7 of the Best Google Drive Features You Should Be Using Right Now

Google Drive logo

Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) is an amazing suite of applications offered for free from Google. These apps, paired with free online storage, often offer more functionality than suites like Microsoft Office or Mac apps like Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.

What’s more, there are so many features in Google Drive that many of them go unnoticed by even the most loyal users. These “hidden” features let you do things with Google Drive you never knew you could, and can help you work better and smarter.

Check out the seven best Google Drive features below and let us know in the comments if you have a favorite tip or feature that we missed.

1. Attach Files to Gmail Messages via Google Drive

As long as you use the same email address for both Gmail and Google Drive, you can send files stored in Google Drive without having to re-upload them.

To attach files using Google Drive, just start a new Gmail message in the Web interface, and in the Compose window click on the Google Drive icon.

Gmail compose window with option to insert file from Google Drive highlighted

You should see the attachment window appear. Just make sure the Google Drive option is selected and choose your file.

Google Drive email attachment window

SEE ALSO: 6 Things to Do When Your Email Gets Hacked

2. Keyboard Shortcuts, Ahoy!

Everyone loves a good keyboard shortcut, but there are so many that sometimes you don’t even know they exist, and trying to find them can be a real pain.

Just like every other good service out there, Google Drive uses a variety of keyboard shortcuts to help you speed through your work.

To view available keyboard shortcuts while inside of Google Drive, hit Ctrl + ? in Windows, or Command + ? on the Mac. This will bring up the keyboard shortcut list.

You can also access all the available shortcuts from Google’s help documentation.
Google Drive keyboard shortcuts window

3. Collect Data Easily With Forms

Forms in Google Drive are a great way to collect data quickly and easily. Forms can be shared via a link, embedded into Web pages, and emailed to specific users. Best of all, you can save all data captured in a Google Drive form to a Google spreadsheet, which is much easier than having people email you information or answers.

To set up a form, just log in to your Google Drive account and click the Create button. Then click Form.

Create drop-down menu in Google Drive

You can choose a theme for your form and then create fields that you want users to complete. Enter the questions and answers for your form and click Done when finished.

Filling out Google Drive form

Next, click on Choose response destination to set up where you want the form’s responses to show up.

Selecting Choose response destination for Google Drive form

When you’re all done, click Send form. This will give you the ability to email the form to people as well as get the embed link for social media and website embedding.

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RELATED: How to Import Events into Google Calendar

4. Save Website Images to Google Drive

If you routinely save images or screen captures of Web pages, there’s a Google Chrome plug-in that can save images directly to Google Drive.

This means you can be on any computer and, as long as you have the plug-in installed, you can save your images to Google Drive without downloading them first. (Technically, viewing the image in your browser is downloading them, but you know what we mean.)

Save to Google Drive Chrome plug-in page

Download the browser extension here but make sure you’re signed in to the Google account you want linked to the plug-in as your primary sign-in site, as it will automatically link to it.

Now all you have to do is right-click on an image and select Save to Google Drive. You can also click the shortcut button in the Chrome toolbar to save an entire page at once.

Selecting to save an image to Google Drive

5. Up Your Storage for Next to Nothing

Everyone knows you should back up your data, but few people do. Worst yet, most people think they’re safe if they back up to an external drive, even though that drive sits next to the computer it’s backing up. A thief or a water “incident” could wipe out everything at once.

Google Drive paid storage options

Luckily, Google Drive slashed prices of their upgraded storage plans.

Now, you can have 100 GB of online storage with Google for only $2 per month. You can step up to 1 TB (yep, one whole terabyte) for only $10 per month. At these prices, it only makes sense to back up everything you have online. This way, you can keep your files safe for a lot less than with other backup services.

(No, we’re not a shill for Google. We just think this is a great deal.)

6. Stream Music From Google Drive

Since you probably signed up for at least the 100 GB plan, you need something to fill up all that extra space. Google has you covered. You can save music to Google Drive and stream it to your browser with the DriveTunes plug-in.

Unlike Google Play Music, this allows you to back up your MP3 files to Google Drive while being able to stream them in any Chrome browser that has the plug-in installed.

Google DriveTunes plug-in page

Set your iTunes library folder to a folder in Google Drive and you’re all set. No iTunes Match subscription necessary.

7. Make Use of Revision History

We’ve all been there. You delete content from inside a file, save the file, and later realize you did it by mistake. Now Ctrl + Z (or Command + Z) won’t work and you’re hopelessly lost.

Fear not. With Google Drive Revision History this doesn’t have to happen again.

All you have to do is open a file from the Google Drive Web interface and hit Ctrl + Alt + G in Windows or Command + Alt + Shift + G on a Mac.

This will bring up the Revision History sidebar, where you can see all revisions and easily go back to an earlier version.

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