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find advanced search options

Updated Search in Google Drive

Google is so good at helping us search that its name has become a verb meaning “to search the internet for information.” Yet, until recently, it was often difficult to find things inside Google Drive unless you knew the exact title of the item or you were much better at putting your items into folders than I am.

Enter the updated search options in Google Drive to the rescue. They make it a snap to find any file or folder you need, whether you created it yesterday or a student shared it with you last year.

To search in Drive, begin by clicking in the Search box. You are immediately presented with a dropdown menu showing different types of files. You can click on one of these to restrict your search to that type of file before you begin typing the name of the file you are searching for.

Search options
Click on any of the options to restrict your search to that file type.

However, if you can’t find what you need, you can use more advanced options. Click on More search tools at the bottom of the dropdown or the little triangle at the top.

find advanced search options

This brings up a box where you can input as much information as you have to help you find what you are looking for. You can search by file type (with more choices than you have in the initial dropdown), date modified, owner (including a specific person), who the item has been shared with, and more. You can also combine information, so if you are looking for a Google Presentation on the French Revolution that was shared with you by a student last year, you can enter all those terms. Keep in mind that the item will have to match everything you include, so if you are not sure of something, for example, who the owner of the item is, leave it out. Happy searching!


advanced search options
Click any of the dropdowns to select an item
Example of search terms
Example of search terms you can use

Embed PDF in Google Sites

One of the things I have been struggling with lately is how to embed a PDF in a Google Site. It turns out if you have the PDF saved in your Google Drive, it’s not that difficult. All you have to do is click on the PDF in your Drive, pop it out into a new window, and copy the embed code. Then you head over to your site, click to edit, choose HTML, and paste in the code. Update and save, then sit back and congratulate yourself on a job well done!

See the step by step instructions and animated GIFs of the process below.

Step 1: Open PDF in your Drive and click on the Pop Out window icon. This step is the key; you can’t get the embed code unless you pop out the window.

Pop-out window location

Step 2: In the new window, click the 3 vertical dots (more options) and choose Embed item…

Get embed code

Step 3: Copy the embed code.

Copy embed code

Step 4: Go to the page on your Google Site where you want to embed the PDF. Click the pencil icon to edit, then click HTML.

Open HTML editor

Step 5: Paste the embed code into the HTML editor. Click Update at the bottom.

Paste code and update

Step 6: Don’t forget to save!

Don't forget to save!


Animated GIFs of the process:

Getting the embed code
animated GIF of part 1 of embed process

Pasting the embed code
animated GIF of part 2 of embed process




Move Documents from One Google Account to Another

Our district is implementing Google Apps for Education, and today I trained several teachers on using Drive. Some of the teachers had already been using personal Google accounts to create documents and collaborate with their teams, and they wanted to know how to move those files from the personal Google accounts to their new school accounts.

You can’t simply move the documents or files, but you can transfer the ownership of most files from account to the other. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Log into your personal Google account at
  2. Check the box next to the item you want to add to your new account.
  3. Click the Share icon OR go to the More menu and select “Share…” sharing
  4. Add the email address of the new account in the field for “Invite people,” then click Share & save. (If you have already shared the document with your new account, you can skip this step.)
  5. You should now see the new account listed in the shared settings. Click the drop-down menu to the right of the name and choose “Is owner.”
    Change owner
  6. Save your changes. Your new account is now the owner of the document, and the original account is an editor.
  7. (Optional) If you want to remove the document completely from the original account, log into your new account, go to the sharing settings for the document, and stop sharing with your original account.

If you have a regular Gmail account, be aware that you can’t change the ownership of some files, such as images and PDFs. To move these files, follow these steps:

  1. Proceed as above and follow steps 1-4 to share the item with the new account.
  2. Log into the new account and located the item in the “Shared with Me” section.
  3. Click the box next to it and choose File > Make a copy.
  4. Choose the name you want for the copy.

This will create a copy of the item in your new account. If you want, you can go back to your original account and delete the item there. Remember that if you make a copy of a file, it will not be shared with the same people as the original. If there are files whose ownership cannot be transferred, but you want to work with them in a different account from the one where they were originally uploaded, it may be easier just to share them with the new account and leave the original file where it was.

Train image: public domain

Young toucans sharing food

My Drive vs. “Shared with Me”

Shared with Me

Recently, a number of people have asked me about the difference between My Drive and Shared with Me. While you can see files and folders that are in both sections, there are a few key differences that you should be aware of.

If you have the Google Drive application installed on your computer, items in My Drive will be automatically synced to your local machine. You will be able to see changes immediately (as long as you are online), and you can track activity for these items.  My Drive includes items you own, such as Google Docs, Presentations, Drawings, etc., and folders that you have created, as well as files and folders that you have synced or uploaded. It also contains any shared files or folders that you have added from Shared with Me. (more…)