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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

11 Google Drive Tricks That'll Make Your Life That Much Easier

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Fun fact: Google Drive launched only six years ago—and yet you probably don’t remember what your life was like without it.

You’re not alone—the file storage service has more than 800 million active users each month and over three billion files uploaded every day. And, as you know, it’s an incredibly helpful resource for staying organized.

Even if you’ve only got a few dozen docs there, these tips will help you manage them better—and faster.

1. Find Files in a Flash With Search

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Instead of slogging through all your files in Google Drive, you can look for exactly what you need with the options in the search bar. No more showing up late to meetings because you forgot where you filed your presentation.

2. Make Sharing Your Work Publicly Simple

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Want to share your document, presentation, or spreadsheet with the world? Just click file > publish to the web, and you’ll get a public link that you can share with anyone and everyone.

Bonus: Your document is automatically updated online whenever you make changes to it in Google Drive.

3. Keep Track of Edits From Your Inbox

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The best thing about Google Drive is that it lets you make comments, suggestions, and tag email addresses to files you share with your team. And, by choosing to get email notifications about these updates, you can make sure you’re up-to-date with any changes made to your documents without needing to open the app.

4. Save Stuff Straight From the Web

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The Save to Google Drive Chrome extension, like the name hints, lets you save documents, images, audio, videos, and more straight from a web page to the Google Drive folder of your choice. Super handy for those otherwise tricky full-page screenshots!

5. Pull Out Text From Images

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Don’t waste time re-typing text from PDFs or images you want to copy. Google Drive’s option to open them with Google Docs has automatic optical character recognition. This means that in a few seconds, you get a document with both the original file and the text from it ready to format and use wherever you need it.

6. Convert Microsoft Documents to Google for Easy Access

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The Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, and Slides Chrome extension is a lifesaver when someone sends you a Word doc or an Excel spreadsheet. With a few clicks, Google Drive converts the file to Google’s format so you don’t have to buy yet another program for your computer.

7. Shorten Long Links

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Tidy up those long (and not-so-lovely) Google Doc URLs with the URL Shortener Add-on.

8. Chat With Your Team While Working on a Doc

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If you’re working with someone in the same Google Drive document, you can chat right there in real time to ask questions, exchange ideas, or talk through your thoughts. And, if you need to switch to another tool for a few minutes, you get notifications of new chat messages right in the browser tab.

9. Backup and Sync Your Files to Any Device

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Google’s Backup and Sync tool lets you automatically upload and store files (and any changes you make to them, of course) from your computer so you can access them from any other device with Google Drive. A great way to make one of those extra copies of your data that you really should have.

10. Color-Coordinate Your Files for Sleek Organization

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Do you need to find certain Google Drive files in a flash? Set the color for them to something eye-catching, and you’ll be able to find it fast.

11. Use Shortcuts to Save Yourself All the Clicks

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Google Drive has a full list of keyboard shortcuts that save you both clicks and time. And you can have them right at your fingertips by pressing the “Ctrl” and “/” keys on a Chromebook or Windows computer or “Cmd” and “/” on a Mac.

You’re sure to save time and find better ways of working with these tools and tricks. And, if Google Drive isn’t yet your digital can’t-do-without, give them a try anyhow, and you might find yourself falling in love with all the ways it speeds up and simplifies your online tasks.