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Maybe You Should Drive 2

Google Drive and Google Docs

Google Drive is a cloud storage facility where you can store all sorts of files. You have unlimited storage capacity.

You have great tools for managing and finding your Drive files.
  • Grid view vs List view
  • Activity and Details
  • Sort by Name, Last Modified, Last Opened
  • Search by name or contents
  • Detailed Search Panel
  • Stars
  • Recent
  • Colour coding
Google Drive also has a range of productivity apps that offer similar functionality to other software tools you may know...
  • Google Docs <=> Microsoft Word 
  • Google Sheets <=> Microsoft Excel
  • Google Slides <=> Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Google Drawings <=> MS Paint
  • Google Forms <=> Microsoft Forms
  • Google MyMaps <=> GIS software
  • Google Sites <=> Weebly, Wix
While the Google versions are simpler to use because they don't try to cram every single feature in, they have one very big difference. They are all collaborative, allowing people to easily share files and work together, simultaneously, in real time. This gives them some distinct advantages.
  • Sharing; managing who can do what in a document
  • Collaboration in real time
  • Revision History
  • Accurate voice typing
  • Easy options for adding images
  • Research tool
  • AddOns for extra features
  • Live links to embedded data, such as charts
  • File conversion and export to Office format

Sharing Google Docs

When you create a document YOU are the Owner, and the only person who can access the file. Nobody else gets access until you explicitly allow it. You can also revoke access at any tim

Sharing with individuals is as simple as clicking the Share button and entering their email address (or name) into the Invite people box. Once you add the person's email, choose whether you'd like them to be an Editor, Commenter or Viewer of the document.

Pro Tip: In the advanced settings you also have options to control on-sharing. Ticking these boxes will restrict what people can do with the document. Use these controls carefully, and only add restrictions where necessary.

You can share the document with as many individuals as you wish, and each one can have different permission levels. For example, in the same doc, some people could be editors, others commenters and others just viewers.

If you change your mind later, you can increase or decrease any person's access level, or even revoke it completely. You can even give access for a specific period of time that expires after a number of days.

As the document owner, you are always in complete control of who can do what.

Sharing a folder causes every document in that folder to inherit the folders permissions. If documents inside a folder have different permissions to the folder, the most permissive wins.

Files that are Shared with You
When someone else shares a file with you it appears in your Shared with me collection. You cannot organise the files in Shared with me. They are literally just a collection files that are shared with you.

Files that are not shared with you specifically by name do not appear in Shared with me, however you can find them using the search function if you know the name or some other information about them.

If you would like to file a shared document in your own Drive, you must first add it to your Drive by clicking the Add to Drive button. You can move a file or folder anywhere in your Drive's filing system and it does not affect other people's view of the file/folder. (However, do not move a file out of a shared folder or you will remove it for others! Read all warnings carefully!)

When you delete a file that has been shared with you from your Drive, you only remove your view of it. You don't actually delete the file, since you are not the owner and only the owner can completely delete a file.

Open (non-specific) Sharing
Sometimes, you might want to share a document with a larger group, such as a class, the whole school, anyone at your school, or even just anybody on the Internet. It would be a bit inconvenient if you had to type all their names into the Share box! Fortunately you don't have to.

Some schools create Groups of users, for example, all staff, all Year 7 students, or even a Group for each class. You can also create your own Contact Lists using Google Contacts and share with that. Note that these Contact Lists are specific to you. Changes to the Contact List does not update sharing settings automatically so if list membership changes you'll need to check the sharing on the document manually.

As well as sharing docs with individuals and contact lists, you can also share a doc to a non-specified collection of people.

You can share to...
  • Anyone at <your school> with the link (unsearchable)
  • Anyone at <your school> (searchable)
  • Anyone with the link (unsearchable)
  • Public on the Web (searchable)
For each of these access levels, you can also define the role of Editor, Commenter or Viewer.

This multiplies out to offer a large number of variations on how you decide to share a document! This is why it's important to really understand how sharing works!

Moving vs Adding a File
If you move a file from one place to another in your Drive it appears in the new location, and is no longer in the original location. Moving a file works exactly as you'd expect if it was a real object.

However, Google Drive allows you to do something that you can't do with real objects. You can Add them to other locations without removing them from the original location. It's not a copy, not a shortcut, not a link. It is literally placing the same file in two places at once. You can delete either of these instances, but don't remove the last one or you will remove the file from you Drive completely.

To Move a file, select it in Drive and press the Z key. To Add a file to a second location, press the Shift-Z key.  (or if you're on a Chromebook you can simply CTRL-Drag the file to create a second instance of it)

Google Docs and Microsoft Office: How does that work?
You can store any kind of file in Google Drive - PDFs, JPGs, video files, Photoshop files... anything. When you want to work on those files you just download them back to your computer, open them with the appropriate application and then save them back to Drive afterwards.

With Microsoft Office files you have a few more options. If you choose to, Word, Excel and Powerpoint can be converted directly into Docs, Sheets and Slides, turning them into editable, sharable files in Drive. Or they can be left in their original format and simply stored in Drive like any other kind of file. It's your choice.

In the settings menu of Drive you can check the box for conversion (or not). If you turn it on, then every Word, Excel or PowerPoint file you upload to Drive will be converted to the corresponding Google format file. File conversion has gotten much better over the last few years and generally does a pretty good job of converting Office file to Google format. However, if a Microsoft file uses features that simply do not exist in Google Docs, then those features will be ignored, or sometimes even convert poorly. Don't worry though, the original Office file is never modified so you can always just store it in the original format if you need to.

Documents you create directly in Google Drive can be easily exported out in a variety of different formats, Including Office formats.

Best practice tip: Develop a habit of creating all new documents using Google Drive. Later, if you need to have them in MS Office format you can always export them. This is a more reliable approach to doing it the other way around.

Extension tip: Try the Office Editing for Docs Sheets and Slides Chrome Extension. It allows you to open and edit any Word, Excel or Powerpoint file directly in Chrome. Its amazing! It also lets you easily export to Docs format if you wish.