.

Often times, using the search feature is actually quicker than finding the file through your Drive folders. Simply type in the name of what you’re looking for, and Drive’s got your back within seconds.

To access the advanced search features, look to the right side of the search bar: you’ll see a tiny inverted triangle. Click on that little guy and a popup of additional search criteria will appear. You can now do a more advanced search to filter your results by file type, date modified, file owner, shared settings and more.

For example: Let’s say you wanted to find a video that was shared with you last year, but a simple search isn’t turning up the results you need. Maybe you don’t remember the exact name of the file, or maybe there’s just too many results to sift through. Why spend time searching through a bunch of Docs and Slides when you’re looking for a video file anyway? Do an advanced search, filter by file type, and Drive will only return results for the file type you specified.

How to organize your google drive

Depending on your preference, you can customize Drive to display your files a few different ways.

First, you can organize your files by name, which will display everything alphabetically either A-Z or Z-A. You can also organize your files by the last modified — either by you or someone else — and last opened.

To change your organization preference, you’ll see a downward or upward arrow on the right side of your Drive. Next to it, it will say something like “Name” or “Last Modified” — depending on how it’s currently set. Click this text to toggle between your options, and click the arrow to reverse the sorting order.

Often times when my students are having difficulty finding a file someone shared with them, it’s because their Drive is set to organize by Name rather than Date Modified.

How to organize your google drive

Another way to customize your Drive is by setting your viewing preference to either List view or Grid view. The names are pretty self-explanatory, but check out the image above to see the difference. You can toggle between the two settings using the list/grid icon, which is in the top right corner next to the info circle. I’m team grid view all the way.

How to organize your google drive

Lastly, no Google Drive is complete without color-coded folders. To change the color of a folder, right mouse click on the folder and click “Change color.”

You can change the color of your folders arbitrarily or have a little method to your madness. Either way, changing the color of your folders makes your Drive a whole lot more awesome. And you know what they say about awesome Google Drives. or something.

Robert Abraham
PD Account Manager / PD Specialist
News on November 08 2018

How to organize your google drive

Organizing Your Google Drive

As you work in Google Drive, your list of files will grow and grow. Thankfully, Google Drive gives you many options to organize your drive. Most people use folders for organization. You can also use features like stars and changing the color of files or folders to organize and quickly find information in Google Drive. But there’s another seldom-used method by way of a keyboard shortcut that also helps organize files and folders in Google Drive.

How Are Files Stored in Google Drive?

Before we talk about the keyboard shortcut, let’s think about how files actually exist in Google Drive. Most people think of files and folders in a tree-like structure, but that is not actually how Google stores files and folders. Instead, they are stored in a massive database with indexes to the addresses of the items/files. This structure allows more flexibility and quicker access time when looking among trillions of files in Google. Files and folders are marked with tags – and these tags contain data about the files. Turns out you can use a simple keyboard shortcut to tag files and folders in Google Drive.

Using the “Shift + Z” shortcut allows you to tag your files and folders to other places in your Google Drive. This means you can have your file in a folder that you normally work with, and tag it to also show up in a shared folder. This feature allows the file to be visible in two separate locations, not as copies of the file, but as the same file in two places. This trick is very useful if you have a particular way of working with files but someone you’re sharing them with has their own way of interacting them.

How to Tag Files and Folders in Google Drive

Ready to tag? Here’s how:

  • Click the file or folder you want to tag to another location.
  • Press “Shift + Z” on the keyboard (that’s the “Shift” key and the “Z” key at the same time).
  • A selector will open asking where you’d like to tag the file to. Navigate to the other location.
  • Once you have the new location selected click “Add.” Your file or folder is now present in both locations.

More Resources to Make Your Life Easier

To learn more about using technology to supplement your classroom, check out our Course Library for courses offered through Teq Online PD. We cover Google, Microsoft, SMART Notebook, ENL/ELL Support, Technology to Support the Danielson Framework, and more!