Add metadata to files in Google Drive

Important: This feature is currently in beta and not available to all users. Administrators for Google Workspace Essentials, Google WorkspaceEnterprise, G Suite Business, Education, Enterprise for Education, and Nonprofits edition can apply for the metadata Beta program.

With your Google Account through work or school, you can add categories and properties to files and folders in Google Drive. You can search for files with these specific terms attached.

If you manage a shared drive, you can manage categories and properties for your shared drive. Your administrator manages the properties and categories for your organization.

Search with categories & properties

If your organization manages files with metadata, you can search for files tagged with categories and properties.

  1. On your computer, go to
  2. At the top, next to "Search Drive," click the Down arrow Down arrow.
  3. Next to "Properties," select a category from the drop-down menu.
  4. Below the category you chose, select a property from the drop down menu.
  5. Click Search.

Create categories & properties

If your organization allows, you can create categories and properties for other people in your organization to use.

  1. On your computer, go to
  2. On the left, click shared drives.
  3. Click the shared drive you want to manage, and click More More and then Manage categories.
  4. At the top right, click More More and then Create and edit categories.
  5. Click Create new category.
  6. Add a title, description, and add properties.
  7. Click Publish.

Metadata best practices

  • We recommend creating 4 or fewer fields per label. Metadata is very powerful, but only if it’s widely and consistently used. People are much more likely to apply labels and edit fields if it's quick and easy. 
  • Before creating a label, check if there’s already one you can use. The fewer similar labels that users see, the more likely they are to make the best choice.
  • Create and select labels for shared drives so team members have a smaller, more useful set of options to choose from. 
  • Avoid confidential information in label names and selection options. Published labels are visible and might be used by all admins and shared drive managers in your organization. 
  • Before you publish a new label, confirm the type of each field. Once the label is published, field types can’t be changed. You also can’t change whether users can pick multiple values for a selection field. 
  • Also be cautious about changing a published label in other ways. Changes affect all the files where the label has already been applied, including some you might not be aware of. For example, files with the label might have new file owners or be located in other shared drives. 

Apply categories & properties to your files

When you apply categories & properties to your files or folders, remember:

  • Each file can have ten categories applied to it.
  • If you apply a category to a folder, it doesn’t get applied to the files inside.

To apply categories & properties to your files or folders:

  1. On your computer, go to
  2. Click the file or folder, then click Info Information.
  3. In the right side panel, click Apply category.
  4. Select the categories you want from the drop down menu.

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

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