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Using Google Workspace

What is a ‘workspace’ in Google Drive?

Are you a Google Workspace user? You may be wondering what ‘workspace’ is in Google Drive and how to use it. Read on to find out more!

Ok, so firstly I’m not going to go into the insanity of Google naming their overall software suite ‘Google Workspace’ AND having a specific area within Google Drive called ‘workspaces’. Let’s just roll with what we’ve got and concentrate on how to use this nice little area shall we? (whilst also all agreeing that it is insane…)

What can Google Drive ‘workspace’ be used for?

Essentially, they’re a great way to keep important or frequently used files in an easily accessible location.

But isn’t that why you’d put files into a Google Drive folder and then star it? Well, yes, if it makes sense for all those important or frequently used files to be in the one Google Drive folder. But if they are in multiple folders then adding files to a ‘workspace’ puts them in one place so you can quickly find them.

And, adding the files to a ‘workspace’ doesn’t remove them from anywhere else or change permissions which is very handy.

How this might work

Let’s go through an example so you can see where and how this Google Workspace feature might help you.

Let’s imagine you’ve got a lot of projects on the go with lots of supporting documents – each project has its own Google Drive folder naturally to hold all those documents. But each project also has an overall master document that you check every week – you’ve now got two options available to you:

  • open each and every Google Drive project folder to access the master document
  • add all the master document to a Google Drive ‘workspace’ and then just go there when you need to check those documents.

I personally choose the second option and I’ll walk you through how set this up for yourself.

Add files to a Google Drive ‘workspace’

There are two ways to add files to a Google Drive ‘workspace’:

Option 1

Right click on the file and select “Add to workspace”. If you haven’t created a ‘workspace’ before then you’ll see the option to “Create new workspace”. Click on this and type in any name for the ‘workspace’ that you’d like. The file will then be automatically added to the new workspace.

Option 2

The second option for adding files to a Google Drive ‘workspace’ is through the Google Drive Priority page.

To access this page go to https://drive.google.com/drive/priority or click on ‘Priority’ from the left hand side menu in Google Drive. You’ll see any recently opened / modified files at the top of the page and then two areas called ‘Workspaces’ and ‘Hidden workspaces’ respectively. Again, if you’ve not created a workspace you’ll need to do that first. But if you have created a workspace click on “View Workspace” and then “Add files”

After clicking on “Add files” you’ll be given the option to select files from anywhere in your Google Drive. You can even add files that have been shared with you in addition to files that you’ve created yourself.

You can select one or more files, including files that may have already been added to another ‘workspace’.

Once you’re done selecting files, click on Insert in the bottom right and then Done to finish adding the files.

Note: You can only have 25 files in total in a ‘workspace’ at any one time.

Option 3: Automatic adding of files

Once you start using Google Drive ‘workspaces’ then at some point Google Drive’s AI may automatically suggest a ‘workspace’ for you with files that you often edit / open. It’s entirely up to you whether you accept that suggestion or not, but it is a nice little feature in my opinion.

Access Google Drive ‘workspaces’

As you’ve already seen, you access these Google Drive ‘workspaces’ through the Google Drive Priority webpage. If you want, you can make this page your Google Drive homepage, making access to the ‘workspaces’ even easier:

  1. Open Drive on your computer.
  2. Click Settings ""and thenSettings.
  3. Under General, scroll to Suggestions.
  4. Check the Make Priority my default home page box.
  5. Click Done.

By default, only the 5 most recently edited, or added, files will be shown in a Google Drive ‘workspace’ block. If you have more than 5 files, you will see the option to “View x more” at the bottom of the ‘workspace’ block. If you have less than 5 files then the option will be “View workspace”.

Note: you can have an unlimited number of Google Drive ‘workspaces’ but you can only display 8 at any one time. Once you hit that limit, you need to hide workspaces before you can create any more.

Viewing files in a Google Drive ‘workspace’

To open a file that you’ve added to a Google Drive ‘workspace’ just double-click on the file name.

You can also remove files at any time by clicking on the 3 dot vertical menu to the right of the file name and clicking on Remove from workspace. This won’t delete the file from your Google Drive overall though.

Hiding Google Drive ‘workspaces’

To hide a Google Drive ‘workspace’ click on the 3 dot vertical menu in the top right of the ‘workspace’ and then click on Hide workspace.

The ‘workspace’ will be removed from the main area of the Priority page and placed a bit lower down, under the “Hidden workspaces” heading. To see the list of workspaces in this section, click on the downward facing arrow.

And then click on the name of the ‘workspace’ to open it up and see all the files in there.

Personally I don’t use this feature as I don’t see the point – if the ‘workspace’ has been hidden then I’m not going to remember it is there, and I just end up either searching for files or creating new Google Drive folders.

Deleting a Google Drive ‘workspace’

If you do find yourself coming to the limit of visible Google Drive ‘workspaces’ then it may be more useful to delete older or less useful workspaces. To do this, just click on the 3 dot vertical menu in the top right and select Remove workspace.

This will delete the ‘workspace’ but not your files. They will remain in their original locations.

Accessing ‘workspaces’ on your mobile

If you’ve downloaded the Google Drive app to your phone, then you can also access ‘workspaces’ from there.

Some FAQs about Google Drive ‘workspaces’

Can I share a Google Drive ‘workspace’? Unfortunately no, this is not an option. You can however share files that other people can then add to their own ‘workspace’.

What is the difference between a folder and a ‘workspace’ in Google Drive? The main differences are:

  • A ‘workspace’ can hold files from many different folders in one spot so it’s very handy if you want to see multiple documents from multiple locations
  • A ‘workspace’ can only hold up to 25 files but a folder can hold an unlimited amount.
  • A ‘workspace’ can not be shared but a folder can be.

Can I add a folder to a Google Drive ‘workspace’? Unfortunately no, this is not an option.

Why don’t I see the Google Drive Priority menu option? This option is only available to paid users of Google Workspace.

Make the most of your Google Workspace investment

Small business owners wear many hats including that of Google Workspace administrator but I’m betting that’s not your most favourite role! However it is mine – in fact I love helping small business owners get the most out of their Google Workspace investment.

And one way I do that, is by sending you all the tips, news and resources you need to run Google Workspace in your small business, so you can spend less time on ‘all that stuff’ and more time running the business you love.

Published every Sunday night to set you up for the week ahead. Designed and written by a small business owner for small business owners. 

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