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 its shortcuts distributed across folders, then managing it will become a lot more peaceful task.
Assign one file to more than one folder 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:
- Select any file or folder. You can also choose multiple files or folders by pressing Ctrl in Windows or Command key in Mac.
- Now press ‘Shift+Z’ and you will see an ‘Add to folder’ pop-up.
- Select the folder where you wish to create the reference of the selected files and folders, then click OK.
- 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.
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.
How to properly delete these shortcuts
Just right click on the file/folder and select ‘View Details’ option. From the right sidebar details panel, chose Details tab and you can see the list of folders where the particular document is assigned. Click on the cross to remove from these reference folders.
Alternatively, it looks like Drive is using symbolic links of Unix to implement this feature. If you drag the shortcut file to the original folder, it should remove the link automatically. To view which one is the original, just right click on the file and select “View Details” option. It should show you the location of the original file.
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.