How to Manage Google Drive Settings

By James T. Cains

Google Drive itself has only a few settings to keep track of, but they can make your experience a little easier. To manage the main Google Drive settings, log in to Google Drive, click the Settings icon (it looks like a gear) at the top right corner, and choose Settings. You’ll see the Settings dialog box in Figure 1.

  • General, Convert Uploads: Check the box if you want documents created in applications like Microsoft Word or Excel to be automatically converted to Google Docs and Sheets when you upload them. If you don’t want them converted, you can still upload the files and view them, but to edit them later, you have to open them in the corresponding Google app.

  • General, Language: Click Change Language Settings to choose a different language for your Google apps. You can also choose a Language Variant, which means how that language is used in different parts of the world. For example, many English words are spelled differently in the United Kingdom than in the United States. If you choose United Kingdom as your English variant, Google’s spellchecker will use spellings like theatre instead of theater.

  • General, Density: This setting controls how much space appears between items in the list of documents on your Google Drive. If you like white space, you may want to choose Comfortable, but if you like to see as many items on a page as possible without a lot of scrolling, you’ll probably prefer Compact. The Cozy setting is somewhere in between.

  • Under Manage Apps: You can connect Google apps to your Drive. The various Google apps are listed automatically and chosen by default. However, say you prefer a different spreadsheet editor than Google Sheets. You can click Connect More Apps and browse through the list of alternative apps. When you find an app you prefer, click it, and then click the Connect button. The new app appears in the Manage Apps list. To use that app by default, check the box next to it and uncheck the corresponding Google app.

Click the Done button when you’re finished.

The default Google apps tend to provide only basic functionality. When you browse for alternative apps under Manage Apps, you may be able to find an app that does more. For example, Google Docs has limited table functionality; however, the Zoho Writer app enables you to do a lot more with tables, including some nifty formatting.

Figure 1: Manage your Google Drive settings.

Figure 1: Manage your Google Drive settings.