Google Drive – How to manage files and folders

You’ve got into Google Drive, now you need some files and folders to store in it.  Let’s go through the most common actions you do with files and folders: creating, naming, copying, and deleting.  ‘Moving’ I will cover in a different post as there are different ways to do this.

Creating a file

As an example, let’s create a new Google Doc file (a new word processor file).

1) Go to the New menu on the left of the screen and click on the red NEW box, which opens the menu.

 Create doc - New menu

2) Click the type of new document you want, in this example, click Google Docs.

Create doc - Select Google Doc

3) The new Google Doc will open in a new tab.

Create doc - New doc

4) By default, the document is named “Untitled document”.  you can see the name in the top-left hand corner.  Here I’ve added a little bit of text.

Create doc - untitled doc

5) If you edit the document before giving it a new name, when you click on the “untitled document” name, Google automatically suggests a title for the document based on the first line in your document.  This can be useful and saves you typing it in.

Create doc - automatic name

6) However, if you want to give it your own name, just click quickly three times on the document name and this will select it all, then type in the name you want and press Enter.

Create doc - change name  Create doc - name changed

7) To see the file you’ve just created on Google Drive, click on the My Drive tab.

Create doc - Tabs

8) Here you’ll see your file, with who owns it (“me”), when it was last modified, and the file size (remember Google Apps take up no space on your Google Drive, so there’s should just be a dash showing).

Create doc - Doc on My Drive


Creating a folder

1) Go to the same menu as above, by clicking on the red NEW box.

Create doc - New menu

2) Click on “Folder”.

Create doc - New menu open

3) A box will appear asking you to name the folder.

Create a folder - name folder

4) Type a name in and press the blue Create button.

Create a folder - new name

5) In your My Drive, you’ll see the newly created folder, highlighted in blue.

Create a folder - new folder in Drive


Copying a file

1) Right click on the file you want to copy.  This brings up a menu.  Click on “Make a Copy”.

v2 - 3

2) In your My Drive, you will see the new file labelled “Copy of… + the title of the original file”.

Copy a doc - Copy of doc in drive

3) To rename it, right-click on it and click “Rename”.

v2 - 4

4) A box will appear asking you to rename the file.  Just type in the new name and press OK.

Copy a doc - Rename menuCopy a doc - new name

5) You’ll see your newly copied document in your My Drive, highlighted in blue.

Copy a doc - Newly named doc


Deleting a file

1) Right click on the file or folder you want to delete.  This will bring up a menu.  Click on “Remove” to send it to the Bin.

v2 - 5

This removes it from your Drive, but it is not permanently deleted.  This is a useful safeguard, in case you delete it by mistake, as I’ve certainly done in the past!

2) To delete it permanently, go to the Bin, by clicking on “Bin” on the menu on the left of the screen.  (*In other varieties of English, this may be called something else, e.g. Trash)

Delete a file - Bin menu

3) You will see the file you just deleted, and possibly other files and folders too, as they all end up in the same bin.

Delete a file - Bin

4) To delete all the files in the Bin, click on “Bin” and then “Empty Bin”.

Delete a file - Empty bin

5) If you only want to delete a particular file, right-click on it in the Bin and a menu will appear.  Click “Delete forever” to do just that.  Careful, this really is forever!

Delete a file - Restore

If you have removed a file by mistake, you can return files from the bin back to your My Drive, by clicking on “Restore” from the menu above.


eBooks now available on Drive, Forms, Sheets, Docs, and Slides:

  • Join the Google Slides Tips Google Space (for now: personal accounts only)

Baz Roberts (Flipboard / Twitter / Google+)


3 thoughts on “Google Drive – How to manage files and folders

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