Using Google Drive to publish documents that need to be periodically updated, such as schedules, policies or timetables is an easy process. You can either publish the Google Doc / Sheet directly, or export the document as a PDF and publish that.

The drawbacks of this method are obvious when you have a large number of documents to publish, or you need to publish updates to a document on a regular basis. This is a typical use case for policies, where there is a live working copy, and then a public version, which is essentially a snapshot of the working document, taken quarterly or yearly. To do this using Drive, you need to download the exported copy of the PDF and then re-upload it as a new version of your published document. This is incredibly time-consuming, and error prone!

Our Solution

With Folders, you can help streamline this process and save yourself a lot of time.

Step 1

Open the folder containing the original (Google Doc / Sheet / Slide) documents that you would like to publish. This can be done from directly inside the Folders App or from Google Drive if you have installed the app to your drive by clicking About -> Install. Once installed, you can right-click on any folder and ‘Open WithFolders.Open

Step 2

Once your folder is open in the Folders app, you are ready to convert all the files it contains to PDFs. Any existing PDFs or files that are not native Google files will be ignored. If you would like to reduce the set of documents which are converted, you can do so by using:

Step 3

Click on Results -> Convert to bring up the Convert Files dialog. Here, you can customise how the conversion should proceed. To save you time, you can simply click the Google Formats -> PDF button to set the correct options for this task.

Convert Dialog Screenshot

If you are publishing from a folder (see the section below), then you can select the folder you are publishing in the Mirror To section of the form, using the Browse button to select the folder from your Google Drive. If you wish to clear this field, click the Clear / Reset button.

Step 4

If you are likely to be publishing documents from this folder, using these settings, on a regular basis, then you can Save these settings to your Google Drive. They will then appear as a file in this folder, which you can open in the Folders app (directly from Google Drive) to save you time in the future. The correct folder will be opened, and your chosen settings will be pre-populated in the conversion dialog box when you click on Results -> Convert.

Step 5

Click on the Convert action button to start the conversion. If you have selected the Convert In Place option (default if you used the Google Formats -> PDF button) then any existing PDFs that are named the same as the source files will updated with new versions. If these PDFs are already published or shared, then the new version will be available straightaway. You will see each document being individually processed, and a tick will appear next to each one as it is successfully converted.

Step 6

If you are publishing, or sharing, individual PDF files and have not done so previously, you can now share these newly created files through the normal Google Drive sharing procedure. When you next run the convert, these same files will be updated from your source documents, meaning your published files will then have the same content as your working files.

Publishing Folders

It can be tiresome publishing individual files, especially if you are continually adding new documents. You may wish to publish a whole folder, rather than individual documents. However, you shouldn’t publish your original folder as this will also publish the working copies (which is exactly what we are trying not to do!). In this case, you can create a new folder in your Google Drive and publish it as normal (it can be empty at this point). When you go through the conversion process above, on Step 3 you can select this folder as the Mirror To folder before your documents are converted. After they have been converted, they are then automatically added to this published folder as well as your working folder. This takes advantage of the ability for a file to be in more than one folder simultaneously in Google Drive. These newly converted PDFs will inherit the sharing policies of your published folder and therefore be available to your intended audience. Every time a new document is created and converted in that folder, provided the Mirror To folder is set (you can save your settings in Step 4), it will be publishing too!

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