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When teaching a variety of classes, our technical integration specialists often get questions that aren’t part of the standard curriculum of the class.

After several people asked Bob Martin during Google classes if you could the same file could be stored in multiple folders, he started doing his own research.  While technically, the answer is physically “no”,  he did find a way to make a reference link (called a Symbolic link) to a single file in multiple locations. (Unfortunately, this isn’t available for team drives).

Here’s Bob’s instructions for making that happen:

  • Just go to your Drive, click once on a file and then hit SHIFT + Z
  • A dialog will pop up and ask you where you want to put the file.  Navigate to the folder you want a link to the file to be in.
  • Note the button at the bottom of the dialog does NOT say “Move”.  It says “Add”.
  • Currently there is no way (that I could see) to select multiple folders to add a file to at the same time.  So you have to repeat the process for each folder you want the file link to show up in

And a few notes he wanted to be sure to add:

  • Permissions you set for sharing apply to the links
  • If you delete the file, the links disappear
  • If you update the file, those with the link get the most updated version
  • It is better than the “Add to Drive” button, because you can only do that in one folder.  it’s better than the “Make a Copy” option because once you make a copy, it is a separate file and no longer updates when the original is updated.


This would be great for staff or administrators if they have a support document that only certain people need access to.  Just drop it in the shared folders for the people that need it.  And since not all schools use Team Drives, this is a nice option for doing more in Drive.

What Google questions do you have? Perhaps we’ve researched that as well!

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