Best practices for shared drives

3. Manage files in shared drives

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Get tips for structuring shared drives, adding files, and searching for files.
 

In this section, you learn how to:

3.1 Set up a shared drive
3.2 When to create files in My Drive instead of a shared drive
3.3 Find files in a shared drive
3.4 Hide a shared drive

3.1 Set up a shared drive

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Create shared drives based on who has access

Whatever access level you give to someone for a shared drive is the level they’ll have for all folders in that shared drive. You can change access levels on individual files, but not on folders.

Example

Say everyone on a sales team needs access to the same resources. Create a shared drive for the sales team, so they have a central repository for the important collateral they need for their job.

Set naming conventions

To avoid naming conflicts in shared drives, agree on organization-wide naming conventions.

Examples

  • Say your company has sales divisions in different regions. You could create a shared drive for each sales region and prefix the shared drive name with the region or an abbreviation of the region.
  • Indicate status by appending a prefix, such as [Archive] to a project that’s no longer active or [In Progress] to a project that’s active.
  • To distinguish between shared drives that are shared externally and internally, add the prefix [External] or [Internal].

Create folders for related topics

Classify content into folders. Then, nest folders for related topics.

Examples

  • Create a shared drive for Project X, then create folders for each topic.
  • Create a shared drive for your marketing department, then create folders for each project.

Focus each shared drive on a single project or department

If a shared drive has a lot of members, you might have too many projects or departments represented. That can make it hard to find and manage content. Keep each shared drive focused on a single project or department and then create folders for each topic or project.

Example

Create a shared drive for Project X. Create a folder for each topic area within the project. This keeps files organized so members of Project X can easily find what they’re looking for.

Visually distinguish different shared drives with themes

Quickly distinguish your shared drive from others by adding an image to the shared drive banner. See Change your shared drive theme.

Distinguish shared drives with themes

3.2 When to create files in My Drive instead of a shared drive

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Create files in My Drive if:

  • You’re working on personal files.
  • You want to draft the file privately. You can move it to a shared drive when you’re ready to share or collaborate. Ownership then transfers from you to the team.


Create files in a shared drive if:

  • You’re working on files that you want to share with a team.
  • You want to collaborate on files right away.


 Compare My Drive to shared drive

3.3 Find files in a shared drive

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As a shared drive grows, it can be tricky to find specific content. When a team member uploads a file to a shared drive, every member of the shared drive becomes a file owner. 

To make your search easier, you can search for a file by its creator or limit your search to a specific folder. 

Search by original owner to find a shared drive file:

  1. Open Drive and at the left, click Shared drives.
  2.  In the search box, enter creator: and then the email of the person in your organization who created the file, for example, creator:yourcolleague@organization.com.
  3. (Optional) To refine your search, add other search terms in the search box, or click the Down arrow Down Arrowand add more search operators.
  4. Press Enter.

Limit your search to a specific folder in a shared drive:

  1. Right-click a folder and click Search within folder name.
  2. In the search box, enter your search term and press Enter.

Learn more about search operators in Drive.


Search and find shared files

3.4 Hide a shared drive

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You can hide a shared drive that's part of a completed project or if you want to prioritize other shared drives. If you hide a shared drive, you still have access to it and your permissions don't change. You can unhide the shared drive at any time.

Hide a shared drive:

  1. In Drive, on the left, click Shared drives.
  2. Right-click the shared drive that you no longer want to see, and select Hide shared drive.

Unhide a shared drive:

  1. In Drive, on the left, click Shared drives.
  2. At the top right, click Hidden shared drives.
  3. Right-click the shared drive that you want to show again, and select Unhide shared drive.
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