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In this series on productivity, author Jess Stratton takes you through the latest tools that will help you run your business and life more efficiently. Each installment covers a particular feature or technique in a different online tool, such as Google Apps, Skype, YouTube, Mint.com, Etsy, and more. Check back every Monday for tips on topics from recording and publishing video chats to managing your finances online.
- I'm Jess Stratton. For this week's Monday Productivity Pointer I'm going to give you an overview of how you can transition to the cloud-based document and file storage system, Google Apps. You might want to do this so that you have redundancy and backup for your files, because Google Drive can hold any type of file, but you can also create things like word processing documents and spreadsheets using Google Docs and share them with others, as well as collaborate on them simultaneously. If you do want to see this in action, I actually have a course here on Google Drive.
If you've made the decision to start using cloud storage, there's a few ways you can make life easier for you during the transition and while you're using it. The first thing you need to check is how much file space is available to you in Google Drive, and then after that, how much data you have on your own computer that you want to bring over. That's the first thing that you want to establish. Now, I went to drive.google.com, and as you can see, I already have some folders here. If you just started using it, this whole area in the middle here would be completely blank.
Down in the very bottom left-hand side of the screen, I can see that I've used almost 8 gigabytes of data out of a potential 30 gigabytes of space that I have. If you didn't have anything on your drive, it would say zero gigabytes out of 30 used. So, now you know that you have 30 gigabytes of space that you can use to store files. After that, let's find out how much the things that you want to move over take up on your computer. So, I'm on a Mac, so I'm going to go down to Finder.
If you're in Windows, you can open up Explorer. So, let's find out. Here's a folder that I want to bring over to Google Drive. I'm going to right-click on it and choose get info. If you're a Windows user, you'll right click on it and choose properties. I can see that this folder takes up just about 60 megs. So, it's totally fine. I've got plenty of room for this. In fact, I could easily bring over my entire documents folder, if I wanted to. What about my downloads folder? I'm going to right-click and choose get info.
I can see how much that entire folder is. This one's only 610 megabytes, so there's plenty of room. It's very easy to see how much data you want to bring over and how much room you have. The best and easiest way to get started migrating, once you've established what you can bring over, is to download the desktop app and then simply copy and paste your documents in. I'm going to go back to Google Drive for a second, because on the left-hand side there's a link to install Drive for your computer.
So, I've already done that. I've downloaded the Google Drive onto my desktop. So, I'm going to open Finder back up again. Once you download the Google Drive desktop app, it gives you a folder, right here in your favorites bar. You can access this folder, and it's going to sync every single thing that you have with your Google Drive folder on the web, and it gives you a tray icon up here. You can pause it. You can sign out, and you can sign in as a different Google user. You can also see right here how much storage space you're currently using up at any time.
So, now that we've done that, the easiest way to start migrating your data is to simply copy and paste it. I'm going to go back to documents. Now, I could simply select all, do a file copy, and then come over to Google Drive and do a file paste. I'm going to choose just one folder, so that it goes a little bit more quickly. I'll choose one folder and select copy, and then I'll go right into Google Drive and paste it in.
It pastes it in, and I can see, on the top right-hand side, that it's currently syncing. It's syncing everything that was in there. Now, you'll see the sync going on. It's perfectly okay, if you have lots of documents. This is fine. This is a migration, so just let your desktop computer sit, powered on overnight, or even a few nights, depending on your wi-fi or internet speed. It could take some time. You can keep working in the background and just forget about it. So, it's a simple copy and paste to get everything up there.
It's still going, and I can see everything syncing, one at a time. The green check box means that it's synced, and all I've simply done at this point is just moved it from documents to Google Drive. It's just about done, so let's go back to the web. Now, I accidentally put it in the wrong folder. I put it in the blog section, but that's okay. Here it is. It's the new kinetECO assets folder that I've just pasted. So, once your documents have been copied over and synced to the cloud, the tricky part is going to be remembering to put all your files here, but you can make it easier on yourself.
You can change the default save location to that desktop cloud drive folder, so that you don't have to paste documents in there regularly. For example, if you're taking a Word document and saving it in your documents folder, the only way it's going to be backed up and on the cloud and available to you is if you've somehow managed to either upload it from the web or pasted it into that Google Drive folder, but I'm going to show you another way. Let's change the default save location in Microsoft Word.
I'll select Word, choose preferences, click file locations, and I'm going to change the default file location for documents. I'll select documents and choose modify, and now I'm going to select my Google Drive folder. I'll click choose, click okay, and now, whenever I select file save as, it's going to automatically default to my Google Drive, which will then trigger a sync online, and my documents will always be backed up automatically.
Now, while we're on the subject of Microsoft Office, a common misconception of using Google Drive or Google Docs is that you have to stop using the traditional desktop version of Microsoft Office. Not at all. You don't have to use Google Docs exclusively. In fact, the two work very well together, as Google Drive can even store office documents and will let you preview them right in Drive. I know I'm jumping around a bit, but I'm going to minimize and go back to Google Drive. I'm going to click back in this new folder, that we recently uploaded, and this is actually a Word document.
If I click on it in Google Drive, I'm going to get to see a preview of it, and I can actually do this right in Google Drive. So, it does work very well with Microsoft Word documents, however, a major difference is that Google Docs don't count towards your storage limit. So, this number is unaffected by the amount of Google Docs that you have in your drive. You can use that space for other file storage. If you like using Google Docs, and you want to free up some storage space, you can convert your existing office docs to Google Drive format.
To do that, you can right click on your Word document in Google Drive, select open with, and choose Google Docs. This is going to make a copy and convert that document into a Google Docs. Now you can see that you can start editing and collaborating on it with other people. You can share it out and use it and use any feature that you can in Google Drive. I'm going to close out of this document and come back. Now you can see that there's two copies of it.
One's a Google Doc, and the other one is still the Word document. Let's see how this looks in Finder. I'm sure it's synced by now, so I'm going to minimize this once again and go back to Finder. I'll click on Google Drive. I'll click in my blogs folder. Here's my kinetECO assets, and here's my two files. My Word document is still untouched, safesurfingarticle.docx, and, in fact, if I wanted to free up storage space, knowing that Google Docs don't take up any room, I could simply delete this document.
Here's my Google Doc. It's the same one, except it has a file extension of gdoc, and I can also tell that they used two different icons here. Now if I double-click on this one, it's going to open up Word, however, if I double-click on this one, it's going to open with a file in a browser. So, one final thought on migrating to Google Drive and Google Docs. You don't have to keep all your eggs in one basket. Out of all the cloud storage sites out there, like Amazon Cloud Drive, Dropbox, Box, or Microsoft OneDrive, et cetera, you can sign up for and use any of these concurrently, and, in fact, you could keep documents in one service and photos in another or home business documents in one and your personal computer files in another service.
Most of these cloud services also have tablet and desktop apps, so the process will be exactly the same. You can download the desktop app and migrate over. In fact, here you can see I have OneDrive also. It works the same way. I can even copy and paste documents back and forth between cloud services and let them sync.
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