Create Shortcut for a Google Drive File at Multiple Folders

Google Drive One File Multiple Folders

Google drive is the gateway tool to store, access and share files, photos and much more on the go. Working with docs and spreadsheets becomes easy and handy in your mobile devices itself, not binding you in the limits of your office and computer. However, at times working with so many documents and different folders may become difficult and confusing, especially when you have to deal with multiple people on multiple documents.

Suppose you have a file that you share with multiple people at multiple folders in your drive. And there comes a need to frequently access the most updated version of that file. Only if we have one master version of the file and it’s shortcuts distributed across folders, then managing it will become a lot more peaceful task.

Creating a Shortcut Link to a File in Google Drive

An unknown feature of Google Drive lets you add a file to multiple folder locations but only symbolically. The master file will remain at a specific folder where its shortcut links can be made to other folders.

This obviously isn’t copying, but this is maintaining files at different locations without duplicating it. This comes very handy when you have updated one copy of it and all the instances of it get updated.

Here’s how can create shortcut or multiple instances of the same file:

  1. Select any file or folder. You can also choose multiple files or folders by pressing Ctrl in Windows or Command key in Mac.
  2. Now press ‘Shift+Z’ and you will see an ‘Add to folder’ pop-up.
  3. Select the folder where you wish to create the reference of the selected files and folders, then click OK.
  4. Done!! You’ve neither copied nor moved files to that folder; you’ve just created a link to the file.

To verify this method, right-click on the file and select Get Link. Now go to copied location and get the link of that file too. Both the links will be same, indicating the file is same but just present at different locations.

Add to Window in Google Drive

This feature is also useful when you have to create a copy of a folder but want to preserve space. Instead of duplicating it, you can create a reference copy with Shift+Z anytime.

Remember that these reference files share the same link, hence deleting one will reflect in removal from other shared locations too.

For some reason, Google has not included this option in right click context menu. Perhaps it does not want users to get confused between this hidden ‘Add To’ option and ‘Create a Copy’ or ‘Move To’ option. But you can surely enjoy this neat trick anytime with just Shift+Z.

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Filed under Google Drive Tricks. Posted by Abhishek on 6th November 2015.

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Will the changes made in these shortcuts will be seen in other files?

Also, it is only for documents or can I use for any media file too?

    Yes, the changes made to one location will be reflected in another location. To verify, you can see the link of both the files are same, they are just shown in different folders.

    I suppose it works for all types of files.

Thank you sooooo much this was exactly what I was looking for, what a sneaky lil trick!

– Signed, a High school teacher happy to be able to organize her folders without duplicating files

Great feature! But my only complaint is after you do this there is nothing visually to indicate this folder is now duplicated elsewhere. In Windows, the shortcut itself and folder shortcutted to are marked to look slightly different than ‘regular’ folders. This would help for me as I have a lot of things going on in my Google Drive and may not remember in the future exactly how I created these folder duplications, which could cause confusion. Hope they add this feature at some point!

    Your concern is valid Dan. However, in Windows we have one master file and other are shortcuts which are represented by small arrow icon. Here, in Google Drive, there is no master file or shortcut/duplicate files. If you notice, its the same URL of the file in different folders. So, no matter from where you open, its always master. And since, all files are master, visually it will have same icon in different folder.

    It could get little confusing, but that’s how Google Dive is.

Thank you! Very helpful.

The only way I’ve found to undo this is to drag the folder (haven’t tested it with individual files) to the original location.

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