7 Google Drive Tips & Tricks You’re Probably Not Using


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  1. Use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) in Google Drive: OCR is a tool which can be used to convert text contained within various media platforms to text that can be edited in Google Docs.

    With a PDF document, this can be simply done by right-clicking a PDF contained in your drive, and selecting ‘Open with – Google Docs’. This will automatically copy the document into Google Docs where you can edit it however you like. For editing a PDF that was created using a photocopy, this same process applies (although it may not be quite as precise depending on quality).

    If you have an image of text taken with a camera that you’d like to convert into a Google Doc, you can do this exact same process. The OCR tool will recognize the text of an image contained in your Drive and convert it into a form which you can then edit in Google Docs. As with PDF’s created using a photocopy, the quality of this method will vary depending on the quality of the original image.




  2. Searching images in Google Drive: You can easily search any document, picture, or related file within your Drive by typing specific keywords into the search bar. The search can be of keywords which are actually contained within a file (titles, etc.), or actual visual descriptions of what is contained in the file. For example, if you need to recall an image of a car from your Drive, simply type in ‘car’, and Google Drive’s recognition technology will find and display the image for you. This will work for almost any general searches.
  3. Scan using the Google Drive App: With this feature, you can use the Google Drive app on your smartphone to scan and upload any physical text document to your Google Drive. To do this, tap the ‘+’ icon in the bottom left corner of your Drive application, and select ‘scan’. This will open your device’s camera which you can then use to scan a piece of paper, book, or other physical text document to be converted into a PDF, and uploaded to your Google Drive. It will be saved there where you can recall or edit the PDF at a later time. Google’s OCR capabilities are a great way to best utilize your PDF documents.
     
  4. Sending a PDF link (replace ending with ‘ export?format=pdf ’): If you’d prefer to send someone a PDF link instead of sharing a document with them for any particular reason, right-click on a document in your drive and select ‘share’ as you would usually share a document. Instead of adding Email addresses or names from your contact list into the section that’s displayed, go above and click on “get shareable link”, then click on ‘copy link’ where the bar comes down. This will copy the link to your document and allow you to paste it wherever you like. Before sharing this link however, you’ll have to make a slight alteration to the ending, so that the recipient is able to download it as a PDF. Where it ends ‘ edit?usp=sharing ’, you’ll have to delete this and replace it with ‘ export?format=pdf ’ which is listed above. This makes it so that the document is automatically downloaded as a PDF when the link is pasted into a search bar.
  5. Creating a new instance of a folder or file in Google Drive (shift + z):
    By creating a new instance of a file or folder in Drive, you can have the exact same item in two or more locations. While making a copy of a file creates an entirely separate and new version of the file, creating a new instance allows you to edit the exact same file from multiple locations.
    If you’d like to be able to edit a document from two or more separate folders, simply press ‘shift + z’ over the selected document and you’ll be asked where you’d like to send a new instance to. You’ll then be able to access and edit the exact same file from wherever else you like within your Google Drive. This can be done with any kind of file or folder. Keep in mind that if a file is deleted from anywhere in your drive, matching instances of that folder will also be deleted.
  6. Restrict file and folder access in Google Drive: To restrict certain actions from being performed on files or folders that you’ve shared with others, you can easily change the access and editing settings. To do this, simply right click on the file you’d like to restrict and select ‘Share’ as you usually would. Then go to the bottom right of the resulting tab and click ‘Advanced’. At the very bottom of this next tab, there will be two boxes which you can click in order to either prevent the changing of access by other users, or disable options to download, copy, print, etc..



  7. Setting expiration dates in Google Drive: To set an expiration date for either a file or folder in Google Drive is to restrict access after a specific date. To do this you’ll have first needed to share the file or folder with one or more other users of Google Drive. In order to set an expiration date, you’ll need to go into the advanced share settings of a file or folder. Here you’ll see a list of users whom you’ve shared the file/folder with. In line with their name and Email you’ll see a clock icon displayed; upon clicking this icon you’ll be able to set a date on which the user will no longer have access to the file or folder.

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