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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Trash contains everything you’ve deleted. To delete an item, check the item and click the trash icon that appears:
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:
When you’re ready to create new documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more, just click the red Create button and select an app from the list to get started.
Do you have existing files and folders you want to add to Google Drive? You can easily sync or upload those files to add them to Google Drive on the web and your mobile devices. Here’s how it works:
If you or your administrator has installed Google Drive for Mac/PC, anything you add to the Google Drive folder on your computer will automatically sync to My Drive on the web and your mobile devices. So all you need to do is move or save files to the Google Drive folder. For example:
It’s also easy to upload existing files and folders to Google Drive on the web. Here’s how to upload a file (folders work the same way):
So far we’ve seen how files look in Google Drive using the default List mode. This is the most compact way to view your files. If you’d prefer to see a preview of each file in Google Drive, click the Switch to Grid icon in the upper-right of Google Drive on the web:
Now your files are displayed in a grid of thumbnail previews. This can help you locate a file without having to open each one. You can also select files and folders to make changes.
To return to the List mode, click the Switch to List icon:
However, if you like to work in List mode and want to see a visual preview of a file, you can do that too!
If you have a lot of files, it can get harder to keep track of them. One way to make your files easier to find is to sort them. Click the Sort menu to see your options:
The sort options above are available in most Google Drive views. However, the Activity view is automatically sorted in the order of when things were last modified, so you won’t see the Sort menu there. In the Recent view you can sort items by when you last opened or edited them.
Here are a few sorting tips:
Type a word or phrase in Drive’s search box to find a specific file, folder, or Google document. As you’re typing, Drive will try to predict what you are looking for and give you a list to choose from.
Tip: If you want to search articles that are shared with your domain, click Search <your domain> instead of the blue Search button. This is a good way to find a document that is public to your organization, but hasn’t been shared with you directly.
You probably have a lot of files in My Drive, or will soon. Use folders to organize the contents, just like you do on your computer.
Tip: If you’re displaying My Drive, (or a folder within My Drive), you can also click the New folder icon to create a folder in your current location:
Tip: Do you want to store your file (or files) in multiple folders? Use the Ctrl or Command key to check all the places where you want to find your items.
You can share a folder, just as easily as you share your Google documents.
Once the folder is shared with others, it will have a person icon on it.
See Sharing and Collaboration to learn about your sharing options.