How To Use Google Drive on a Chromebook

Google Drive is built in and integrated with the Files App on your Chromebook. This article explains how to use Google Drive on your Chromebook, and gives tips to make the best out of it.

Note: This is part of the Chromebook User Guide

Accessing Google Drive on Your Chromebook

Google Drive can be accessed in two ways on your Chromebook. The first one is the traditional method, opening a browser tab and navigating. When you use the web version of Google Drive, it is not different from using it on any other computer with Google Chrome installed.

Second method, the one which we will do all the talking about in this article is, accessing Google Drive rom the Files app built into Chrome OS.

You can open the Files app by clicking the folder icon on your app menu or launcher. The keyboard shortcut is ALT + SHIFT + M (this is the updated keyboard shortcut, as of today, on Dev channel)


Google Drive In Chrome OS Files App

Google drive is integrated as drive in Chrome OS, like D drive or E drive on your windows computer. You can create folders, and subfolders from here, and much more. Here is a list of tips and things!

  •  The files app shows Downloads and Google Drive. The expand icon (looks like a right arrow) will expand the Google Drive and list your folders on the sidebar.
  • Files can be sorted according to Name, Size, Type, Date Modified and Available offline status
  • The checkbox next to Name selects all files and folders in the current folder
  • The Available offline checkbox is used to make a file available offline
  • When you select a file or folder, a Delete button shows up on the bottom right corner. Alternatively, you can use Alt + Backspace combination to delete selected file/files
  • For Google Doc/Sheets files, additional Doc or Sheets icons are displayed along with the Delete button. This icon opens the file on Google Docs or Sheets in a new tab. This is available when you right click on a file too
  • You can right click a file or folder for the normal cut, copy, paste and delete operations
  • If you have multiple apps installed that can manage a particular file type (for example, images) right click gives you “open with” option, which lists other installed apps to choose from. Next tip tells you how to change the default app.
  • When you select a  file that has multiple apps available to handle it, the bottom right corner gives you “open” option, along with a drop down menu. If you click open, the file will be opened in the default app. To choose a different app, click the dropdown menu and pick the app of your choice. The last item in this dropdown menu is  “change default”. Click this to change the default app to use for that particular file type.
  • The thumbnails icon on the top right corner lets you view contents of your Google Drive as thumbnails. The list icon is next to that if you want to switch back
  • The settings (gear) icon gives you access to settings.
  • From the settings menu, you can open Google Drive in a new window. You can create a new folder from here as well. If you need a keyboard shortcut to create a new folder, it is Ctrl + E
  • The settings menu allows you to show or hide Google Docs files. You can disable sync via mobile networks as well, if you have a limited data plan.
  • Next things in the settings menu is the space left on your Google Drive. If you own a Chromebook and have redeemed the 100 GB free space offer, here is where you see the big number and appreciate it!
  • There are two more options (or rather links) in the setting menu, they are to buy more storage for Google Drive and to access the Google Drive website
  • If you hold the Ctrl key and click the settings icon, you get few additional options. This includes clearing the local cache and reloading.
  • You can drag and drop between your Google Drive folder and Downloads folder to upload and download contents. Downloads folder sits on the local disk of your Chromebook, and hence whatever you store there is available without an internet connection, but disappears when you format the device.
In Category: Chromebook


Dinsan made Google Chrome his default browser within hours of its release. He fell in love with Chromebooks from the day he first touched one and is currently obsessed with Chromecasts.

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