If you’re only treating Google Drive as a file dump, you may be vastly underusing its potential. Its current version offers everything from a complete office suite to advanced collaboration features and syncing with diverse applications.
The following tips and tricks for using Google Drive will help you achieve more simplicity and efficiency for day-to-day work.
1. Pull Out Text from Images
Google Drive lets you pull out text from images using its optical character recognition (OCR) feature. Just right-click on any PDF or JPEG/PNG image file, and open it with Google Docs. The OCR tool quickly converts the image to text, allowing you to copy-paste it freely.
This feature is really helpful if you have a write-protected PDF file or a book’s scanned pages. Just remember to convert from clear, high-resolution images containing a normal typeface such as Arial or Verdana.
2. Search Like a Pro
Google Drive has an advanced search feature that quickly leads you to the exact document. Whether it’s a keyword you remembered or a certain date range, you get intuitive results. Using the OCR tool, it also searches for text inside the images and PDF files.
With the recent introduction of Machine Learning in Google Drive, your search for the right document just got faster.
3. Chat with Friends and Edit Documents Together
Google Drive is an excellent way for you to chat with your buddies and collaborate over Google Sheets, Docs or Slides. Simply send them a Gmail invitation, and your entire group will be jointly editing the document in no time.
There are many popular collaboration tools like WebEx and GotoMeeting, but in my opinion, this feature of Google Drive supersedes them completely.
4. Send Emails Directly from Your Favorite Email Client
If you have important email addresses saved in old Google Docs, Sheets or Slides, simply double-click to send an email directly. The best part is it doesn’t restrict you to Gmail . You can as easily use external email clients such as Thunderbird and Outlook.
5. Keep Track of Version Changes
A document may undergo many version edits that we don’t remember. However, Google Drive does keep track of your version changes, which is 100 edits or 30 days, whichever is shorter. However, I was surprised to find intact version edits for many of my documents dating as far back as 2013.
6. Create a Google Drive Folder on Windows 10 PC
You can easily create a Google Drive folder on a Windows 10 PC. It can be quite helpful for many reasons. For example, Google Drive helps you directly sync your Google Photos with the Microsoft Photos app using another app called “Google Takeout.”
7. Work with Multiple Google Drive Accounts
Do you feel constrained by Google Drive’s 15 GB free storage space? If you have multiple Gmail accounts, you can manage additional Google Drive accounts across multiple tabs in the same browser window. There’s no such information on the exact number of permitted accounts, but some kind of “fair use” policy beyond four or five accounts does exist.
Even at the minimum, this could mean at least 60 GB of free space which will help you freely move around your files.
8. Work Offline
From “Settings,” you can enable an offline version of Google Drive so that you can work with Sheets, Docs and Slides without the Internet. Before you do, you must be connected to the Internet and using the Chrome browser.
Later, install and turn on Google Docs Offline Chrome extension.
9. Connect More Apps
You can connect GSuite productivity apps with Google Drive from “Settings.” Whether you want a lucrative PDF background, Slack or FormRecycler, there are hundreds of useful apps to choose from.
10. Combined Miscellaneous Tips
Google Drive also allows you to publish select documents directly so that anyone with that link can view them.
There are also keyboard shortcuts if you want to rapidly sift through multiple docs. It executes almost all commands. You only have to remember one command,Shift + # , to display a full list of remaining keyboard shortcuts.
Today, Google Drive is more than just a file storage solution. In terms of productivity and collaboration features, it’s right there with Gmail, LibreOffice and Microsoft Office.
Have you used these extra features and functions of Google Drive before? Do let us know in the comments.