Once you’ve logged in to your account and clicked on Drive, you’ll be presented with the main Drive page.

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There are 4 main areas:

Drive areas

1) In the middle is where you will see your files and folders.

2) On the left, you have some Drive options and filters.

3) On the bar, there are more Drive options and this is where you’ll be able to see where your file lives in Google Drive, via a ‘breadcrumbs’ route, i.e. a list of the folders and sub-folders, showing where the file is.

4) At the top, is a search box and where the account options are.

In this post, I’ll talk about the first two areas.

1) Files and folders area

With a new account, you’ll only see one “Getting started” pdf.  Once we add some files and folders, I’ll come back to this.

2) Left menu

New: Clicking on the red box ‘New’, will open a menu with the following options:

New menu

It gives you the option of:

Folder: Creates a new folder

File upload: Uploads a file from your computer

Folder upload: Uploads a complete folder from your computer, this can save you a lot of time when uploading your files to Drive (this option isn’t available on all browsers, e.g. Safari, so I recommend using Google Chrome whilst using Google Drive).

Google Docs/Sheets/Slides: Creates a new Google Doc, Google Sheet or Google Slide

More: Opens another menu, where you can create a new Google Form, Drawing or My Maps and where you can add further Apps to Drive

My Drive: This is the top level folder in your drive, all files and folders are connected to this.  It works in a similar way to your hard drive on your computer.

Shared with me: One of the beauties of Google Drive, is the ability to share files and folders very easily and those you share them with, will have access to the same versions as you have.  One common mistake here, is that people think this is a folder and therefore, can be used like a folder.  It’s not.  It’s a filter, which just collects all the files or folders that have been shared with you in one place.

Google photos: Here you will find all your photos on your Drive.  At the time of writing, this is a relatively new service and it’s not always activated by Google.

Recent: This sorts your files and folders into date order, with the most recently accessed at the top.

Starred: You have the option of ‘starring’ your most used or most important files and folders and this filter, shows all the starred ones in one place.

Bin: If you delete something, it goes in here.  Nothing gets permanently deleted until you empty the bin.  Note: My site is in British English, so some of the labels, may be different in American English, e.g. Trash.

Near the bottom it will tell you how much space you’ve used of the total amount of storage you have.  A free account will give you 15Gb, which is plenty for the average user, but there are options to increase this.  If you need more, click on Upgrade storage.

One good thing about using Google Apps, is that Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc, don’t use any of your storage space, whereas, any uploaded files, like Word or PDFs will do.

Get Drive for Mac/PC: Finally, on the bottom-left, you have the option to install Google Drive onto your PC or Mac.  This copies all your files locally onto your computer.  This is a good option for backing up files and for editing non-Google files.

In part 2, I’ll go through the areas at the top of the page.

eBooks available on Drive, Forms, Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Sheet Functions:

Baz Roberts (Google+Flipboard / Twitter)