Our MyMTSD Google system contains many handy apps and features.  One of these helpful things is a shared folder that is similar to the L-Drive on our file server.  You can click on this link to access the shared "L-Drive" Faculty-Staff folder on Google.

When using this or any other shared Google Drive folder, here are some helpful hints and tips:

A) Navigating Through Shared Folders

To access shared folder, you must be logged in with your MyMTSD account. If you are logged in but unable to access the folder, please let IT know.

When you are navigating your Google Drive, there are a few key places to look.  Underneath the blue "NEW" button are a list of folders and collections where you can find your files.  

  1. "My Drive" are those files that you have created and imported.
  2. "Shared with me" are those files that are owned by others but shared directly with you.
  3. "Recent" is the most recent docs you have worked on.
  4. "Google Photos" are your images that you have uploaded to the Google Photos service.
  5. "Starred" is the bookmark system, which we'll discuss later.
  6. And "Trash" are your recently deleted items.  The Trash is periodically cleaned out by the system.

When you navigate through Google Drive, the path of folders that you have navigated through appears along the top row, across from the NEW button.  You can use these folder names as buttons, and click on the folder name to go back through the hierarchy quickly.  You can also click on the small triangle that appears on the right side of the folder name when you hover your mouse on it.  This will bring down a menu of advanced options.

B) Bookmarking Shared Folders For Easy Access

Many of us are familiar with going to the link "Shared With Me" under the "My Drive" link on the left-hand navigation menu of Google Docs.  This is handy for finding individual documents that have been shared with us, but isn't so helpful for finding old items, or items that were shared through a group, such as the Faculty Shared folder.  

Further down below Shared With Me, you'll see another item called "Starred".  This is the equivalent of a bookmark on your favorite files and folders.  When you have a myriad of files in your Drive, this is a great feature to keep your most-used items front and center.  It's also the perfect place to 'bookmark' the Faculty Shared and other folders you may use.  

When you get to your shared folder, you'll want to bookmark this folder for easily locating it in the future. Click on the name of the folder at the top of the screen, and from the drop-down that appears, select "Add Star".

Once you "star" an item, you can find it again by clicking on "Starred" on your Google Drive.

C) Add to My Drive (** Do not use! **)

Another feature on Google Drive, which we urge you to avoid, is called "Add to My Drive".  It seems like this would also be another great way to 'bookmark' items and make them easier to find.  What does this feature do?

"Add to My Drive" embeds the shared folder into your personal Drive.  This means that ALL of the contents of the folder contribute to the size of your own Drive account, which is a particular problem if you use the Google Drive Sync app on your computer.  Additionally, if you delete the items in this folder thinking that it is a copy, you are actually deleting the real items, which is a real problem.

Because of the vaguely defined nature of "Add to My Drive", we recommend you do NOT use this feature unless you truly understand how it works. Instead, please use the Starred system to bookmark and quickly access files and folders that are shared with you.

D) Templates and Copies

Prior to the summer of 2016, Google had a Template Gallery whereby you could browse your organization's templates and create new docs from these files.  However, over the summer this system was phased out.  The way we create templates now is to have a Google Doc set up with permissions such that anyone can view the file, but no one except the owner can edit them.  There are a couple of ways to copy these templates, but the most straight-forward is to open the template file and make a copy.  To do this:

  1. Locate the template file and open it.
  2. On the Google Docs File menu, select "Make a copy"
  3. In the "Copy document" window that appears, give a name to your new copy.
  4. Next, click on the folder name to tell Google where to put your new copy.  Click on the folder names and navigation arrows to move through the folder system.  Click the blue "Select" button when you are in the folder where you want your new copy to live.

  5. Click the blue OK button when the 'Copy document' window looks correct.
  6. Your new document copy will then open up in a new tab for you to edit and make changes.  You can close the template document.

E) Searching

The search bar at the top of your Google Drive window is a really excellent tool for trying to locate a file in the "My Drive" or "Shared with me" locations.  When you type a search term in the box, it will pull in documents that have that term either in the title or within the document body.  Although this deep search is very useful, it does mean that a search will likely return a great many results.

To narrow this down a bit, when you're typing in the Search box you'll notice a small triangle appears on the right-hand end of the search box.  Clicking the triangle will open a long list of parameters that you can use to narrow down your results to make them more relevant.