Google rolls out Drive shortcuts to simplify folder structure, sharing

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Last August, Google announced that it’s testing a new organization concept in Drive to cut down on the need for creating file copies. Drive shortcuts are now generally available for both personal Google and G Suite accounts.

Google Drive shortcuts let you create links or “pointers to content that can be stored in another folder or drive.” The original document remains under your control, stored where you like, and always up-to-date.

This new organizational method is catered toward shared drives — previously Team Drives — and helps cut down on making copies that don’t stay in sync. Google’s goal is to simplify Drive’s folder structure and sharing model.

For example, Paul, a marketing manager, creates a ‘Marketing Strategy’ document and shares it with the sales team. Greta, the sales manager, can now create a shortcut to the document in the ‘Sales’ shared drive, enabling everyone on the sales team to quickly and easily access the file.

Anybody can see a shortcut placed in a shared folder, but access requires that the regular sharing permissions be granted on the original file. Meanwhile, Google has changed the “Add to My Drive” option at the top of a Doc, Sheet, Slide, etc. to “Add shortcut to Drive.”

Furthermore, on September 30, it will no longer be possible to “place a file in multiple folders in My Drive, including via the Drive API” as every file will only “live in a single location.” On that deadline, Google will migrate all files in different Drive locations to shortcuts. More details for developers are available here.

Drive shortcuts are exiting beta today. It’s already available in the desktop Back up Sync (version 3.46+) and Drive File Stream (version 37.0+) clients. It’s beginning to gradually roll out to Android (2.20.10+), iOS (4.2020.08+), and the web client. It will be available by default to both G Suite and personal accounts.

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