How to use Google Drive

For anyone with a Gmail/Google account, storage of documents, photos and other files is easy. Learn how to use Google Drive for all of your storage needs.

Google Drive is a storage location in the cloud that you can use to save important files, pictures, or documents. The actual storage location is on Google’s computers, accessed via the Internet. Anyone who has a Google account, with a Gmail address, has free Google Drive storage.

How to Get There

To use Google Drive, you must first open the application. Sign into your Google account in a browser. Click on the nine dots in the top right corner of your browser window. This is a waffle menu.

A drop-down menu will display and show icons for Google applications. These applications are free with a Google account. Click on the tricolored triangle that says Drive.


My Drive is the main Google Drive page.

Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides are stored in your Google Drive automatically. You can store other documents that were created using other applications. You can use Google Drive to store any types of files.

If you have documents listed in the section titled Quick Access, these will be documents that you have opened either recently or frequently. They are documents that Google thinks you may want to access again easily. This section is not a storage location. It is a shortcut to frequently used documents and the contents will change over time.

Below the Quick Access section, is a section titled Files. This section contains items stored at the main root level of your Google drive. There is only one document in this example.

Organizing and Storing Other Things

Use the search bar at the top of the page to find documents and folders.

Shown below, is the left sidebar. This sidebar provides another way to locate documents.

  • Shared drives are storage locations that different people can access. They will only be displayed if you have access to them.
  • Shared with me contains any documents or folders that another Google user has given you access to.
  • Recent provides shortcuts to the documents you have most recently edited.
  • Starred provides a way for you to designate certain documents as being more important to you. Once you ‘star’ a document, then it will be accessible through this heading.
  • Trash – when you delete a document or folder in Google Drive, then it will be retained in the trash for approximately 30 days before it is permanently deleted.


You can make folders to store documents in. Just like in real life, using folders to organize your work helps you to find documents again in the future.

Click New with the large colorful plus sign as shown on the side bar above. This will display a drop down menu with choices of the types of things you can create.

Click on the first option that says folder.

Type in a name for the folder, such as Example folder here.

This folder will then be visible in My Drive.

Double click on a folder and it will open and display it’s contents.

In this case you will see a blank page that says “drop files here” in grey font, on the center of the page. This shows that the folder is currently empty.

You can create new documents (e.g. Docs, Sheets, Slides) or copy existing files to your Google Drive by dragging and dropping them.


Each Google account has space allocated on Google’s computers. Google Drive can be used for any type of file. Additional storage space can be purchased directly from Google, if it is needed.

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