Home » Google Apps » G Suite » Organizing Shared Files in Google Drive

Organizing Shared Files in Google Drive

Organizing shared with me files Google Drive

Organizing “Shared with Me” Files/Folders

Google Drive users love the ability to share files and folders with collaborators, however, keeping Google Drive organized can be difficult.  This is particularly true for files or folders that are shared with you.  The “Shared with Me” section of Google Drive lists items in date order which leads to frustration when people go looking for shared files.  To add to the difficulty, files and folders located in “Shared with Me” cannot be retrieved using Drive’s powerful search tool.  Many regular Drive users remain unaware that “Shared with Me” files can be added to and organized in your Google Drive using the “Add to Drive” option.

Not a Copy

Using the “Add to Drive” option for shared or View only files (or folders), allows you to place the file (or folder) into your Drive in a location that makes sense for you.  Some important things to understand about “Add to Drive” feature:

  • It does not create a copy of the file/folder
  • It is a link back to the actual file (or folder), so that it is always the most up to date version
  • It does not move the file/folder for collaborators, so no need to worry that you will cause a problem for others sharing the file
  • If you have “Edit” permissions on the file/folder that you “Add to Drive” then any changes you make, such as edits to a file, adding new items into a shared folder, will be reflected for all collaborators of that file/folder.

Adding Individual Files from a Shared Folder

When folders are shared with you, these can also be added to your Drive.  If your goal is to move only certain files within a shared folder into your Drive, you will need to do so using the “Shift” + “z” command to “Add to” another folder, so that you do not inadvertently remove files for other collaborators.

Video Tutorial – Organizing Shared with Me Files in Google Drive

To learn more about how to organize shared files, take a look at the Organizing Shared with Me tutorial video.


  1. When using the “add to” feature, does that make a copy of the file? That is, if I make changes to that file, will they appear on the same file that is in the shared folder?

    • Kevin-
      “Add to” is NOT a copy. It is the same file, just appearing in multiple folders. Any changes you make to the file, regardless of the specific folder, will appear everywhere that file resides.


  2. Thank you so much for posting this info. It is spot-on and very helpful!

  3. brenda valencia

    Thank you for sharing! I’ve been trying to do this, and here you’ve explained simply! Wow!

  4. @Brenda – Thanks for the feedback! I never know who might be reading and if it’s helpful info, so I appreciate it!

  5. Is there a way I can “clean up” the shared with me files and folders so I can track back to what was shared with me in an organized manner? I don’t need all these files organized in my drive, if I can access them in shared with me. But right now I can’t find anything in shared with me because there are hundreds of individual files.

  6. I would also like to know how to arrange these files. I suspect that the only way is to organize them in my drive, but if there is a way to put them in folders in the shared with me drive, that would be most helpful.

  7. Thank you! I think that will work just fine.


  8. Tks Jenn, but after move to my drive its still apear in the shared files, its possible to clean that ?

  9. This is magical. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  10. How do you remove the files from the shared folder?

    • Meredith- The “Shared with Me” area is really a label not a folder in the traditional sense. You cannot remove the “Shared with Me” label from things. You can organize those Shared items that you want to find more easily, however, organizing Shared items into folders in your Drive does not remove them from Shared with Me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *