Drive FAQs

How can I search my Google Drive better?

A lot of the value of Google Drive comes from how quickly you can identify and access exactly what you're looking for.

  • Creating a folder structure can serve as a great foundation to Drive
  • If you've accessed a file recently, use the "Recent" option in the left panel
  • You can star a file (right-click the file or folder and choose "Add star") and the use the "Starred" option in the left panel

Search operators are little known tricks that can also help you search and identify what you're looking for:

  • title: - search by the file's title (group phrases in quotation marks)
  • owner: - search according to who owns the item (works best with owner:email address)
  • type: - search by the file type (this covers: document, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, image, video, image_or_video, pdf, and textdoc)
  • is:starred - search items that you've marked with a star

For examples, watch this video.

How do I fix errors when clicking a hyperlink in Office to Google Drive?

Microsoft introduced a change in Office around mid-August 2016 that causes hyperlinks in Office 2003 and later to be unable to access a Google Drive folder. When you create a hyperlink in an Office document and then click the link, you may receive these error messages:

  • Update your browser to use Google Drive
  • Unable to open <URL>, Cannot locate the Internet server or proxy server
  • Unable to open <URL>, Cannot open the specified file

where <URL> is the hyperlink you inserted. When you type the URL directly in the browser, you can access the file.

Applying a patch from Microsoft Support, found here (the Download button under the Workaround section), solves the problem.

Files I created were placed in someone else's Google Drive folder but are now gone. What happened?

This is an issue that crops up in shared folder situations. For example, if you create a file in someone else's folder and the folder is deleted, your file will still exist (because you're the owner), but it becomes orphaned. An orphaned file is a file that is no longer organized into a folder properly, causing it to go missing. Basically, the file is still stored somewhere in your Drive, but the parent folder - the structure that gave Drive and you the necessary information to find the file - is gone.

So first things first: find those orphaned files using a Drive search using the operator is:unorganized owner:me. This will find files that you created that are no longer stored within existing folders.

If the search lists any orphaned files, whether you need them or not, our Drive structure will never show it until we reorganize them. To fix the problem, drag each file into the folder you want to store it in.

Watch a short demonstration.

My account is getting full. Can I get more storage space?

All accounts start with a storage limit of 30 GB which is shared between email, My Drive, etc. Before we discuss increasing the storage limit, here are some strong recommendations that can avoid incurring extra, unnecessary costs:

  • Often overlooked: Review your email Sent folder, deleting old email. Some people keep 3 weeks, 3 month, 6 months, even longer (!!) of sent mail but there is no practical reason to keep sent mail older than a year.
  • Ensure your Trash folder is emptying itself. By default, Google attempts to automatically delete any item in your Trash folder after 30 days.
  • Find email with large attachments (perhaps 5 MB or more) in any of your folders, not just your Inbox. Consider saving these attachments outside of your account (for example, to your hard drive) and delete the email. Remember to empty the Trash folder.
  • Consider switching to Google Docs/Sheets/Slides (Google’s native format) instead of storing non-native (for example, Microsoft Office) files, in My Drive. Google’s native files do not count against your storage limit.
  • Consider moving files shared with a work group to a Google Team Drive.

If, after performing this routine maintenance on your account, you still wish to increase your storage limit, visit here. You will see a summary of your storage usage as well as option to upgrade to 100 GB and 1 TB limits. SIL GTIS does not cover this upgrade cost. You will need to provide a credit card for billing either monthly or annually.

How can I see which files are taking up the most space on Google Drive? My account is getting full.

First, any files that are Google Docs, Sheets or Slides do NOT count against your quota. All other types of files (Office documents, images, videos, PDFs, etc) are what use up your quota.

The first thing to do is sort files in your folders by name and delete any duplicate files, if there are any. This can take time, depending on how many folders you have. If you really want to reduce your quota, however, you should uncover what large files are on Drive.

In Drive, move your mouse down to the bottom left-hand corner of your screen, where Google tells you how much of your allocated space you're using. Hover the cursor on top of that number and you'll get a pop-up box. Click the blue icon next to the Drive icon, which will open the "quota" page.

But the most useful thing to do is click on the arrow next to "Quota used" which sorts files by size (largest to smallest). You can go straight to your largest files, find the ones you no longer need, and delete them or back them up as you wish.

Watch a short demonstration.