19 of the best Google Drive tips and tricks for getting the most out of the service

Find all of Google Drive’s shortcuts

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Memorize one shortcut to see a list of all the shortcuts you can use throughout Google Drive.
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Google Drive has many keyboard shortcuts that let you navigate the website quickly.

To open a full list of these shortcuts, go to Google Drive and press Ctrl and / if you’re on a PC, or Command and / if you’re on a Mac. So, press Ctrl or Command and the forward slash key at the same time.

Once you do, you’ll see a complete list of shortcut keys that are relevant to whatever part of Google Drive you’re in, whether it’s a list of your files or a Google Docs document. 

Convert Microsoft Office and PDF files to Google Drive files

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The “Open with” menu command converts all sorts of files to native Google Docs.
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After you upload a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document to Google Drive, you can convert it to Google’s native format. 

In Google Drive, right-click the Microsoft file in question and choose “Open with,” then choose the appropriate document. It works for PDFs, too. 

Translate a document

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Drive will use Google Translate to translate your document.
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Google Translate is built right into Google Drive. 

Open a Google Doc and click “Tools” in the menu bar. Then choose “Translate Document.” 

Pick the language you want to translate it to, and you instantly get a Machine Translated version of the doc.

Work in Google Doc format for the most storage

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Only non-Drive files count toward your storage limit.
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No matter how much Google Drive storage you have — the free 15 GB, or a premium 100 GB, or more — online storage space can be precious. 

But files in Google’s native format, like Google Docs and Google Sheets, are “free” — they don’t count against your storage quota. 

So your account’s storage space will go much further if you use Google Docs rather than Microsoft Word.

Drag and drop from the desktop

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You can drag and drop files directly into your browser to upload them to Google Drive.
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If you have files you want to copy to Google Drive, you can drag them directly from your computer’s desktop (or another folder) to the desired Drive folder in your browser. As you hover, you’ll see a highlight that shows where the copied file will go.

Let Google Drive research for you

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You can do research straight from a document.
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Google Drive can analyze your documents and recommend related websites and images. 

In any document, go to the menu and click “Tools,” then “Explore.” The Explore sidebar will open with recommended searches and images based on the content of your document. 

See all the changes in a doc

Google Drive tips and tricks 10
Google Drive tracks who edits the document, and when.
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One of Google Drive’s signature features is its real-time collaboration tools. 

Want to see all of the changes your collaborators have made to a document? In Google Docs, click “File,” then “Version History” and “See Version History.” You’ll get a sidebar with all the changes in the document and who made them. 

Save a screenshot of an entire website, no matter how long it is

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There are dozens of extensions you can use to enhance Google Drive.
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Need to capture a full-length image of a website? Install the Save to Google Drive extension for Chrome

Then go to the page you want to save and click the extension in the Chrome toolbar. In a few moments, a screenshot of the page will appear in your Google Drive. 

Color code your folders

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Each folder can be a different color.
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Like to organize your files visually? Right-click a folder and choose “Change color.” You can pick any of 24 colors to distinguish your folders. 

Convert text in an image into document text

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Google Drive’s image transcription is generally pretty accurate.
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Google Drive has optical character recognition (OCR) built in. This means that you can select and edit text that’s in an image.

In Google Drive, right-click any image that has text embedded in it and choose “Open with,” then “Google Docs.” Drive will create a new Google Doc and put the image at the top, on the first page. 

But under that, you’ll find all the text from the image extracted, ready to be edited, copied, pasted, or whatever else you want to do with it. 

Maintain a running record of your important files

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Keep every important version of a file in progress in one place in Google Drive.
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Google Drive lets you keep multiple versions of the same file, though you have to do it manually. 

Right-click a file (like an Office document, PDF, or image) and then choose “Manage versions.” In the pop-up window, click “Upload New Version.” 

Repeat this process every time you create an important new version you might want to reference. 

Note that you need to select “Keep forever” or these versions will be deleted automatically after 30 days. 

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