Google Drive is an extensive platform that deserves a second look and follow-up post to A Guide to Google Drive. This post highlights a helpful Google app that automatically syncs with Google Drive (as all Google apps do), as well as more key aspects of Google Drive and shortcut options.
Jamboard is a helpful Google app that became better-known in the past several months as we all looked for options to facilitate our work-from-home or at-home-learning modules. You can access Jamboard from the New icon in Google Drive or go directly to Jamboard. Imagine having a digital whiteboard that lets you bring in photos, shapes, colors, gridlines and text, free-hand drawings, eraser marks and sticky notes.
The add image icon found on the left side of the screen allows you to upload from your camera roll, take a picture with a built-in camera, do a Google Image search or upload a photo stored in your Google Drive account.
Jamboard can easily be shared as are all Google documents, and as explained in A Guide to Google Drive, and a Jamboard can be edited by multiple authors with the proper settings. The stoplight icon in the top right corner of the screen lets you rename your Jamboard, download it as a PDF to your device to save on your hard drive or save it as an image.
Use Jamboard on a touch screen to draw with a stylus but erase with your finger just like a real whiteboard!
Access From Anywhere!
An obvious but easily-forgotten feature of Google Drive is the fact that you can access your files from anywhere at any time. Logging into your Google account gives you access to Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar and the rest of the Google Suite. More than once I have found myself in a jam (pun intended) and needing to access a file while I’m without my personal computer. Logging into Google Drive from a public computer lets me access everything I have ever opened.
The Search Bar
The search bar in Google Drive is another obvious but invaluable feature worth reviewing. The search bar can operate as a standard search bar would or you can customize the search to get a very specific result. This feature is most handy for people who have hundreds or thousands of files or multiple files with similar names. You can search by keywords used in the file, a full or partial file name, the last date modified, the location or folder where it is saved and more.
Google Drive does a great job at being an all-encompassing platform that allows many types of documents to be uploaded and edited. However, simply uploading a file into Google Drive may not convert the file into a Google Drive format. As mentioned in A Guide to Google Drive, you can easily upload any Microsoft file or PDF from your hard drive into Google Drive by selecting the New button and selecting file upload. This will make a copy of the file and store it within My Drive. From that point, right-clicking on the document and selecting open with will convert the file into Google Drive formatting. I especially find this helpful for converting a PDF into an editable Google Doc.
Drag and Drop
With Google Drive open in your browser, you can easily drag a file directly from your desktop into Google Drive. Hover over the folder you wish to drop into and when the location is selected let go of your mouse. It’s that simple!
Another handy feature of Google Drive is the option to open Version history. This option can be found under the File tab within an open file. Version history allows you to see all the changes that have been made and organizes it by date and includes the name of the author.
When Google Drive is open you can access a list of shortcuts right from your keyboard. The shortcuts are two or three key actions that will help expedite your workflow. To access the list of shortcuts within Google Drive, Windows and Chromebook users shall press the Ctrl and / buttons; Mac users shall press the command and / buttons. When the pop-up window opens, I recommend spending a few minutes looking through the list for shortcuts that are relevant to your work needs using the topics listed on the left. Personally, I rely heavily on the text formatting and navigation shortcuts that allow me to navigate quickly through text, select words to change formatting, to delete sentences or larger sections, or just to quickly scan through paragraphs and headings as part of my final proofing process.
Google Drive is filled with features and settings. As with most technology, using the service regularly and familiarizing yourself is key to getting the most out of Google Drive and the entire Google suite. If Google Drive is not yet your go-to platform or has intimidated you in the past, perhaps these highlights will guide and comfort you along the way.