How to add Google Drive to Windows Explorer and create a desktop shortcut

Do you want to add Google Drive to Windows Explorer? Google Drive is an amazing tool for those people who need to share files and documents. It has completely simplified the more traditional process of attaching a file to an email and praying that it wasn’t too large.

Google Drive shortcuts made things even easier. This cloud-based sharing platform has several storage plans ranging from 15GB for free to 30TB for $299.99 per month. With so much storage space, individuals and companies can store absolutely everything.

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What are Google Drive shortcuts?

It’s easy to start uploading files, then you have a bit of a tidy up and create folders before the process begins again. Google Drive Shortcuts is an easy way to organize your content. They are pointers to files or content that are stored in alternative folders or drives.

Imagine a headteacher has all of the guidelines for the new school year uploaded onto Google Drive. They share the guidelines with each department head. The head of the history department can then create a shortcut to the document in the “history” shared file. Now everyone in the history department can access the file quickly.

To ensure security is maintained, even if you can see a shortcut, you will still need to have the correct access permission to be able to open the file.

Google Drive Shortcuts is already available to all G Suite users and those with personal Goggle accounts. As of September 30, 2020, you won’t be able to put a file in multiple locations on My Drive. Files that are in multiple locations will gradually be migrated to shortcuts and each file will have just a single location.

This is all well and good, but did you know that there are actually two different types of Google Drive shortcuts. Capitalized as we have mentioned above refers to the new organization and sharing system within Google Drive.

Google Drive shortcuts (not capitalized) are the traditional shortcuts that we are used to when using our keyboards, which is what we will focus on now.

Which shortcuts can I use with Google Drive?

There are more than 50 Google Drive shortcuts. We are going to go through the most common ones for Windows. To open to full shortcuts menu from Windows, select “Ctrl + /”.

Shortcuts list:

  • Go to navigation panel/folders list – g then n (or g then f);
  • Go to upload status – g then u;
  • Go to download status – g then a;
  • Select or deselect item – x;
  • Select next item down – j (or down arrow);
  • Select next item up – k (or up arrow);
  • Select item to the left – h (or left arrow);
  • Select item to the right – l (or right arrow);
  • Open selected item – o (or Enter);
  • Share selected item – . (dot);
  • Create new document – Shift + T;
  • Create new presentation – Shift + P;
  • Create new spreadsheet- Shift + S;
  • Create new folder – Shift + O.

To undo an action,  select Ctrl + Z. To redo the last undone action, select Ctrl + Shift + Z.

You can also access all of the shortcuts from our Google Drive account by clicking on the settings button and then open Keyboard shortcuts.

Google Drive Desktop shortcut

For those who are constantly using Google Drive, it might be a better solution to have the desktop version. This way, an icon appears on your desktop like other apps you frequently use. Google Drive has made this process very straightforward.

Once get to your Google Drive account and click on the setting button in the top right-hand corner (between the “?” and dots). The second option down is “Get Drive for Desktop”. Click here and follow the download instructions.

Add Google Drive to Windows Explorer

The process of adding Google Drive to Windows Explorer and File Explorer is the same. So, in the first place, you will need to download the desktop version of Google Drive by logging in to your account.

How to add Google Drive to your taskbar

Once you have downloaded to Google Drive desktop app, you can follow these steps:

  • Press “Windows + Q” which will open your Search Charm;
  • Type in Google Drive;
  • In the search results, right-click on Google Drive;
  • Select Pin to taskbar.

Wrap Up

A word of warning when installing Google Drive onto your desktop. Having the desktop version is extremely useful as you will be able to work with your synced files offline. However, you also need to pay close attention to what you back up and sync.

You don’t want to sync all as this will fill up your Google Drive storage and it defeats the purpose of having a cloud-based storage solution. If you have already downloaded the Google Drive desktop version, you can go into the advanced settings to control what you wish to sync and what you don’t.

Remember how much time you managed to save when you learned the shortcuts for copy and paste, or how to take a screenshot. Granted, it may have taken a few practice runs to jog the brain towards the right keys but now it’s probably second nature.

Google Drive shortcuts are the same. There are so many of them it is worth selecting those actions that you perform more frequently before trying to remember them all. You will soon be saving plenty of time!