How to Sort Google Drive Files like a Pro

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4 min read

Most of us use Google Drive as our goto application for cloud storage. Overtime you store a lot of files there and it becomes tedious to organise or sort files. Also, Google may not always provide a straight forward way to sort files the way you want. This guide explains how you can sort Google Drive by size, file type, name, owner, last modified date, last opened date, date created.

Sort by Size

There is no out of the box method to do this. Though, there are some tricks using which you can sort your files by file size.

Whole Drive

This method helps you sort all the files in your Google Drive by size. So, when you sort you will see the biggest file first and when toggling, you will see the smallest file first.

  1. Go to your Google Drive dashboard.
  2. On the left, select Storage.
  3. Now, you can see the files in descending order of file size.
  4. Click 'Storage used' to reverse the sort order.
sorting google drive by size

Within a Folder

Sorting the files inside a folder by size is not possible on the web for some reason. File size column is greyed out in the list view and it is not clickable. We can use a Google Drive add-on, to get this done. After installing it, follow the steps below to sort your files in a Google Drive folder by size.

  1. Open a Google Sheet, select Add-ons → Drive Explorer → Start Export → Selected items.
  2. Click Add items and select the folder(s) you want.
  3. Select Export Details to get the list of files on the Sheet.
  4. By default, File size column is not populated. select Choose display fields from the add-on menu (Add-ons → Drive Explorer).
  5. Check File Size and Save the config. This step is to verify if the files are sorted as required.
  6. Now, to sort by size, select Configuration from the add-on menu. In the File sort order section, check File Size and toggle asc/desc (ascending/descending) as per your requirement.
  7. Save the config. The sheet will be refreshed automatically.

If you find the above instructions confusing, you can watch this YouTube video to know-how. You can know more about Drive Explorer add-on.

Sorting the files by ascending order of size will result in something like the image below.

sorting google drive files by size

There is one more way you can sort the files by size anywhere inside Google Drive. I have used an Android app for this post. I believe iOS doesn't have much of a difference. This method can also be used to sort Google Drive trash by size. Trash can consume a considerable amount of your Drive quota so, it's good to clear it time to time.

  1. Open your Google Drive mobile app.
  2. Go to the trash.
  3. Toggle to List view using the icon in the right side.
  4. Select the sort option in the left side.
  5. Click Storage used.

using drive app to sort files by size

Sort by File Type

If you want to see only a specific type of file, you can follow this method. List of types supported as of now: PDFs, Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Photos & images, Videos.

Whole Drive

  1. Go to Google Drive.
  2. Click on the search bar at the top.
  3. Select the type of file.

Within a Folder

You may have files of different type within a folder and want to filter files based on a specific type.

  1. Open Google Drive.
  2. Right click the folder and select 'Search within {{folder name}}'.
  3. Now, in the search bar on top enter type: followed by one of pdf, document, spreadsheet, presentation, image, video without space and press enter.

Sort by Date added

Date added/created is the actual date the file was uploaded by the user.

There is no out of the box way to sort by created date. We can make use of the Sheets add-on for Drive to achieve this. Follow the instructions mentioned in the sort files by size within a Google Drive folder and check 'Created date' in the 'File sort order' section.

Below image is a screenshot of files sorted in descending order of created date.

drive explorer sort files by date added

Sort by Owner

This method lets you filter the files by its owner. In the search bar on top enter owner: followed by the email address without space. This lets you see the files owned by that particular email address.

To see only the files you have shared with a specific person, in the search bar on top of Google Drive enter to: follwed by the email without space.

Credit to Alice for sharing this trick.

Sort by Name/Last modified/Last opened

It is more straightforward compared to other types and you can do this from the Drive interface itself.

'Last modified' is the latest time a file got edited or changed. It can be you or the person who has edit access to that particular file. In the case of  'Last modified me', you must have edited the file. 'Last opened' is the time a file is opened recently.

  1. Access your Google Drive.
  2. Switch to list view by clicking the icon at the top left.
  3. Select the heading in the first row to sort files.
  4. You can click the arrowhead right next to the heading to reverse the sort order.
google drive sort by name, last modified, last opened

Set default sort order

The latest way you sorted the files by Name or Last modified or Last modified by me or Last opened by me will remain your default sort order. When you open Google Drive next time, the files are sorted in that way.