Google Apps

Upload and store documents and files with unlimited cloud storage space shared between Gmail and Google Drive.

What is Google Drive?

Google Drive is the space where you can store all your documents. Keep all your work in one place, view file formats even if you don’t have the software, and access your files from any device. When you change or delete a file stored in one of these locations, Drive makes the same change everywhere else so you do not have to.

The left-side menu lists the default spaces that come with Drive: ‘My Drive’, ‘Shared with Me’, ‘Recent’, ‘Starred’, etc. Think of these spaces as a way to categorize content in Drive.  Note: You cannot add a new space to this left-side menu. 

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My Drive

  • This is where you organize files; this is your personal Drive space
  • You can customize the folders and files in My Drive, making a structure that works for you
  • When you create a new Google Doc, Sheet, or other Google item, it will be auto-stored in My Drive
  • You can also upload any content you like. 


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Shared with Me

  • These are items that someone has invited you to collaborate on by granting you the ability to view or edit the document.
  • This is a running list of folders and files shared with you.
  • You can sort by various options under the ‘A-Z’ icon.  NOTE: we recommend keeping the default option of ‘Share Date’. This will show the most recent items shared with you at the top.
  • You cannot do any organization in this space such as creating folders
  • We recommend that people do not delete items from this space.  Deleting content from Shared with Me  will remove the folder and files shared by all collaborators; this means all others will lose access to this folder/file.  Consider this risk when you share a file with others.
  • You can take items from Shared with Me and put them in your My Drive label. Though this is done using the “Add to my Drive” action, the folder or file is not moved out of Shared with Me, but now belongs to an additional space of My Drive. Though the file now exists in both these spaces, it is still only 1 folder or 1 file. See below for more info on what the action Add to My Drive does.


  • Only shows documents that you have recently viewed, changed, or added.
  • This is a running list of folders and files that you have recently taken some action. You can sort by options under the ‘A-Z’ icon


  • This is a way to highlight folders or files important to you; think of it as a way to have a ‘favorites’ area in Drive.


  • Trash is not automatically emptied after a certain number of days.
  • Trash stays around until you clean it out by picking a folder and/or file and selecting the Delete Forever button.
  • Warning: deleting forever from Trash means that the folder or file cannot be retrieved; you cannot ‘un-do’ Delete Forever.

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What happens when I delete a folder/file that is shared with others?

This will remove the content from all collaborators not just your access. This will occur with content that you are collaborating with others no matter the space you delete this content from -  My Drive, Shared with Me, Recent, etc.

Our recommendation:

If you own the folder or file, do not delete it unless you are absolutely sure that no one else needs the content.
If you are a collaborator, don’t delete it.  If you feel it is no longer needed, contact the owner.

What does ‘Add to My Drive’ do?

  • If you are looking at folders or files in Shared with Me, one option you have is p2_add_to_my_drive_icon or ‘Add to Drive’.
  • By Adding to My Drive, you are putting this folder or file in your My Drive space.
  • This does *not* make a copy of the file.
  • The file exists in both your My Drive space and your Shared with Me space; it’s the same file, but it exists in 2 different spaces. It is similar to having multiple labels for an email message.
  • You can put a folder or file from Shared with Me in any folder or file within My Drive without impacting the folder or file location for any other collaborators. Reminder - My Drive is how you want to structure the content that you own and collaborate with others.


  • You get invited as a collaborator to a folder named ‘Project Serenity Team Meetings”.  The folder is in your Shared with Me space.
  • You can keep the file in Shared with Me or you can Add it to your My Drive space.
  • If you add it to your My Drive space, you can:
    • (a) place as a top-level folder in My Drive or
    • (b) place it inside another folder; a folder called “My Meetings”
  • Where you add the folder/file does not impact where this folder/file resides for any other collaborators of the “Project Serenity Team Meetings” folder.
  • Using Add to My Drive allows you to organize the item(s) in Shared with Me to meet your needs without affecting how others use it.
  • Be careful about which collaborators have access if you add it to an existing My Drive folder that has different collaborators

Reminder - deleting items in Shared with Me *does* impact all collaborators of that folder/file.

How to save attachments from Gmail to My Drive

  • Hover over, or place your cursor on, the attachment. A few icons appear that grant you options.
  • Click p2_add_to_my_drive_icon.
  • A menu will appear showing you your My Drive space. Find the location you want to save your file to and click the Move button.

Will I get notifications any time someone shares a folder or file with me?

The answer is - it depends.

