Tech corner

A beginner’s guide to Google Drive

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Google Drive is a collection of free cloud-based tools dedicated to creating, sharing, storing and collaborating on files. Similar to Microsoft Office Suite, Google Drive offers various file types for different functions. Here’s a quick overview of how some of its basic features work.

Starting up

To get started with Google Drive, all you need to do is sign in with an existing Google account, or create a new one. Since the point of Drive is that everything is cloud-based, you can easily access your files from any device by simply going to drive.google.com and logging into your Google account, or downloading the app on your smartphone.

 

Creating files and folders

You can use Google Drive the same way as Microsoft products like Excel, Word and PowerPoint. Once you’re signed in and you’ve accessed the Drive homepage, if you look on the left side of the screen, you’ll see a list of different areas you can access.

To start a new document, press the white button above these files that says New, and you can choose from a variety of files such as Google Docs (similar to Word), Google Sheets (like Excel) and Google Slides (think PowerPoint). Pick one and it will open up a blank document in a new tab, ready for you to get started.

You can also create separate folders, making it easy for you to arrange everything in a tidy and easy to browse system.

 

Sharing files and folders

With Google Drive, you can share your files and folders easily with friends and colleagues. To share a file, simply open the it and click the blue Share button in the top right corner. From there, you can either copy and paste the link to share with others or invite people directly via email.

You can share entire folders with someone else too, giving them the ability to gain access to all of the files contained within that folder. To do this, open the folder you wish to share and click on Share in the drop-down menu under the folder name.

You have the option to choose the level of access the people you share files with are allowed to have, whether you want them to be able to edit the file, just add comments or simply view it.

 

Storing external files

A super handy feature in Drive is that it’s also compatible with Microsoft Office tools.

You’re able to open Word, Excel and PowerPoint files in Drive, and there’s even the option to convert these files into their Google Drive counterparts so that you can still make the most of the sharing and collaboration features.

To achieve this, all you need to do is click Upload Files from the drop-down menu on your My Drive screen. To convert an existing file, just open it and click the Open link at the top. Easy-peasy!

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