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Tips to access and find your files

Google Workspace productivity guide

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Work with Microsoft Office files

In Google Workspace, you can still work with Microsoft Office files, even if you don't have Office installed.

You can:

  • Add Office files to Google Drive.
  • Keep your files in Microsoft format, even if you no longer have Office.
  • Convert Office documents and Adobe PDF files to Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides.
  • Work in Office and save changes to Drive.
  • Comment on Office files in Drive preview.
  • Email copies of Docs, Sheets, or Slides files in a Microsoft format.
  • Preview or download Office files that are embedded within other Office files.

Learn how

Add Office files to Drive

Save and access your Office files from Drive.

  1. On your computer, go to
  2. At the top left, click New and then File upload
  3. Choose the file you want to upload. 

Work in Office and sync files to Drive (Office required)

After you move your Office files to Drive, you can still work on them in Office and save your changes to Drive.

  1. If you haven't already, install Google Drive for desktop on your computer. This adds your Google Drive folder to your computer.
  2. On your computer, add your Office file to your Google Drive folder.
  3. In Office, click Fileand thenOpen and find your Google Drive folder.
  4. Click your Office file and click Open.
  5. Edit your file.

    Any changes you make to your file in Office sync in Drive.

Share a copy of a file in an Office format

If you're sharing a Google file with people who only have Office, you can attach a Microsoft copy to an email.
  1. In Docs, Sheets, or Slides, open the file.
  2. Click Fileand thenEmail as attachment.
  3. Under Attach as, choose Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, or Microsoft PowerPoint.

  4. Enter the email address, subject, and message.
  5. (Optional) Check the Send a copy to myself box.
  6. Click Send.



Add labels to files in Drive

Labels help you organize, find, and apply policies to items in Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides. You can apply up to 5 labels to each file.

Learn how

Apply a label from Drive

  1. On your computer, go to
  2. Right click on a file or multiple files, and choose Labels and then Apply a label from the menu.
  3. Use the dialog to choose a label, and field values to apply to the file.


  • To remove a label from a file, find the label you want to remove and click Remove .
  • If you do not see the Labels section, it may be that your administrator has not yet enabled it for your account. Contact your administrator.

Apply a label from Docs, Sheets, or Slides

  1. When viewing or editing a file in Docs, Sheets, or Slides, click the File menu and choose Labels.
  2. View existing labels and apply new labels in the side panel.

Note: To remove a label from a file, find the label you want to remove and click Remove .

See labels using the Drive App

  1. On your mobile device, open the Drive app (iOS, Android).
  2. Find the file you want to view labels for.
  3. Use the ellipsis button to open the context menu, and choose Details and activity.
  4. Choose Labels from the Details view.

Note: Labels cannot be applied or modified in the mobile app at this time.

Find files with labels

Use Drive search options to find content with specific labels or fields.

  1. On your computer, go to
  2. At the top, next to Search Drive, click the Down arrow .
  3. Next to Labels, select a label from the drop-down menu.
  4. Below the label you chose, you can optionally select a field from the drop down menu, and specify a value.
  5. Click Search.

Note: Search results only contain files you can access.



Check the sync status of a file

You can access your documents in Google Drive wherever you go—on your computer, phone, or tablet. When you finish making your changes, Drive automatically syncs the latest changes. So if you open the same document from another device, all the changes you made appear.

Learn how

On the web

When you see Upload complete, your files have uploaded successfully and can be accessed in any browser or device that has Drive installed.

On your computer

Dragging files to a folder in Google Drive for desktop automatically uploads them to Drive on the web (though it might take a moment for files to sync). For details, see Move files to folders.

  • Files with Sync  haven’t been uploaded to Drive yet.
  • Files with Done  have uploaded successfully and can be accessed from Drive in any browser or from any device with Drive installed.

Pause syncing in Google Drive for Desktop

If you pause synching in Drive for desktop, any changes to files are not uploaded. And, new versions of files made available offline won't be downloaded.

  1. Click the Drive for desktop Menu Drive File Stream.
  2. Click More More and then Pause syncing.

To resume syncing, click More More and then Resume syncing.



Mark & prioritize important files

To keep important or frequently used files at your fingertips, you can:

  • Add files to a workspace in Drive
  • Star files
  • Color-code folders

Note: Adding files to a workspace does not remove them from anywhere else or change permissions. It just puts them in one place so you can quickly find them.

Learn how

Create a workspace and add files

  1. On your computer, go to
  2. On the left, click Workspaces and then Create Workspace.
    • Enter a name for the workspace and click Create.
  3. Click Add files.
  4. On the right, under Add to Workspace, choose where you want to add files from.
    • You can add from Recent, My Drive, and Shared Drives.
  5. Find the files you want to add and select them.
  6. Click Insert and then Done.

Add a single file to a workspace

  1. On your computer, go to
  2. Find the file you like to add.
  3. Right-click the file you like to add.
  4. Select Organize and then Add to Workspace and then Name of workspace. 