  • If someone shares a folder with you, yes, you will get an email notification.
  • If someone shares a file with you, and that file does not exist within a folder that you are a collaborator of, then you will get an email notification.
  • If someone shares a file with you, and that file does exist within a folder that you are a collaborator of, then you will NOT get an email notification. This is because you already received a notification when you were invited to the folder; any subfolders or documents that are created within this shared folder are already considered “shared” with you so you will not get another email notification.

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Google Docs provides an online word processor that allows you to collaborate with others in real time, create and edit new documents, and convert existing Word documents into Google Docs. You can find more information on Google Docs here:

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Google Sheets provides an online spreadsheet spplication, allowing for online collaboration with others. You can import existing Excel documents into Google Sheets, as well as create and edit new Sheets easily. You can find more information on Google Sheets here:

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Google Slides provides an online presentation application, allowing you to import some Powerpoint documents into Google slides. Google Slides allows for editing a document simultaneously with others, as well as embedding your presentations directly to a website. You can find additional information on Google Slides here:

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Google Forms provides an online application to create questionnaires, surveys and more, all which can automatically collect responses into a Google Sheet. Like other Google services, you can use real-time collaboration with Google Forms, and create and edit new forms all from within Google Drive. You can find additional information on Google Forms here:

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Uploading New Versions of Non-Google Docs

When working with non-Google Drive such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, you can either (a) edit these files within Drive or (b) download, edit using the native application, and upload the file to Drive while avoiding duplicating the file upon upload.

To edit Office documents within Drive

  1. You must use the Chrome browser
  2. Add the Chrome Extension for Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, and Slides
    • Click this link and Click Add to Chrome
  3. When first added, you may need to exit, then open Chrome again
  4. We strongly recommend this approach for quick editing of non-Google docs
  5. Note: This is not recommended when doing complex work such as macros in the Office products. For complex work, it may be best to do that work within the native Word, Excel, or PowerPoint applications

Edit the Document outside of Drive

If you want to work on a document in an application outside of Drive (like opening a Word document within Word to make changes), you can download the file, edit it in the application (Word, Excel, Adobe, etc.), and then upload the file without duplicating the file.

In the past, this would result in duplicate files (the original and the new one), and it was difficult to find the latest version. Now, when you upload a file that has the same name as an existing file, Google Drive automatically deduplicates and merges the two documents. However, the old file is not deleted; it is saved in the revision history. Similarly, uploaded folders will be merged with folders of the same name. 

If you want to keep two files with the same name separate, you can still do so. Once you upload the new file to Google Drive, you can click the Keep as separate file link right under the name of the file. 

Keep As A Separate File

Drive will store previous file versions for non-Google docs for 30 days. If you want to keep a previous version(s) longer than 30 days, right-click on the file name and choose Manage Versions. Click on the 3 dots icon to the right of a previous version and select Keep Forever. This will keep that previous version forever. You need to do this for each previous version that you want to keep longer than 30 days. You do NOT need to do this for the current version of the non-Google doc as the current version will last forever (unless deleted)

You can manage versions of all types of docs like *.jpg, *.pdf, etc... Managing versions is not restricted to just Office-type documents

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Google Drive Permissions

Google Drive gives you the capability to limit the access you give collaborators when you share documents. Follow the chart below to determine what permissions best fit the way you want to share.

Google Drive Permissions

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Google Drive plug-in for Microsoft Office

For Windows machines only. With Google Drive you can keep all your important files in one place, then open them with your choice of apps and devices. Google is offering new ways to work together with Office files, using the Google Drive plug-in for Microsoft Office.

WIth the new Google Drive plug-in, people using Office for Windows can now open their Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents stored in Drive and then save any changes back to Drive once they are done.

See the link in the 'To Install' section below for the Windows system requirements for this app.

Note: we do not have an integration to Office 365

To install:

  1. Go to this link. Click the download button.
  2. This will download the *.exe file to your machine (for most, in the Downloads directory)
  3. Run the *.exe file

After the install is complete, you need to complete the setup by doing the following:

  1. Open any Office product. If you are already working in Word, for example, you need to Exit Word, then open Word again to complete the setup.
  2. Click the link to Open Other Documents (Word), Open Other Workbooks (Excel), or Open Other Presentations (PowerPoint).
  3. In the list of places to open your documents, Click Google Drive, then click the Sign In to Google Drive link button
  4. At the login screen, enter your as the username, leave the password field blank, and click the authorize button.
  5. You will be directed to Notre Dame's Central Authentication Screen
  6. Enter your Notre Dame NetID and password
  7. Once you authorize one Office product (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), you do not need to do this similar authorization step for the other Office apps. Once you authorize one Office app, the others will be automatically authorized for use with Google Drive.

For information on using the Google Drive for Microsoft Office plug-in, please see this link.

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