Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Survival Tips for Google Drive Rookies

Do you have a Google account? Have you ever had a moment of panic because you thought you lost a file? Or felt like your heart stopped beating because someone who you shared your file with made changes to your document that you didn't want? My glimpse into Doomsville came while I was facilitating a district training amongst 40 or so colleagues. One mischievous participant decided to delete all but the title slide of our collaborative Google Slides activity. Yes, you read that right, someone deleted the majority of the presentation! When I looked up on the screen and watched as practically everything disappeared, my blood pressure skyrocketed. Thankfully, after the brief moment of panic, I was able to not only recover the collaborative work of the large group but was also able to tell who deleted the slides. You can imagine the big smile I had on my face as I was able to approach the guilty prankster! Below are a few tips and tricks that I've learned along the way that have helped me and/or my colleagues avoid a meltdown.

Survival Tips for Google Drive Rookies: 

Use the Revision History Feature
Google's "Revision History" can be used in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Drawing to view and/or recover previous versions of the file. Classroom teachers can also use it as a tool to determine who and how much group members participated in a group presentation. Keep students honest in their group work contributions!

To view Revision History:

  • Click on File > See revision history
  • Revision history appears along right-hand side.
  • Click on timestamp to view changes (notice each person is color coded).
  • Changes will appear in color according to who made the change.
  • Click on "Restore this revision" when you find the version you want. 
  • Learn more about the Revision History feature here.

Track Everything with the Google Drive Activity Tracker
Take advantage of the activity tracker in Google Drive to see when you created a file or folder, where a file is located, who you shared a file with via Google, and so much more. 

To access the Activity Tracker: 
  • Open your Google Drive in Chrome. 
  • Click on the lowercase "i" over on the right-hand side of the screen. 
  • View the "Activity" list of recent changes to your Google Drive.
    • You can even open a file from the activity list. 
  • Learn more about using the Activity Tracker here

Get to Know the Google Drive Menu
Three important features to help you quickly access your files can be found along the left-hand side of your online Google Drive account. No more digging through folders to find what you need!
  • Recent - View a list of recently opened/created files in your Google Drive. I use the "Recent" menu option to easily find/open a file that I recently used. 
  • Starred - Think of the "Star" in Google Drive like Twitter's Favorite star. I use this feature when working on a project, document, presentation, etc. that I know I will be coming back to often. Simply mark a file or folder with the star in Google Drive and it will appear under your "Starred" list. 
  • Trash - There have been times that I have accidentally deleted a file only to realize later that I needed it. Have no fear! I can recover the file from my "Trash" folder.

Keep Organized and Find It Later
Have you ever thought, where is that file I created yesterday?! Aside from looking in your "Recent" files or at your "Google Drive Activity" list, how can you find exactly where you stored a particular file? 
  • Open a "lost" file from your recent activity list, trash folder, etc. 
  • Click on the folder icon. 
  • Pop-up screen shows where the file is located within your Google Drive. 
This comes in handy if you accidentally create or move a file into the wrong folder.

These are just a few features that have helped me survive as I transition from Microsoft Office to Google Drive. Hopefully, at least one of these little features will save you from a moment of panic! And if you have a survival tip to share, please leave it in the comments section. 

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