Google Drive Preview feature

The Preview feature in Google Drive allows you to view a document without opening it or converting it to a standard Google office format (GDOC, GSHEET, and GSLIDE). Most documents can be previewed.

The sections of this page are:

Accessing preview
Top-bar options
Cycling through files
Links to other Google pages

Here are some formats that work with preview:

Microsoft Office formats OpenDocument Formats
TXT, RTF PDF
JPG, PNG, TIFF, GIF PSD, AI

Accessing preview

Google Drive Preview menu
The red circles show where in the top level and right, click menus the Preview item is located.

Click a document so it is highlighted.
If you want to select more than one document,  follow these instructions:

For documents directly above or below the first document selected

  • Hold down the shift key on the keyboard. Then click the left mouse button on the desired document. This applies regardless of whether you are using Windows, Mac, or a Linux distro.
  • If subsequent documents are directly above or below the previous selections, hold down the shift key on the keyboard. Then click the left mouse button on the desired document.

For documents NOT directly above or below the first document selected

  • If you are using Windows or a Linux distro, hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard. For Mac users, hold down the Cmd key.
  • Then click the left mouse button on the desired documents.

After selecting the desired documents, do one of the following:

  • Click the eye icon that appears in the task bar above the list of documents.
  • Or right-click on the document and then click on the Preview item in the list that appears. It should be the first item in the menu.

This opens the preview of the document.

Google Drive preview document
Preview has several features, including Printing the document and downloading it.

There are several options when you Preview a document.
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Top-bar options

Preview has different options across the top. Many of these options can be found elsewhere in Google Drive.

Open with

This drop-down lists all the applications that can open the document being previewed.  For example if you preview a GDOC, the drop-down menu will have Google Docs in the list.

Google Drive has an app store that allows you to connect numerous applications to your Google Drive account. For example, Zoho Writer can be connected to your Google Drive account. If you did this, Writer would be in the Open With list.

Click the desired application from the list. The document and application will open in a new tab.
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Download

Clicking this icon will automatically start the download process. The document being previewed may be converted automatically to a new format. For example, a GDOC will be converted to DOCX. Then it will be automatically downloaded.

There are more options available. Click the three dots in the top, right corner to reveal more choices.

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Share

Clicking this icon opens the Share with others dialog. This dialog and collaborating with others is covered on the Google Drive sharing page.

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Move to

Clicking the Move to icon opens a dialog with a list of the folders in your Drive account. Moving documents is covered on the Moving to page.

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Add star

Adding a star marks the document as a favorite and assigns it to the Starred folder. When you click on the Starred link in the left column, all the documents you have starred will appear in the large, right column.

Add Star is also in the menu above the document list when you click on a document or the right-click menu.

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Rename..

Clicking this icon opens the Rename dialog. The name is highlighted in the text box. Simply type a new name. The file extension is not highlighted, but you can click it and type in a new extension.

Rename is also in the menu above the document list when you click on a document or the right-click menu.

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Details

Clicking the Details item opens the Details side pane. It has the following information. Except for Description, none of these categories are editable.

  • General info
    • Type
    • Size
    • Location
    • Modified
    • Created
    • Owned by me
  • Sharing
  • Description
  • Download permission

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Open in new window

This simply opens the document in a new tab or window. It depends on the setting of  your browser.

Report Abuse

Clicking this item launches the Google Drive abuse Web page in a new tab or browser window. Each document has its own URL that will be used with the abuse page.

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Page zoom

This dialog box is at the bottom of the document preview. It shows how many pages are in the document and what page is on the screen. Zoom In/Out dialog in Google Drive document preview

It has three icons for zooming in and out:

  • Zoom out: This zooms out on a document. The text and images will become smaller, and the document will not take up less of the browser window. The icon may not be active when the preview first appears because it is already zoomed out as much as possible.
  • Fit to width: This will zoom out on the document as much as possible. When the browser window’s width is adjusted, the width of the document is increased or decreased to fit the window.
  • Zoom in: This zooms in on a document. The text and images will become larger, and the document will not take up more and more of the browser window. Parts of the document will eventually be covered by the edges of the browser window. The icon will become in active when zooming in more is no longer possible.

Cycling through files

There are arrows on either side of the  previewed document are arrows. Clicking either arrow will let you see the next document in My Drive or the folder you have selected.

If you only selected one document, the arrows will cycle through all the documents in My Drive or folder. The left arrow previews the document above the selected one. The right previews the one below.

NOTE: If Drive is in Grid view with only one document selected, the right arrow would cycle from left to right in a row, then move to the most left document in the next row down.

If you have selected multiple documents, as demonstrated in Accessing preview, only those documents can be cycled through. They will be cycled through in the order you selected them.

For example, you select document 4, then 1, then 9. Document 4 would be the first document you see after clicking Preview.

Click the right arrow button and you will see document 1. Click it again and you will see 9.

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Links to other Google pages

Click one of the links below to jump to that page in this Website.

Google’s office suite |Google Drive features overview|Get Shareable link in Google Drive| Move to feature Google Drive | Google Drive Preview feature

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