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How to Organize Your Google Drive

Google Drive Header Image

Over time, with some neglect and potential laziness, your Google Drive can accrue tons of files and become a mess to find anything. Here’s how to organize your Drive to find everything fast and make sure it stays in order.

Organize Your Files Into Folders

One of the easiest ways to organize your Google Drive is to create category-specific folders. For example, you could have separate folders for pictures, documents, projects, or other descriptions to help you locate files.

From your Drive homepage, click the “New” button in the top left, and then click “Folder.”

Click "+ New," and then click "Folder."

Enter a name for the folder and click “Create.”

Enter a name for the folder and click "Create."

From here, drag the files you want to add directly into the new folder you created.

Drag files directly into the folder

If you have a few files in other folders already and want to relocate them, no problem. Select the files, right-click, and then choose “Move To.”

Alternatively, highlight the files, right-click them, and then click "Move To."

Navigate to the destination folder, click it, and then select “Move” to transfer all the selected files to that folder.

Select the folder you want to move them to and click "Move."

Use a Naming Convention

Try to use a naming convention that helps you easily differentiate files and folders from each other. When you start to accumulate more items in your Drive, thoughtful names could save you from opening several files while you try to locate a specific one. Having multiple spreadsheets with extremely ambiguous names isn’t a helpful way to find anything in a pinch.

To change a file’s or folder’s name, right-click a file or folder and click “Rename.”

Right-click a file and choose "Rename" from the context menu

Give the file or folder a short and descriptive name, and then click “OK.”

Name it something desriptive and concise, and then click "OK."

Remember to keep a consistent and descriptive naming scheme to make it obvious where to find specific items and what the actual file contains.

Delete Files You Don’t Need

After you move your important files into more distinguishable folder categories, you might have some leftover duplicate or unnecessary documents in your Drive. This is when you can delete those potentially unneeded files still hogging up space.

All you have to do is highlight the file, right-click it, and then select “Remove.”

Select a file, right-click it, and then click "Remove" to delete it

Drive doesn’t provide you with a confirmation prompt when you delete files but does give you the chance to undo a delete. Click “Undo” to reverse the deletion.

Accidentally delete something? Click "Undo" to reverse the delete.

If you miss the opportunity to click “Undo” after you remove some files, click the “Bin” button located in the menu bar, right-click on the files you want to bring back, and then click “Restore.”

Alternatively, click "Bin" from the pane on the left, right-click a file, and then click "Restore" to return it to your Drive.

The previously deleted files will now return to your Drive from where they came.

Create Symbolic Links to Files and Folders

Google Drive has a hidden shortcut that lets you create a symbolic link of something in a completely different place, without taking up any additional storage in your Drive. Google stores only the original file copy in the cloud and displays a separate version wherever you link it.

RELATED: The Complete Guide to Creating Symbolic Links (aka Symlinks) on Windows

To get started, click on a file or folder and then press Shift+Z to open the special context menu.

Select a file and press Shift+Z to open this context menu.

Navigate to the folder where you want to link the file or folder and click “Add.”

Choose a folder and click "Add."

To get rid of a symbolic link, right-click it, and then click on “View Details.”

Right-click a file that's a symbolic link and choose "View Details."

From the “Details” pane that opens, click the “X” next to the location you want to unlink.

Under "Location," click the "X" next to the folder where the file is linked to.

Be careful to delete only the link rather than the file it’s linking to. If you delete the original file, the link will disappear as well.

Star Important Files and Folders

Starring essential files and folders in Google Drive works the same as starred emails in Gmail. When you star something, Drive adds it to a special “Starred” section that you can access directly from the menu pane on the left side.

Right-click on a file or folder and then select “Add to Starred.”

Right-click on a file/folder, and then click "Add to Starred."

You can view the starred items by clicking on “Starred” in the pane on the left side of the screen.

Click "Starred" to open the directory

The item stays in its current place and Drive essentially creates a symbolic link—much like we did in the previous section—to the original that shows up in “Starred.”

Folders that have been added to the Starred directory.

Color-Code Your Folders

By default, Google Drive uses grey for all folders. While folder color isn’t a make or break detail, you can color-code them to recognize a folder easier and make it stand out from all the rest. You have the choice of 24 colors to put a little pizzaz into your Drive.

Right-click on a folder, hover over “Change Color,” and then choose from one of the colors provided.

Right-click a folder, point your mouse cursor to "Change Color," and then choose a color for the folder.

The folder changes to the color you chose. This option is available for every folder in your Drive.

Just like that, the folder has changed its color to the one you selected.


No matter how disorganized your Drive is, you can quickly put a stop to the clutter and whip everything back into a neat and organized structure. Gone are the days when you feel overwhelmed every time you open Google Drive and see the mess that developed over the years with these tips.