Google Cloud Apps Admins

Getting Started with Google Drive

Written by Joey Allen (GCP Apps Admin) | September 29, 2013

Use Google Drive to store and access your files, folders, and Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides anywhere. Change a file on the web, your computer, tablet, or your mobile device, and it updates on every device where you’ve installed Google Drive. You’ll always have the latest version of your files and Google Docs at your fingertips. Read, edit, share, and collaborate wherever you are!

Set up Google Drive

  1. In your browser, go to drive.google.com.

    When you first access Google Drive on the web, you’ll see a Welcome page. If you’ve previously used Google Docs, Google Drive on the web will look something like this:


  2. Download and install Google Drive for your Mac/PC. (Or your administrator might do this for you.) This lets you sync files from your computer to Google Drive on the web, giving you access to your files on any device, at any time. Syncing is built-in—you don't have to do anything to set it up other than connect to the Internet.

    Note: The link to download and install Google Drive for your Mac/PC might be disabled in your organization. If it’s not available or if you choose not to install it, Google Drive on the web still provides access to all your Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and any files that you manually upload.

    Once installed, you can find Google Drive for your Mac/PC in your Windows system tray or Mac menu bar. Here’s how it looks on the Windows system tray:



    Click the icon to see sync status, access your Google Drive folder on your computer or on the web, pause the sync, set preferences, and more. Here’s how it looks on a Mac:



    Tip: You can also access Google Drive files on your Android or iOS device. See Google Drive on a mobile device to learn how.

Get to know your Drive

There are lots of ways to view your files, folders, and Google documents in Google Drive on the web. Let’s take a quick look around.


Tip: Are you upgrading to Google Drive from the Google Documents List? Check out this video to see what has changed, or see Google Drive versus your Documents List.

My Drive

When you first get Google Drive on the web, all the files and folders you’ve uploaded and Google Docs that you own are in the section called My Drive:


Tip: Click the red Upload button (next to Create) if you want to upload more files and folders to My Drive.


If you or your administrator installed Google Drive for your Mac/PC, the contents of My Drive will sync with the contents of a folder called Google Drive on your computer. Only the contents of My Drive are synced.

You can move files that have been shared with you to My Drive if you want them to sync to your computer and mobile devices. You can also add new files to My Drive by moving or saving files to the Google Drive folder on your computer. In a nutshell: everything you put in Google Drive on your computer can also be found in My Drive on the web and mobile devices, and vice-versa. We’ll demonstrate how that works in just a bit.

Shared with me

Shared with me is where you’ll find the files, folders, and Google documents that have been shared with you:




Shared with me only shows items that were shared with you explicitly. You won’t find items here that were shared with the “Public” or “Anyone with the link.” (You can find those items by searching in the All items view.) If you’ll be referencing a shared document often, you can drag it into My Drive so that it appears there as well.  


Tip: Are you looking for a folder that was shared with you? Click Sort > Title in the Shared with me view to put all the folders that were shared with you first.

Starred and Recent views

Click Starred to see all the items you’ve marked with a star. Just click the star to the left of an item to mark it. Stars are like “bookmarks” or “favorites” in a browser to mark web sites you want to access frequently.


Use the Recent view to see all the private and shared files that you've opened, in reverse chronological order. This is a great way to quickly find your most current stuff.

Activity and All items

Click More in the left column to see a few additional views:



The Activity and All items views are similar. They both include things that have been shared with everyone in your organization (not just you explicitly), so you’ll probably find things here that you didn’t know about yet.

  • Activity shows everything that has been edited recently.

    Is there too much stuff in your Activity list? Check the items you don’t want to see there and then click
    Remove from Activity:



    Note: This button only appears in the Activity view. In other views, click More > Don’t show in Activity list.


  • All items shows everything in Google Drive, except items that are in your Trash. You can’t remove items from here (except by deleting them), so this is the best place to search if you’re having trouble finding something.


Trash view

Trash contains everything you’ve deleted. To delete an item, check the item and click the trash icon that appears:


Note:
You can only trash items that you own. For items you don't own, click More > Remove to take them out of your Google Drive, but not remove them for everyone else.


Your trash is never automatically emptied, so you’ll probably want to clean it out once in a while. Items in your Trash still count toward your storage quota, so this helps free up some space. To clean it out:


  • In the Trash view, click Empty trash to permanently delete everything:


  • Or, check individual items and click Delete forever:



    Tip: Notice that after you select items in the trash, you can also choose to restore them from the More menu.