Search (Your Google Drive) Smarter - Digital Literacy Dover

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Search (Your Google Drive) Smarter

Sort your Life Out - 3 Ways to Search Smarter

It's all well and good being a Google Ninja, but what good is that if after having been shared on your 6,457th doc, you can't find the specific one you want? 

First let's recap the basics:

Files vs Folders

True of any digital environment, less is More when it comes to folders. Create LESS folders, with MORE files in them, treat them more like storage bins than sleeves.

Stop treating folders like document sleeves...

Treat folders like storage crates - Less with More inside

File names are much more important than folders. Use file names that use useful keywords - so instead of calling that document 'Planning' how about ... 'Planning Zen Buddhism and Karaoke G5' now, when you do a search you have a far greater likelihood of actually finding what you want. Maybe use some 'conventions' like always including a 'G5' etc. (Info like the date [apart from maybe the year] is superflous and makes your files names ridiculously looooooooong - it's redundant as that is already stored by the computer - just sort your files by date.)

Sort out your Sorting

Much like in the Mac FInder, Google has some clever ways to make searching easier. 

Assuming you are in 'My Drive' (not 'Shared with me') you have a few ways to sort your results: TITLE, OWNER and LAST MODIFIED – I would suggest 'last modified' is the most useful. When you are in 'Shared with me', you'll find these options are cut down to ONLY Title, and Share Date - don't ask me why!

Star documents that you use frequently - this is a one click way of ensuring you find those straight away. Just click Starred - and BOOM there they are. Easy. Of course it doesn't help if you star a bazillion docs, so remember to UNstar some from time to time.

Last but definitely not least - Filter

So when you have a bunch of files on display in your Google Drive, make sure you take advantage of the buttons which let you 'filter' the results - much as you would when doing a Google Search - 

Then pick whatever option will make it easiest to drastically reduce the amount of files you are viewing - like 'Text Document' 'Not Owned By Me' – you can choose more than one.

For a more thorough break down and even more awesome advice for becoming a Google Drive Search Ninja click here.

So... now that you know how to search your Google Drive, make sure you can do the same on your Mac... 

You can also view the contents of your Google Drive as thumbnails—especially useful for folders of images:


  1. Good share; Alan November made a difference!

    1. Not really! While I was going on about advanced Google search, I was thinking, but ... most teachers I know can't search their own Macs (spotlight? what's spotlight?), or Google Drives - shouldn't we start there?