Google Drive has a lot to offer, much of which you might not even know about. Read about 15 tricks that will enable you to use Google Drive to the best of its ability.

Keyboard shortcuts

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Shortcuts are one of the ultimate hacks, and Google Drive has its share of them. Learn them here to maximize your efficiency.

Google Drive on the desktop

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This is a pretty obvious one, but it bears mentioning because of how much it can transform your use of Google Drive. While you’re on Drive on the web, click “Install Drive for your computer”. You’ll be able to automatically upload the important documents to the cloud just by putting them in a folder that will sync to the cloud.

Monitoring your storage

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On OS X you can find the Google Drive icon right in your menu bar. All you have to do is click on it to see how much storage you’ve used up.

Empty the trash

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While having Google Drive right on your desktop can be great, it comes with some downsides. If you delete Drive files from the desktop, they’ll still be stored online and take up space in your account. To truly delete files go to Drive on the web and empty the trash there.

Make forms

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Google Drive is popular for its free-to-use word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation, but less so for its extremely useful Forms app. It even has a large template gallery where you can choose from hundreds of themes.

Search by file types

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Click on the downwards arrow on the search engine of the Google Drive web page to search for files either by type, visibility, or ownership.

Research

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Have your document and the web open side-by-side with the Research function found under Tools to avoid having to switch between tabs.

Translate

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Under Tools you can translate your text in Google Docs into dozens of different languages.

Save to Drive

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With the Save to Google Drive extension you add documents, images, audio and video to Drive with a simple right click. Find it in your browser’s web store.

Sync your cloud storage accounts

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If you use other cloud services along with Google Drive download CloudHQ to sync, back up, and integrate your files across multiple platforms. Its a paid service, but you can get a 15 day free trial.

Get add-ons

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In Google Docs you have the option to get add-ons that enhance the workflow. Popular ones include citation generation EasyBib, a Thesaurus, and a tables of contents.

Use Google Drive offline

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Obviously you’re not going to be syncing files without an internet connection, but Google does let you continue working on your documents. You need to set it up in advance. Choose the Offline link from the file list to enable offline editing.

Look at revision history

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It’s amazing all the things a right click can do. If right-click with a document or folder under your cursor you can see changes you made and even restore previous versions of documents made with the Google Drive web apps.

Use Drive for media

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Now that extra storage is priced ridiculously low, Google Drive is a great option for storing media. Depending on the size of your collection, you might be able to store everything you need to for just two bucks a month. There’s even a music player where you can play any audio from your Google Drive on the web, so you can listen to it anywhere with an internet connection.

Transfer files to your mobile device

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If you do use Drive for media, this trick is especially powerful. You can download the Google Drive app on to your smartphone or tablet, and download files directly to your device. Want to listen to a song that’s not on your phone? Just download it with the Google Drive app.

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