How to create, delete, and move files and folders in Google Drive

Updated: 06/06/2021 by Computer Hope
Google Drive logo

Google provides its users with 15 GB of free cloud storage for their various files and folders via Google Drive. Additionally, Google Drive includes many free software programs such as Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. This page shows you how to create, delete, and organize the files utilized by these programs and those you have uploaded from another source. To proceed, choose an option from the list below and follow the steps.

How to create a document

Create a blank document

  1. Open Google Drive. If prompted, log in to your Google account.
  2. In the upper-left corner of the window, click the New button in Google Drive. button.
  3. In the drop-down menu, move your mouse cursor over the arrow next to the program where you want to create a document.

List of Google Drive programs.

  1. Choose Blank document from the box that appears.

Create a blank document in Google Drive.

Create a document using a template

  1. Complete steps 1-3 in the previous section.
  2. Choose From a template instead of Blank document.

Create a document in Google Drive using a template.

  1. Select a template from the window that appears.
Tip

Your newly-created document may be accessed in the My Drive section (first tab in the left menu).

My Drive selector in Google Drive.

How to create a folder

  1. Open Google Drive. If prompted, log in to your Google account.
  2. In the upper-left corner of the window, click the New button in Google Drive. button.
  3. From the drop-down menu that appears, select Folder.

Making a new folder in Google Drive.

  1. In the prompt that appears, type a name for your folder (A) and click the Create button (B).

Creating and naming a new folder in Google Drive.

  1. Your newly-created folder is shown on the My Drive page.

New folder in Google Drive.

How to delete a file or folder

This section contains information on how to delete any file or folder you've created in or uploaded to Google Drive, including pictures, movies, and music.

Tip

You can select multiple items to move at the same time. For help with selecting multiple items, see: How to select or highlight multiple files and folders.

  1. Open Google Drive. If prompted, log in to your Google account.
  2. Ensure the My Drive tab is selected in the left menu.

Selector for My Drive in Google Chrome.

Note

If the item you're looking to delete isn't on the front page of My Drive, you need to open the folder where it is nested.

  1. Locate the file or folder you want to delete and right-click it.
  2. Select Remove icon in Google Drive. from the drop-down menu that appears.

How to copy files and folders

The following sections show you how to create a copy of files and folders.

Copy a file

  1. Open Google Drive. If prompted, log in to your Google account.
  2. Ensure the My Drive tab is selected in the left menu.

Selector for My Drive in Google Chrome.

  1. Locate the file you want to copy and right-click it.
  2. Select Copy icon in Google Drive from the drop-down menu that appears.
  3. A copy of the file, with a "Copy of" file name prefix, is created in the same folder where the original file is located.

Copy of file on Google Drive

Tip

After creating a copy of a file, you can move the file to another folder, if desired.

Copy a folder

Google Drive does not allow you to quickly make a copy of a folder and its contents. Instead, you need to make a copy of the files in a folder and move those copied file to a new folder.

  1. Open Google Drive. If prompted, log in to your Google account.
  2. Ensure the My Drive tab is selected in the left menu.

Selector for My Drive in Google Chrome.

  1. Locate the folder you want to copy, and double-click the folder to view its contents.
  2. Press Ctrl+A to select all files in the folder. On a Mac computer, press Command+A to select all files.
  3. Right-click any of the selected files and select Copy icon in Google Drive from the drop-down menu that appears.
  4. A copy of each file is created in the same folder, denoted with a "Copy of" prefix in the file name.

Copy folder - copy of files on Google Drive

  1. Select the copied files, and then right-click any of the selected files.
  2. Select Move to icon in Google Drive. from the drop-down menu that appears.
  3. At the top-left corner of the small window that opens, click the arrow pointing to the left to get back to the root "My Drive" directory.

Go to root My Drive directory on Google Drive

  1. In the same window, now at the My Drive root directory, if the folder containing the copied files is selected, click that folder to deselect it.
  2. At the bottom-left corner of the same window, click the folder icon with a "+" symbol in it.

Move copied files on Google Drive to new folder

  1. Enter a name for the new folder, then click the checkmark button to the right of the folder name.

Name new folder to move files to on Google Drive

  1. In the small window, confirm the name of your new folder is displayed at the top. Click the MOVE HERE button to move the copied files to the new folder.

Move files to a new folder on Google Drive

How to move and organize files and folders

The following steps show you how to move files and folders into other folders so you may keep things organized. There are two methods depending on your needs or preferences.

Tip

You can select multiple items to move at the same time. For help with selecting multiple items, see: How to select or highlight multiple files and folders.

Drag and drop

In most cases, this is the quickest and most simple way to move items.

  1. Sign in to your Google account and open Google Drive.
  2. Navigate to the folder or file you want to move.
  3. Drag and drop the desired item into the folder of your choice.

Files and folders being dragged and dropped in Google Drive.

  1. Double-click the folder to see your newly added items (Computer Hope in this case).

Add using menus

Drag and drop works well in most instances, but there are times when using menus can be beneficial. For instance, adding a file to a folder that is inside of another folder.

  1. Open Google Drive. If prompted, log in to your Google account.
  2. Navigate to the folder or file you want to move.
  3. Right-click the file or folder and select Move to icon in Google Drive. from the drop-down menu that appears.
Note

The Move menu defaults the current location of the folder, use the back arrow or click other folders to find your desired location. In this case, we are moving the Random/Other folder back out to its original position next to the Computer Hope folder in the My Drive section.

  1. Click the back arrow to return to My Drive (Step 1), and then click the Move Here icon (Step 2).

Moving a folder in Google Drive.

  1. You should see your item in its new destination.

How to rename files and folders

  1. Open Google Drive. If prompted, log in to your Google account.
  2. Ensure the My Drive tab is selected in the left menu.

Selector for My Drive in Google Chrome.

Note

If the item you're looking to rename isn't on the front page of My Drive, you'll need to open the containing folder.

  1. Locate the file or folder you want to rename and right-click it.
  2. Select Rename icon in Google Drive. from the drop-down menu that appears.