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Google Drive beta testing shortcuts to cut down on creating file copies

With the new Drive Priority page, Google introduced Workspaces that can be used to provide quick access to files without changing the underlying location. Google Drive is now testing the ability to create shortcuts as part of a new beta.

Shortcuts are pointers to files that are stored in another folder or in another drive—like a shared drive or another user’s drive—that make it easy to surface content without creating copies of files.

Shortcuts in Google Drive work in a manner similar to other file systems. They are especially catered towards shared drives — previously Team Drives — and help cut down on making copies that don’t stay in sync.

They will be visible to everyone that has access to the folder or drive while creating a shortcut has no impact on sharing access.

For example, if Paul in marketing shares a document from his team’s shared drive with the entire sales team, Greta in sales can create a shortcut to that document in her own team’s shared drive. Previously, because documents can’t be owned by two shared drives, Greta would need to create a copy of the document for her team’s shared drive, which could then quickly become out of date.

Google Drive shortcuts

“Add shortcut to Drive” becomes a new option when right-clicking a document. An inline file picker appears to place and create. It replaces the existing “Add to My Drive” option, with all file shortcuts marked by an arrow icon.

Note that files currently living in two locations in My Drive will continue to do so at this time (e.g. those that you’ve added to your My Drive previously).

Google Drive shortcuts can be created for Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets, as well as folders. Third-party file types include JPGs, PDFs, and Microsoft Office.

Google is taking beta sign-ups now and will begin accepting domains “in the coming weeks.”

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: