This is Day 16 in the 31 Days to Become a More Efficient Virtual Assistant Series

Previous post: How Virtual Assistants Can Be Reliable and Proactive

The video below is a visual guide to explaining the seven tips outlined below.

Cloud Computing ConceptNote: At one time Google Drive was called Google Docs. A lot of early adopters still refer to it as Google Docs. Be aware that both phrases are often used interchangeably.

Cloud document collaboration and storage has become increasingly popular and it enables virtual assistants to work with clients more efficiently and seamlessly. However, finding things in Google Drive can be somewhat difficult and their search function is not as robust as it could be.

  • Set up folders and sub-folders: You have the ability to create folders and sub-folders within Google Drive. Things will be much tidier. If you’re a highly visual person you will benefit by changing the color of the folders from the drab, default gray color to one of the more vivid and colorful options.
  • How to find documents that have been shared with you: By default, any time a file is shared with you, it goes to the “Shared with Me” folder. You have the ability to move these documents into any folder you desire.
  • Use “Starred” for frequently accessed folders or files: If you have files you frequently access, make them even easier to find by “starring” them. All starred documents can be easily accessed from the “Starred” menu areas on the left side.
  • Share folders, not individual documents: In my opinion this is one of those “little known secrets” about Google Drive. It’s much easier to share a folder with someone vs. sharing multiple individual documents. There are several benefits to this: Share the folder once and any time new documents are added to the folder, by default, anyone with access to the folder now has access to the new files. The other side of this is that when someone is no longer with your organization it’s much easier to remove them from a folder than to remember each individual document that may have been shared with them.
  • Real-Time, live collaboration vs. document uploads: If you want to have documents that can be edited in real-time by multiple users you’ll want to create a new document in Google Drive. More on this in tomorrow’s post.
  • Google Forms: They are OK. There are much better options available, such as JotForm, which I will talk about in a later blog post in this series.
  • Download Spreadsheets into Excel: You can download any Google Spreadsheet into Excel. NOTE: Be aware that some formatting changes can happen when downloading into Excel.

A Special Tip for Google Apps Users: If you use Google Apps encourage (or require) your users to create all documents with their user specific Google Drive account. That way when they leave the company it’s easy to change the ownership of the document to someone else in your organization, rather than having it tied to someone’s personal account. (Unfortunately documents tied to a personal account cannot have the ownership transferred to someone in the Google Apps Organization.)

What tips did you learn from this post? What are some of your other favorite tips for utilizing Google Drive?