Learn more at the Google Drive Help Center

Star important files or folders

  1. Right-click a file or folder.
  2. Select Organizeand thenAdd to Starred.
  3. (Optional) To see all your starred files and folders, in the left sidebar, click Starred.

Color-code a Drive folder

Organize your Drive visually with color-coded folders.

  1. Right-click the folder you want to change.
  2. Click Change color and choose the color you want. 



Find files and folders with shortcuts

Shortcuts can make it easier for you and your team to find and organize files and folders in Google Drive. A shortcut is a link that references another file or folder. You can use them in My Drive or a shared drive.

Anyone with access to the file, folder, or shared drive can see a shortcut, but it doesn’t mean they can open it. You need to give people access to the original file, not the shortcut.

  • If a file or folder that you use frequently is several levels down in a hierarchy, create a shortcut and put it at a top level in Drive to access it quickly.
  • If your team works in different folders and you want to access the same file from several folders, create a shortcut to the file in the folders.
Learn how

Create shortcuts

  1. On your computer, go to Google Drive.
  2. Right click on a file or folder.
  3.  Click Organize  > Add shortcut .


  • If you create a shortcut in a folder that’s owned by someone else, you can’t delete the shortcut.
  • You can't create a shortcut of a shortcut, but you can make a copy of it.

Delete shortcuts

  1. In your browser, go to Google Drive.
  2. Right click the shortcut you want to remove.
  3. Click Move to trash .
  4. To permanently remove the shortcut, delete it from your trash.
    1. On the left, click Trash.
    2. ​Right click the shortcut you want to delete and then  Delete forever  Trash.

Note: Deleting a shortcut does not delete the original file or folder the shortcut is based on. The original file or folder can only be deleted by the owner.

Fix broken shortcuts

A shortcut will break if:

  • You don’t have permission to open the original file.
  • The original file is in the trash.
  • The original file is deleted.

To fix the broken shortcut, try to restore the original file, or ask the owner for permission to open the file.



Search for image files by description

Search for images you've stored in Google Drive by describing or naming what's in them. You can also search for text in PDFs and images you've stored in Drive.

For example, searching for "Mount Everest" in Drive shows all of your stored Mount Everest photos and any documents that contain text about Mount Everest. The file name doesn't even have to match the image.

Learn how

Find image files or search for text inside PDFs and images

In Drive, just type the text you want to search for in the search box.



Set up offline access for files in Drive

Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers only

If you want to view and edit files when you're not connected to the internet, set up offline access. You need to do this before you go offline or lose internet access.

  • Work on the go, even if you don’t have internet access.
  • Edit Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more during internet outages.
  • Work during long flights without Wi-Fi.
Learn how

Before you turn on offline access

  • You must be connected to the internet.
  • You must use the Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge browser.
  • Don't use private browsing.
  • Install and turn on Google Docs Offline Chrome extension.
  • Make sure you have enough available space on your device to save your files.

Turn on offline access to recent files

  1. Open Google Drive.
  2. At the top right, click Settings Settings and then Settings.
  3. Turn on Offline setting
    1. If you are using Microsoft Edge, you will be redirected to the Chrome Web Store to download the Google Docs Offline extension.
  4. To work offline, open Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides

Make specific files available for offline editing

  1. On your computer, go to
  2. Right click the Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides file you want to save offline.
  3. Click Make available offline Ready for offline.

To save multiple files offline, press Shift or Command (Mac)/Ctrl (Windows) while you click other files.

If you need access to many of your Drive files, you might want to set up Drive for desktop instead.

What happens to my offline changes?

If you edit a file offline:

  • Changes are implemented when you’re back online.
  • New changes overwrite previous changes.
  • You can find edits in the file’s version history.

Tip: Learn how to find what's changed in a file.

Learn more at the Google Drive Help Center



Set an expiration date for file access

When you’re working with people outside of your organization, you might want to restrict their access to certain files in Google Drive when your projects are complete. For files in My Drive, you can set an expiration date to limit or end access to that file in the file sharing flow. To set an expiration date for files in shared drives, you must use the Drive API.

How access roles work with setting an expiration

When you set an expiration date, access roles are affected in the following ways:

  • For files, you can add an expiration date for viewers, commenters, editors, and published viewers if the file supports Published viewer.
  • For folders, you can set expiration dates for viewers and commenters. If you set an expiration date for an editor on a folder, their role changes to Viewer. However, you can still change their role to Commenter and retain the expiration date.
Learn how

Add, change, or delete an expiration date

  1. Open a file in Google Drive.
  2. Click Share.
  3. Find the user and next to the user's name, click the Down arrow Down and thenAdd expiration.
  4. To accept the 30-day expiration date, click Send.
  5. If you want to change the default expiration date, for Access expires, click Edit and select the expiration date from the calendar.
  6. (Optional) To remove the expiration, click Remove expiration.
  7. Click Doneand thenSend.

Google, Google Workspace, and related marks and logos are trademarks of Google LLC. All other company and product names are trademarks of the companies with which they are associated.

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