Google Drive Quick Reference Guide

Quick Links: | Preview | Overview | Creating New Files | Creating New Folders | Uploading | Benefits of Drive

Google Drive Preview:

Screenshot of Google Drive homepage


See the image above for a preview of what your Google drive may look like. 

  1. Search bar: Enter file names, topics, quotes, etc. to find relevant files and folders. 
  2. New button: Click new for options to create or upload documents, images, slideshows, and more.
  3. Navigation bar: User the navigation bar on the left to easily click through folders to find exactly what you're looking for. 
  4. Quick Navigation: Use the quick navigation section to see which files or folders have been shared with you, but belong to another Google Drive user. This section also lets you jump right to your starred files, recent files, and recently deleted files.
  5. Main menu: The main menu allows you to click through folders, open files, and view basic information regarding ownership, file size, and modified time.
  6. Details: The details pane allows you to preview activity, share information, file size, and more without needing to fully open the document. 

Creating New Files

To create new Docs, Sheets, or Slides files:

  1. From the homepage, click "New" and select either Docs, Sheets, or Slides, depending on your needs.
    1. You can also hit the > (right arrow) next to the file type to preview templates that allow you to create more appealing documents, sheets, or slides.
  2. A new tab should open with your untitled file. Make sure to rename the file so that you can locate it later on. 
  3. With Google Drive, there is no need to save as you work. Drive auto-saves your files for you, so that you don't lose your progress in the event of a power failure, browser quit, etc. 

In addition to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, Google also offers a variety of other services, including:

  • Google Forms: Used to create polls, surveys, or quizzes with multiple types of questions (True/False, Essay, Multiple Choice, etc.) Results are calculated and available in real-time and the form is submitted.
  • Google Drawings: Used to create diagrams, collages, or charts. These can be embedded into sites and documents to give a more collected feel to your projects.
  • Google Sites: Used to create websites, blogs, or portfolios. Can be used hand-in-hand with Google Drive to showcase files and projects in an easy-to-use site designer. 
  • Google Jamboard: Used as a whiteboard-style interactive canvas that can be shared amongst your team. See our Knowledge Base article for more information.

Creating New Folders

Folders let you conveniently organize your files into the class, subject, project, etc. that you are working on to make everything easier to find. To create a new folder: 

  1. From the homepage, click "New" and select "Folder"
  2. Name the folder and click "Create"
  3. Once created, right-clicking on the folder allows you to change the color, add to Starred Items, download, and more.

Uploading Files and Folders

You can upload and convert the following file types into Google Drive for online editing and sharing.

  • Documents: Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, StarOffice, RTF (.rtf), HTML, or plain text (.txt). File size cannot exceed 2MB.
  • Presentations: Microsoft PowerPoint. File size cannot exceed 50 MB.
  • Spreadsheets: Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, Comma-Separated-Value files (.csv), or plain text files (.txt). File size cannot exceed 20MB. 

To upload files or folders:

  1. From the homepage, click "New" and select "File Upload" or "Folder Upload" depending on your need.
  2. Locate the file(s) or folder(s) you wish to upload. They should be saved locally on the device.
  3. Once selected, click "Open".
  4. Depending on the size, it can take anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes to upload to Google Drive. 

Benefits of using Google Drive


Google Drive's sharing features allow for quick and easy simultaneous collaboration among teams. You can share a file by using co-collaborators' Google accounts, adding people via email, or by sharing a link. Sharing allows for the following permissions:

  • Viewer: Can only view. If signed in, they may be able to "Make a Copy" to save to their personal Drive. 
  • Commenter: Can suggest changes and provide in-line comments. The changes will not actually occur unless approved by an Editor/Owner.
  • Editor: Has full permission to make any changes, edits, sharing, etc.

There are two ways to open the sharing permissions menu:

  1. Starting at the Drive homepage, click once on the file you wish to share, then the "Share" icon (a person figure with a + next to it).
  2. Open the file you want to share and click the "Share" button in the top right corner.

Once the share menu appears using one of the methods above, there are two ways to share:

  • Share with People and Groups: Share directly to collaborators by entering their email address(es). This will pop up with a screen to allow you to attach a message and change their permission level. You can also opt out of sending a message, however, the collaborator won't know you shared the document.
  • Get link / General Access: Generate a link for the specific file to send out via email, chat, or posted on a site. Click the "Change" option under "Get Link", and you are able to generate a link as either "Restricted" (people added only) or "Anyone with the Link". You can also change permission levels for the link.


With Google Drive, there is no need to manually save (Ctrl + S or Command + S) as you work. Drive auto-saves your files for you, so that you don't lose your progress in the event of a power failure, browser quit, etc. You can view the saved status at the top near the title. If there is a cloud icon with a checkmark and it says "Saved to Drive", your file should be saved. If there is a circular arrow icon, it is in the process of saving.

Revision History

Another feature Google Drive provides is a Revision History. This allows you to revert files to a previous version in the case of accidentally deleting a section, removing formatting, etc. To revert to an earlier version:

  1. With the file open, click "File" and "Version History".
  2. Click "See Version History" and a sidebar will appear on the right showing previous versions of the document.
  3. Click through the versions until you find the one you want. Then click "Restore this version" on the top of the screen.
  4. Confirm the restore, and your draft will appear.


Personal Google Accounts allow for storage of up to 15 GB for free. Users can purchase more storage if needed.

Enterprise Accounts (such as Chico State accounts) do not have a limit.



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Article ID: 113230
Thu 7/15/21 12:32 PM
Thu 6/8/23 9:18 AM