I like to have things organized. How about you? First, an organized area looks better. Second, when your things are organized they are often easier to find. I like my tools to be organized. My wife likes our kitchen organized. My kids….well my kids are kids.
When organizing files in my Google Drive, I occasionally run into an issue. Sometimes a file makes sense to be in two or more folders. Though our physical stuff can’t be in two places at once, thanks to Google Drive, our files can.
That’s right, the same file, such as a Google Doc, can be in two or more folders at the same time!
I’m not talking about making a copy of a Google Doc. I mean putting the exact same file in multiple folders. If you update one file they all update. If you want to make different copies of a file check out my post Google Drive: Add To Drive vs Make A Copy.
There are many reasons why you may want to save a file in multiple folders within your Google Drive.
- Maybe you like having your Google Drive organized and it makes sense for certain files to be in multiple folders.
- Perhaps you share different folders with different groups of people and certain files should be available for both.
How To Save A Google Doc in Multiple Google Drive Folders
Let’s look at the process of saving a file in more than one folder. In this example we’ll put the same Google Doc in two different folders. This will be the exact same file in both folders, not a copy. So if you update the file, it will be updated in both folders.
Technically, no matter how many folders you put the file in, there is only one file. However, let’s not get hung up on the technical stuff.
Above you see two folders. One is called Awesome Training #1. The second is called Fantastic Training #2. Both are shared folders that users who attended each training can access.
I want to share a file called Google Drive Tips with the attendees. I want to make the file available in both folders.
Currently the file is located in the Awesome Training #1 folder. Here’s how to make it show up in the Fantastic Training #2 folder.
- Open Google Drive and browse to the location of the file.
- Highlight Google Drive Tips by clicking on it once.
- Press Shift + Z on your keyboard.
- A list of folders in your Google Drive will show up below the file name.
- Browse to the folder where you want to add the file. In our example the folder is called Fantastic Training #2.
- Click ADD.
Now, when you look in both folders you will see the file and anyone who has access to either folder can open the file. Remember, if you update the file, it updates in both folders because it is still the same file.
The file also takes on the rights of all of the folders it is in.
How To Save One Google Doc to Multiple Google Drive Folders #GoogleDrive Click To Tweet
Symbolic Linked Files in Team Drives
Currently you cannot use symbolic links within a Team Drive. I doubt you’ll ever be able to use a symbolic link to put a file in both a Team Drive and personal Drive due to issues like file ownership. Perhaps Google will eventually add the capability to use symbolic links within a single Team Drive.
Removing a Linked File from a Folder
This is where you can get into trouble. You DO NOT want to delete the file from any location or it will be deleted from all of its other locations. For example, if you right click on the Google Drive Tips file in the Awesome Training #1 and choose remove. it will also be removed from the Fantastic Training #2 folder. Not good!
If you want to move the link from a folder follow these steps.
- Find the file you want to change in any of its current folders. You could also search for it.
- Click on it one time to highlight it.
- Click the “i” on the right side of the screen.
- The right side of the screen will now show information about the file.
This includes the different places within your Google Drive that the file is located.
- You can see in the image above that the file is currently located in both the Awesome Training #1 and Fantastic Training #2 folders. To remove it from just one (or more) locations, click on the X next to the location you want to remove it from.
What’s The Next Question?
Did you see Back to The Future 1? Remember how Marty spent the whole movie trying to get back to the future only to return back to the past 30 seconds later which was only 30 seconds for Doc in the past but not for Marty from the future? Did it give you a headache? Did this sentence give you a headache?
If you answered yes to either of these, you may want to stop reading now.
We’ve already covered some mind blowing stuff in Google Drive, but I have a problem. After writing a tutorial I often ask myself “what’s the next question?” Somewhere, someone has read this whole post and thought “Yeah but what happens when….?”
Well this one’s for you!
What am I talking about? Well, it’s probably easier to explain using a scenario.
Here we go.
You have edit rights to the Awesome Training #1 and the Fantastic Training #2 folder.
Johnny has edit rights to the Awesome Training #1 folder, but does not have access to the Fantastic Training #2 folder.
Lisa has edit rights to the Fantastic Training #2 folder, but does not have access to the Awesome Training #1 folder.
Johnny decides the Google Drive Tips Doc does not need to be in the Awesome Training #1 folder and deletes it which removes his access to it.
What happens to the file for You and Lisa???
Lisa will never know this happened. She can only see the Fantastic Training #2 folder which contains the file.
Johnny did not have edit rights the Fantastic Training #2 folder, so his actions had no effect on it.
Since You can access both folder you’ll notice the file missing from the Awesome Training #1 folder, but see it in the Fantastic Training #2 folder.
Wasn’t that fun! 🙂 I hope you found this post useful. It opened up a lot of options for my Google Drive when I learned how to save a file in multiple Google Drive folders. Now that you can organize you files, check out how to see who is viewing them in my Google Activity Dashboard: See The View History Of Your Shared Google Docs, Sheets & Slides post.
Thanks for reading and sharing!