How to organize and name folders and files in Google Drive

Learn five best practices for storing and naming files and folders in Google Drive.

Google Drive logo (center, bottom), with three icons of folders at varying angles arced (above it to the left), and three icons of a document (arced above it to the right)

Illustration: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

When your organization transitions to Google Drive for storage, you have the opportunity to make changes to legacy storage structure and file naming practices. If you simply move your folders and files from a local server to Google Drive, your organization and team are missing the chance to have a useful conversation about how people work on documents as a team.

SEE: G Suite: Tips and tricks for business professionals (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Talk through each of these five best practices with your team as you move to Google Drive. Identify a person for each of your organization’s key areas to work with colleagues to move items to Google Drive. A better structure makes it easier for team members to find files as they navigate folders, while better names help people find files in Google Drive search results.

1. Different people? Different shared drive

In general, create a new shared drive when you identify that a different group of people need to share files. When the same set of people start to work together on a different project, consider a new folder within the same shared drive. This helps minimize the number of shared drives that people who work together need to review to find a file.

2. Structure: Folders and files

  • Seek to balance the number of folders and files. Almost no one wants to click (or tap) through a long sequence of folders nested in other folders. And almost no one wants to browse an extremely long list of files. 
  • Avoid the extremes. Some people create a new folder when file lists require more than a single screen to display; however, long lists of files may make sense when you have a folder filled with many similar items, such as images.
  • Talk things over among your team to determine how to group…