Google DocsTor‎ > ‎


Organizing information for one person on a computer is already a challenge. It is even more of a challenge for people sharing folders and documents in the cloud. There is actually a strong interaction between sharing and organizing data. For some insight, we refer you to share and organize principles sections. An important feature of Google Drive is that folders are not organized in a simple tree: the same document or folder may actually belong to several folders, instead of just one as in most computer file systems (that resort to the less elegant notion of shortcut). This turns out to be extremely useful, for sharing information in the cloud among several collaborators, and avoid redundancy.

Google Drive interface provides you with two powerful methods for organizing your documents or folders: Drag and drop, and Organize action. The idea is to let you add items (documents or folders) to some folders and eventually remove them from others.

Drag and Drop
This is an easy way of adding a single document or folder (visible in the contents area) into a target folder (visible in the contents or browsing area); this is convenient for local re-organization, which actually does not break existing organization: the item which is “moved” from where you see it (the selected folder) to a new target folder will continue to belong to previous folders (except for the selected one). What you see is what you do!

In the example below, we move factureFT201005pyg.pdf document from Test Sub selected folder to Confidential folder.
  1. Mouse over item to be moved until it highlights in yellow as factureFT201005pyg.pdf, and depress mouse button, without releasing it;
  2. Start moving the mouse: as soon as you drag the item, the Move 'factureFT201005pyg.pdf' text shows up and moves with the mouse; drag the item toward the Confidential folder in the contents area (as in this example) or, equivalently, in the browsing area.
As soon as you approach the target folder, Confidential in our example, it will highlight in grey as  Confidential  here: you can now release the mouse button and thus drop the item, factureFT201005pyg.pdf here, in the folder. This action will result in the desired result, as shown by the next screenshot.
  1. The item is now longer displayed in the contents area of the Test Sub selected folder, as it has moved to Confidential folder. This will be announced for a few seconds by a message highlighted in yellow:
    "factureFT2010pyg.pdf" has moved from "Test Sub" to "Confidential". Undo
  2. [Optional] You have a short time to undo the move, by clicking on the Undo link before the yellow message disappears.

Organize action
This is a more advanced method of reorganizing data, which can be simultaneously applied to several items visible in the contents area (by checking them), and allows you to remove those selected items from folders, and add them to other folders; it is a little dangerous as you can, rather easily, inadvertently remove items from all folders they belonged to, instead of just adding them to some selected folders: you have to be cautious!

The Organize action, which is pictured by a folder icon in the interface, and now qualified of Move To action by Google: we prefer the previous Organize appellation which more clearly indicates that you can move items “in and out”.

In the example below, we assume that we want to move Confidential folder and CVpyg.pdf document out of Test Sub (currently selected) folder and into both Important and Test folders.
  1. In the Contents area corresponding to Test Sub folder currently selected in the Browsing area, check the items to be moved: Confidential folder, and CVpyg.pdf document, they get highlighted in yellow;
  2. Click on the folder icon (a   Move to   legend shows up with the mouse over) to trigger the Move to popup window.
This Move to window lets you browse through folders by clicking on small triangles to open or close folders: here, we click on the small triangle next to Test folder in order to open it. By further opening Test Sub folder, we obtain the situation depicted in the next screenshot.
Observe that Test and Test Sub folders are open: Test Sub is already checked to show that both items we want to move (Confidential folder and CVpyg.pdf) currently belong to this folder; Test folder is half checked, indicating that one of the two items only (actually CVpyg.pdf) already belongs to Test, while the other (Confidential) does not. Since we want to move both items out of Test Sub, and into Test and Important folders, we need to inverse the “checked” status of these three folders:
  1. Do CMD-Click on a Mac (or CTRL-Click on a PC) to the left of Test, so as to check it;
  2. Do CMD-Click on a Mac (or CTRL-Click on a PC) to the left of Test Sub, in order to uncheck it;
  3. Do CMD-Click on a Mac (or CTRL-Click on a PC) to the left of Important, so as to check it.
It is important to use CMD-Click on a Mac or CTRL-Click on a PC; doing a simple click would only check one folder, and uncheck all other folders (including those you cannot see <is this true?>).
Only the target folders (Test and Important) are checked; the Test Sub folder is unchecked. Therefore, both items (Confidential folder and CVpyg.pdf document) will move out of Test Sub folder, and go into Test and Important folders, as a result of clicking on the   Move   button. You can click on the   Cancel   button if you wish to cancel the whole operation.
Observe that as a result of the Organize action, both items (Confidential folder and CPpyg.pdf document) no longer show up in Test Sub Contents area; a yellow message confirms the result of the action; you still have the opportunity to cancel the move by clicking on the Undo link.

Sous-pages (1) : principles