For several years, Microsoft Office was the answer to creating, editing and managing different files on our computers. When Google Docs launched in 2006, many people saw it just as a curiosity, but time passed and many more features have been added.

Nowadays, 120 millions of people are using Google Drive – which also integrates the Google Docs services – and many of them are slowly giving up on Microsoft Office. There are many advantages to using Google Drive: you can save the files on a cloud to avoid losing them, it’s easier to edit and port them in different format types, and you can allow others to work on the same document as you do. And the best part of this service is the price, of course: free.

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However, when it comes to completely forgetting about Microsoft Office, many of us still find it difficult to stop using it. It’s a matter of routine, plus there are many features available on Google Drive that some of us do not know how to use. In order to make it easier for all of you, and be able to totally switch to Google, we put together a couple of tips and tricks for you.

How do I upload a file?

The main aspect before we get started is to know how to upload a file. We always have our documents saved into folders in our computers, but how do we transfer them on to Google Drive? It’s easy – you simply locate the file on the PC then drag and drop it in the Google Drive folder on the Desktop.

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Once transferred, the file will automatically appear on Google Drive where you can edit it or share it with others. If you’d rather use a shortcut, you can alternatively drag and drop the file into the Google Drive folder that can be found in Windows.

Another way of doing the same thing is by going to the official website and search for the upper-oriented arrow on the left side of the screen. Once you place your cursor on the tab, you should see the word “Upload” which indicated that you can easily upload any file by clicking the button. This way, you will be given the option to choose a document from your computer – this one will automatically be placed on Google Drive for you afterwards.

How can I upload a folder?

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Sometimes you may have various files to work on, and instead of uploading each one of them separately, you may prefer to transfer them all at once. This can be done by copying and entire folder from your computer. To do so, you will have to locate the folder and drag it in a similar way to the Google Drive icon you have on your Desktop.

The same as before, you can also upload the folder directly on the website. By visiting Google Drive, you can click on the same arrow on the upper left side of the screen and scroll down to choose the “folder option”. Whenever uploading on the web, you can choose between a “file” and a “folder”. This one will be available on your drive right after the upload is complete.

Creating a document or folder

In case you don’t already have the necessary file on your computer, you might want to create it directly on Google Drive. To do this, you have to click the Create button next to the arrow tab on the left side of the screen. This one will bring you to a variety of options – you can choose whether you want to create a Word document, an Excel one, etc.

Similarly, you can also create a folder that will store all the files you worked on before. These can be files that you’ve uploaded from your PC, as well as documents you created and saved on Google Drive. If you prefer you manage your folders directly on Drive, instead of uploading a folder as shown in the step before, you can also upload or create your files individually, and then organize them into a folder that will only be available on the web.

Opening my files

If you ever want to open a file you created there’s no need to always go to the website itself. You can simply open the Google Drive folder and select the desired document from over there. Once you double click on the file, it will be opened in a new browser window.

This one will enable you to do everything you previously did using Microsoft Office – edit the file, add more text, insert images, as well as equations and symbols, download it or print the document as you wish.

Creating different types of files

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If you want to play with the different options from Drive, you maybe want to explore creating a mind map or a table, as well as many others. Simply go to the main page – your drive available on Google – and scroll down to More, located under the Create button and Arrow for uploading.

This will open the available options to the right, where you can choose between Table, Mind Map, Pixlr Editor, SlideRocket, and so on. You can also install a few  of the apps that work with Drive – this way you will be allowed to create many other possible files.

Editing documents as in Microsoft Office

Thanks to Google Drive, you can open and edit a wide variety of documents at the same time without much hassle. Whether it’s a Word Document, a PDF, or some other type of text, you can work on all files at the same time.

To edit your files, you have to open them online and the same buttons as in Microsoft Office will be available on the top of the page. You will have the option of inserting tables, pictures, changing the style and size of your writing just the same as you did before. There is no need to adapt to new terminologies or buttons, as everything stays the same as in Microsoft.

If you’re working offline, you will also be able to open and view the files, but unless you previously saved them on your computer as well, you won’t be able to edit anything. The documents that can only be seen in the Google Drive folder will be available in preview mode.

Saving my files from Google Drive

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If you worked on a file on Google Drive and would like to transfer it back to your computer, you can simply copy the document from your Google Drive folder and paste it anywhere else on the PC. Alternatively, you can also save the files on external drives or a USB stick.

In a similar way, you may sometimes want to save a .doc file as a .pdf – instead of wasting your time to change the format using a special app you can do this directly on Drive. To do so, you will open the file on Google Drive and going to File, scroll down to select Download As and go through the available options. You will then be able to choose from Microsoft Word, OpenDocument, Rich Text Format, PDF Document, Plain Text, and even Web Page.


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Feature Writer

Alex holds an engineering degree in Telecommunications and has been covering technology as a writer since 2009. Customization is his middle name and he doesn’t like to own stock model gadgets. When he’s away from the keyboard, simpler things like hiking, mountain climbing and having a cold drink make his day.