ordering a file in google drive folders
January 28, 2014 1:27 PM   Subscribe

is it possible to sort Google docs [in a google Drive folder] in date order? I don't mean 'date last opened by' or 'modified by; I do mean by numerical order, or even 'date closest to the present day' [whatever the formatting style of the filename].

So can I have a list of documents, where


always stay in that order, no matter if I modified or opened February 1st most recently or not.

I dont mind if the format is yyyy.mm.dd or mm.yyyy.dd or dd.mm.yyyy, as long as the date closest to the present day is at the top of the list, second in the list is the second most recent date, etc.

Just for context: I work in a team setting, with shared folders, with many editors [up to 12] who can open, edit, move rename and copy files in folders.

We have a weekend plan, copied, renamed & updated by team editing every wednesday, to cover our activities over the fri/sat/sunday period.

We rename each week from last weeks filename, and place the previous document in a shared folder, called 'old weekend sheets'.

This folder needs to be in order, with the last most recent sheet on top, second most recent file in second position, etc etc..

So none of the sort options I have found will keep the files in the order I want - ignoring who most recently opened moved renamed or modified a file...

I have asked on Google forums with no luck.

posted by dash_slot- to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In this scenario, aren't you actually just asking to sort them in alphabetical (well, alphanumeric) order? If you are in "My Drive" (as opposed to, say, "Recent"), click the "Title" label at the top of the filename column, and they will sort in alphanumeric order.

As far as I know, you cannot force other users to inherit your view settings for a folder, so everyone would have to learn how to sort this particular folder to sort in ascending order.
posted by misterbrandt at 1:42 PM on January 28, 2014

Yeah. You're asking the wrong question. This is simply sorting by name which anything including Google Docs can easily do.
posted by turkeyphant at 1:53 PM on January 28, 2014

If you only have past dates and you want them in descending order, you want a reverse alphabetical sort. I think that is what you are describing in your question.
posted by soelo at 2:37 PM on January 28, 2014

Response by poster: Solo: show me how, please?

Turkey pant: unhelpful.

Mister Brandt: show me how - that isn't an option in Drive, as far as I can see.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:55 PM on January 28, 2014

Best answer: dash_slot, so is your list sorting in reverse chronological order currently? That may be as close as you can get with your current file naming system (it does not appear that Google Drive allows to you to click the column header a second time to reverse from ascending order to descending order).

Can you prepend a character to get your current week's document to sort at the top alphanumerically? An underscore will work ("_")
posted by misterbrandt at 3:27 PM on January 28, 2014

I agree with misterbrandt, I am looking at the GDrive app on my phone and the reverse alpha sort is not an option. Regular alpha sort is though. I have to hit a button that says sort and then there is a Title option. You will need to fiddle with the names of the files to get them to sort by title in your preferred order. The first week could start with BZ, the second BY, the third BX, etc until you get to BA and then start with AZ, AY, AX, etc. That will give you 52 filenames, one for each week of the year.

The way you have your example is in ascending order by date when you actually want descending by date. Turkeyphant's answer is right if you wanted ascending.
posted by soelo at 3:37 PM on January 28, 2014

Response by poster: soelo: I'm not gonna be able to get my colleagues to understand BZ BY BX etc, so no, that wont work.

It needs a simple date file name.

My example was indeed reversed, apologies.

I cannot get the folder organised the way you all say is so easy, somehow.

mister brandt: Google Drive sorts by these options available - owner, editor, opened & quota.

There doesn't appear to be an option for alphanumeric nor date created. Do you not see what I see?
posted by dash_slot- at 3:50 PM on January 28, 2014

Best answer: Actually, dash_slot, we are saying that it is actually not possible exactly as you describe it. We are saying that it can only sort alphanumerically in ascending order, but you need descending.

However, you definitely can sort by title. Whichever column label is 'RED' is the current sort order. Do you see the "TITLE" label in red? If so, it is sorting in ascending alphanumeric order. If you go to one of the other two columns and select a new sort parameter from the dropdown thing with the little arrow, that label will become RED.

Do you need people to be able to access/browse previous weeks' documents? Can you simply prefix the current document with an underscore, as I suggested above?
posted by misterbrandt at 3:59 PM on January 28, 2014

Response by poster: I can get it to sort by title in red, thanks actually in a way thats helpful. But.... i probably wont be able to get the others to remain in red, sorting by title, and drift into chaos again.

Its also helpful to know that Drive wont sort the way i want it to, despite the assertion above.

I do need people to browse previous weeks docs, yeah. I dont think i can get colleagues to prepend an underscore, as they cant get to understand how to make copies & rename, so they wont remember to remove the prepended underscore.

I think I may have subfolders with months, like 01.2014....02.2014.... and then dates inside. That way, there's only a max of 4 [occasionally 5] docs to look at.

posted by dash_slot- at 4:34 PM on January 28, 2014

dash_slot-: "Turkey pant: unhelpful."

Does Drive paginate ever? Even if it does, I don't see what's wrong with my answer - sort by title then hit End to start at the bottom of the list instead of the top.
posted by turkeyphant at 6:55 AM on February 10, 2014

Response by poster: turkeyphant: it's unhelpful for you to say "Yeah. You're asking the wrong question."

I have had this back from google:

"Now, I understand that you were wondering if there was a way to sort files in your web 'Google Drive' (Cloud) by date in a numerical order. Even if you modified most recently or not. Is this correct?

If so, it's not an active feature we have that would allow you to do so. Though I can see how useful it would be for you and other users, and I'd be happy to pass this feature request along to our engineers. "

and on the google groups thread:

"John, reverse order sorting on title is not possible. Only 'A to Z' and '0 to infinity'.

It is a much requested feature but, so far, not implemented.

I have assumed that the date is in the file name (though I would not insert dots into any file name). Although not as critical as it used to be, dots should only be used for separating file name from file format indicator, e.g. 20140123.docx.
Of course in GDocs you do not see the file extension when working online and there is no need to insert one."

I don't know why the dots are frowned upon, but the respondent seems to have understood my request.

Apologies again for the confusion I introduced by my poor example, for clarity it should have been


demonstrating that the order is descending and the priority is determined by filename, not by date edited or created or viewed.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:21 AM on February 17, 2014

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