Linking Google Docs in multiple folders

Andrew Schwäbe
Jul 16, 2018 · 2 min read

This has to be one of the most useful and unknown features of Google Drive ever. What I am talking about is the ability to have the same google doc or spreadsheet appear in different folders. Not copies, but the same document, so that if changes are made from either folder, these changes are reflected in both locations.

Why would you want to use this ? Perhaps you have “official” documents you author with your team, and then you want to selectively share them with different customers, each of which have their own Google drive folder with different permissions. In the past, I believed that this was only possible by “publishing” (aka copying) documents from one place to another, which severs the updates, and effectively gives each of your customers a “snapshot in time” of that document. Then you had to remember to re-publish again later when the source document changed.

Sometimes you may still want to do that — for example, larger companies will want to review changes before they share with customers. For small businesses or individual consultants, this is perhaps not as necessary.

So, here is how you do it:

  1. Open Google Drive in your browser, and go to the folder where your SOURCE documents are located.
  2. Select the document(s) you want to have visible in multiple folders. (To select individual documents, Windows users can <control>-left click to select, Mac users can <command>-click)
  3. Once documents are selected, press <shift>-z on your keyboard, and you will see a new “Add to folder” pop-up. (I am not aware of any other way to access this tool — comment if you know a easier/different way!)
  4. Browse “My Drive” and find the new folder where you want your documents to appear
  5. Click the “Add Here” button.

Now your original documents will appear in both locations, and updates will work from either location (since it is the *same* document — not a copy).

Bonus: since you aren’t duplicating documents, you will also save on storage usage.

Andrew Schwäbe

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I’m an Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, crypto type of guy. Oh, and guitarist. And foodie. And philanthropist. Maybe more, check back later.