Don’t Be Afraid of Google Drive. It’s Awesome.

google drive app

Google Drive can make your workflow very efficient and effective. Sometimes it can be confusing working with Google, so following is a quick overview of how to use Google Drive and make it work for you.

Watch a video overview

First, download the Google Drive backup and sync app for your computer.

Google Drive App

That will put a little cloud icon at the top of your screen (on a Mac), which will allow you to sync selected folders and files to your hard drive of your computer. Now, files will show in your Google Drive folder automatically on your computer, making it quick and easy for you to access documents offline, to access photographs, etc.

When you open a Google Documents from your the Google Drive folder on your computer, it will open as a Google Doc live on the web, not downloaded as a new version on the local computer. If it’s an Excel sheet or a Word document, the file will open on your computer, and then when you save it, the new file will overwrite the former version. This is why I recommend using the Google apps, like Google Sheets and Google Docs, because then you’ll be working with them live and not overwriting or creating different versions (all changes are saved in these documents, and can be easily viewed or restored).

Google Drive Local

One of the things that can be confusing about using Google is the fact that you can have different Google accounts. For example, you may have a Google or Gmail account for work, and one for personal. If this is the case, you can switch easily between them and access the different content for each account. So if what you’re looking for isn’t showing up, you’re likely not in the correct folder. You can toggle between accounts by clicking in the upper right.

Google Account

Once in the Drive you are looking for, you can scroll through the content within them and right-click to move things, delete them, or change the name. Right-clicking works just fine when you’re here on your browser version of the cloud of the Google Drive. You can do the same thing with these files in your local folder.

Google Drive Move


Using the local syncing app is very helpful; however you want to be selective about the files you sync to your local computer. Open the app at the top and select the menu (three dots) on the right and select Preferences. From here select Google Drive, then check off those folders that you’re currently working on or that you need access to on your computer. Dropbox has a similar set up. This is really important if you’re working on a laptop and you don’t have too much hard drive space. You can just select the documents that you’re working with at the time, and when you’re done, you can unsync them. They’ll still remain in the cloud, but they won’t take up space on your hard drive.


This makes working with Drive pretty seamless. It is really helpful to work with live documents when you’re collaborating with others on a document, or when you are accessing your documents from different devices.

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