The Beginner’s Guide to Google Folders

Google Drive is an immensely popular cloud storage service that may very well be your virtual best friend.

It allows you to save all types of files to the cloud and then access them from your computer, smartphone, tablet. It’s powerful, user-friendly, and comes back with 15GB of storage available for free.

The platform gets even better thanks to its integration with Google Docs, the web-based word processor offered by Google to compete with the likes of Microsoft Office.

Technically speaking, you store your files and folders in Google Docs. But since it’s a part of Google’s complete office suite a.k.a. Google Drive, it wouldn’t be wrong to say you can find your Google folders and files in Google Drive.

In this guide, our primary focus will be Google folders. We’ll discuss everything you need to know about Google folders and how they work in explicit detail.

All set?

Great, then let’s get started!

How to Find Your Google Folder: A Step-by-Step Walk-Through

You want to see a specific folder in Google Drive. As expected, you go to Google Docs, but that’s when you are hit with a rude shock.

While you can see a screen full of file thumbnails (that’s if you haven’t chosen the list view), but can’t seem to locate your folders.

Here’s another shocker: You cannot view folders in Google Docs. The Docs homepage will only show you the document files stored in the Drive and not your folders.

Erm, what? Where are my folders then?

You’ll have to either go to your Google Drive folder on your computer or login to

Here’s how you can access your folder by visiting

Step #1 Open your internet browser window. Type in in the search bar and hit search.

If you’ve already logged into your Gmail account, your Drive will open automatically. Otherwise, you’ll have to feed in your email address and password.

Step #2 Under the Folders field, open the specific folder that you want to view.

And that’s it! This is how you find and open your Google folder.

Easy peasy, right?

How Do Folders Work in Google Drive?

When you open your Google Drive, you’ll see the option to upload files or folders when you click on New. You can also create a folder and then add different Google docs to it as you please.

The main idea behind designing this feature was to help you organize your Google documents better.

For instance, if you have written various articles related to digital marketing, you can create a folder titled ‘Digital Marketing’ and then add the different files to it.

Whenever you want to refer to these articles later, you’ll only have to open the digital marketing folder. You’ll see all the files related to the topic in the same place, making it super convenient on your end.

You also have the flexibility to share the entire folder, along with the files, with your team. Just make sure you set the permissions accordingly. We’ll discuss this in more detail later on in the article.

Google Folder vs. Google File: What’s the Difference Between the Two?

It’s important to understand how Google folders are different from Google files.

You’ll be surprised at the number of people who get confused between the two often mistaking them to be the same way when that really isn’t the case at all.

Let’s remove the word Google and only focus on ‘folder’ and ‘file’ for a bit.

A file is the common storage unit in a computer. All programs and data are written into a file and even read from a file.

On the other hand, a folder holds one or more files. While they can be empty, folders are mostly created by users to organize documents better by adding similar files to them. In other words, folders are files that only contain metadata.

What’s more, a folder can also contain other folders, which means there can be many levels of folders within the parent folder.

Are you still confused? We can simplify it further.

Think of Google folders as a container where you store your Google docs. Or better yet, a book that holds different modules related to a particular subject.

Where Are Your Google Folders Stored on the Cloud in the Drive?

According to Google, all folders added to Google Drive are stored in secure data centers.

During the transfer of data from your computer, Google encrypts everything and then places it on its servers. And that’s not all! Your folder will likely exist in multiple data centers and in multiple machines within the same data center to ensure multi-region access.

Think about it: How are you able to collaborate with someone who’s in Japan while sitting in California?

It’s because your files and folders exist in multiple databases of Google, which, in turn, makes the whole collaboration process faster and cheaper.

After all, let’s not forget that Google Drive is a cloud-based storage system. So, it’s natural for all your files and folders to also be stored on the cloud as well.

How to Share Your Google Drive Folder

While you’ll find several articles explaining how you can share your Google Drive files, very few talk about how you can do the same for folders.

The funny thing is both the processes are actually quite similar!

We’ll tell you how you can share your folder stored in Google Drive. We have broken down this section into two parts: First, we’ll teach you how to create a folder on Google Drive and then, how you can share it.

Here’s what you have to do:

Part One: Creating a Folder on Google Drive

Here, we’ll give you a quick run-through of how you can create your own folder on Google Drive.

Step #1 Go to in your internet browser.

Step #2 You’ll see all your files and folders that you previously worked on the drive. Select New on the left-hand side of your screen.

This will open a dropdown menu.

Step #3 Click on Folder from the available options. This will let you create a folder from scratch.

Step #4 In the New Folder pop-up box, type in the title for your folder. Finally, select Create.

Step #5 You’ll see the newly created folder appear in your Google Drive file list. Open it by clicking on it.

Step #6 You can upload any files to your folders by either dragging or dropping them into the window from your computer.

The other option is to upload the files manually by right-clicking on the screen and then selecting the Upload Files option.

Once you’ve finished adding the files, you can then share them with your friends, family, or colleagues.

Part Two: Sharing Your Folder on Google Drive

Step #1 Open the Google folder that you want to share by clicking on it.

Step #2 You’ll see My Drive > [Name of your folder] below the Search in Drive bar. Click on the small downward arrow just beside the name of your folder. This will then open a dropdown menu.

Step #3 Click on Share in the dropdown menu.

Step #4 Enter the email addresses of all the people you want to share your folder with.

The other alternative is to click on Get link, which will give you an auto-generated link that you can email to anyone who wants to access the folder.

Step #5 With that done, you’ll now have to assign permissions to people you want to invite to the shared folder.

You can set the permissions as either of Viewer, Commentator, or Editor.

Step #6 Click on Send.

All the respective email addresses will receive an invite to view, comment, or edit (depending on what you selected) the Google folder.

What to Do When You Can’t Access Your Google Folder

There can be all kinds of reasons why you cannot open a Google folder. Here are a few tips that you can try to rectify the situation:

Option 1: Try a Different Google Account

It’s often possible that you cannot open your Google folder because you have been using your other account – one that doesn’t have access to it. So what you have to do is switch to the right account.

Step #1 Open the folder. On the You need permission page, choose Switch accounts. Or you can click on your email address, which will then show you your other accounts that you can switch to.

Step #2 Sign in with the different Google account – the one that has access to the folder – and see if you can open the folder now.

Option 2: Get Permission to Open the Folder

If you see that you don’t have access to the folder, you will simply have to request it.

Step #1 Open the folder. On the You need permission page, simply select Request Access.

Step #2 The owner of the file will get an email to give you the approval to access the folder. You will be notified about the same once they approve your request.

And we’re done!

This was your complete guide to understanding Google folders and how it works. Hope you found our guide useful and could understand its working better.

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Bryan Wise
Bryan Wise,
Former VP of IT at GitLab

Incredible companies use Nira