Google Drive is a wonderful, enriching system for businesses because it allows employees—whether they’re in the same office or halfway around the world—to share and collaborate on documents together. One issue, however, is that Google Drive works best when you use Google’s own programs and files—Google Docs and Google Sheets, for example.
When businesses try to upload and share non-Google documents, such as an Excel spreadsheet, it’s difficult to manage different versions of the file. Many people think that if you want to update a file, you have to delete it, re-upload it, and re-share it, which is a tedious process.
Luckily, there’s a better solution built into Google Drive. Let’s walk through the steps.
1. Find the file
As with anything in Google Drive, the first step is to find the file you want to work with. You can navigate through the folder structure that you’ve created, or simply search for the file using the search bar on the top of any Google Drive page.
You’ll be able to identify a non-Google file in Google Drive because it will include the extension (.xlsx in this case), and it will show the logo for the program in question.
Pro tip: Any time you’re in Google Drive, just hit the forward slash key [/] (it also has the question mark on it), to automatically start typing in a search query.
2. Right-click, find “manage versions”
Once you’ve found your file, just right click on it and a small menu will open up. Toward the bottom you see a “Manage versions…” link, which will open up a new window to help you manage different versions.
3. Upload a new version
First thing’s first, click the button to upload a new version and find the file on your hard drive.
Once the upload is finished, you’ll see that it’s replaced the old file as the current version.
For most purposes, you’ll be ready to go! Any time a colleague accesses the shared file, they’ll see this newer, most up-to-date version, without you having to spend any extra time with re-sharing. Simply put, it’s the best way to get everyone on the same page in the shortest amount of time.
As you can see in the screenshot above, Google Drive only retains older versions for 30 days after you’ve uploaded a newer one.
4. A little cleanup, if required
If you have good reason to get rid of the old versions right away, that’s possible too. Sometimes that’s relevant if there’s an error in the old version and you want to be completely sure no one will view incorrect data. To delete an older version, click on the three vertical dots to the right of the file. That will open up a new menu, which you can see below.
Just give that “Delete” button a click and your old, outdated file will be deleted from Google Drive.
This is just one of the many conveniences of migrating from an on-premises company fileserver to one that’s in the cloud—you can handle all the same files you did before, but with even more flexibility, compatibility, and intelligence. At Bi101, we’ve helped hundreds of companies make the move to G Suite and its associated programs, like Google Drive, Docs, and Hangouts. Are you ready?