Google Drive

Introduction

Google Drive (which now incorporates Google Docs and other previously fragmented Google file services) is a Web-based interface that allows you to create, store, and edit several types of documents, including presentations, spreadsheets, and word-processed files. In addition, you can share the documents you make and work on them simultaneously with multiple collaborators. Google Drive supports importing and exporting files in many popular formats, including Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, and PDF standards.

An Important Note about Files Stored Online

According to UCF Policy 4-007.1 "Security of Mobile Computing, Data Storage, and Communication Devices," restricted data—including confidential or personal information such as student grades identified by emplID—must not be stored on third-party Internet cloud storage services. This includes Google Drive, but also applies to OneDrive, CrashPlan, Dropbox, iCloud, Box, and other services where user information is stored in non-university-affiliated data centers.

How Do I Get Started?

To use Google Drive, you’ll need a Google account (which does NOT necessarily mean that you must create a Google Mail—or Gmail—account, but if you have a Gmail account, it is already a Google account). To create a Google account:

  1. Go to https://accounts.google.com/NewAccount
  2. Fill out all the fields. If you don't want to create a new Gmail account and would prefer to use a current email address as a Google log-in, select "I prefer to use my current email address" beneath the "Choose your username" box.
  3. You must agree to Google's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy in order to continue. Check the box before selecting the button labeled "Next step."
  4. The next page prompts you to customize a Google+ profile page. You can skip this personalization by selecting "Next step" and come back to it another time. Keep in mind that Google will create your profile either way, so it is up to you to choose what information you would like to share or hide.
  5. The next page provides a brief summary of your new account. At this point you can use this account on all of Google's services.

Once you have a Google account (whether Gmail or otherwise), you can now access Google Drive with 15 gigabytes of storage. To get to the Google Drive interface:

  • Navigate to http://drive.google.com (If you are not logged in to your Google account, you will be asked to log in.)
  • If this is your first time accessing your Drive, you will be greeted by a pop-up summary of Drive's features. Scroll through and select "Take me to Drive." Though accompanying synchronization software is available, the Web interface is fully functional and does not require any additional installation.

Creating a new document

The default interface for Google Drive displays all the documents you have created as well as all the documents shared with you. If you just created an account, there might not be much (if anything) visible yet. At this point, you can create a blank document or import one from your computer. To create a new Google document:

  1. Click the orange "NEW" button on the left side of the page.
  2. From the resulting menu, choose the file type that fits your needs.

Importing a Document You Already Have

  1. Select the blue "NEW" button on the left side of the page.
  2. From the resulting menu, select the "File upload" option.
  3. You will be prompted to select files from your computer. Navigate to and select your desired file(s), then click "Open."
  4. You may be prompted to set your upload preferences before the file transfer will continue. Select whether you want Google to convert your documents to its own format when they are uploaded (recommended for best compatibility when collaborating). You may also choose whether you want to see this prompt every time you upload a file by checking the box labeled "Confirm settings before each upload."

Document Sharing

If you have documents shared with you, you will be able to see the account name of the person who created it and is sharing files with you. All people who are given access to a Google document can view and edit it simultaneously in real-time, and can even see where other people are in the document with colored cursors. To share one of your documents with specific people:

  1. Open the document by clicking its name in your main Google Drive interface.
  2. Once the file loads, select the "Share" button in the upper-right corner.
  3. In the box that opens, enter your collaborators' Google account names.
  4. Once you have finished adding people, select the button labeled "Send." Your collaborators will receive invitations to work on the file, and they will be able to see it in their "Shared with me" section of Drive.
 

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