Google Drive - Creating a folder and loading pdfs


1. If in the future you are involved in litigation you will need to use Caselines so you might prefer to use Caselines from the start rather than get familiar with Google Drive and then have to learn to use Caselines later on. However there is a charge for using Caselines (and there may be a delay whilst you register) whereas Google Drive is free (and immediately available). It sometimes happens that clients initially seek advice based on a relatively large set of documents but once legal advice has been given on the legal principles applicable, it then becomes clear that only a smaller subset of documents is legally relevant so fewer documents need to eventually be loaded to Caselines if litigation ensues, so, at the stage when litigation has not yet commenced, most clients use Google Drive. 

2. Documents loaded to Google Drive are generally stored on servers outside the United Kingdom and may not be subject to the same standards of data protection as apply within the United Kingdom.

3. See here for general information about finding relevant documents so that you can load them. 

Go to Google Drive

Download the Google Drive app for Android or iPhone/iPad or if you are using a computer go to and follow the instructions to log on.  


Create a new folder in Google Drive

When you get to the My Drive panel, if you are using a computer tap the blue rectangle in the top left marked New and then select Folder.

If you are using a phone or tablet, instead of a blue rectangle in the top left there will be a blue circle in the bottom right with a plus sign on it. Tap the blue circle and  then select Folder.

Enter the name of the folder as shown below. If you are using the folder to store documentary evidence for your case (rather than, say, pleadings) an appropriate name might be Smith v Jones - Documentary Evidence. Select Create. 

Give me access to the folder

Select the folder as shown below, then select to bring up the share/people panel. If you cannot see thesymbol, you may have to select the three dots symbol first and then select Folder Actions to get the symbol to appear, so that you can select it.

When you select the symbol, the panel below will appear

Type in my email address as shown above and tap the Send button or tap the  symbol.

Load the documents to Google Drive

Loading emails to Google Drive

First load any relevant emails you have to your Google Drive folder using the method explained here.

Then load copies of other documents you have. Depending on your device and where documents are located, there are a number of ways of loading copies of documents to your Google Drive folder and you can use whichever method is most convenient.

Loading paper documents to Google drive using your own scanner

If you have got the time, you can save money by scanning in documents yourself. The cost of scanners is coming down all the time and you can buy a combined scanner and printer, which can scan and print double-sided, A4 and A3, for less than £100. When buying a scanner make sure that the scanner has a double-sided automatic document feed (ADF) as you may find that many of the documents you need to scan in are printed on both sides. 

Scanner/printer shown above is a Brother MFCJ5625DW

Most scanners cannot load directly to Google Drive so you need an app supplied by the scanner manufacturer such as Brother iPrint&Scan or HP's All-in-One Printer Remote App. The app allows you to scan a document and then load it as a PDF to your Google Drive folder using the share button. When saving the PDF in Google Drive you get the opportunity to give it a name such as 2016-11-18 Letter Smith to Jones but you do not have to type in a name at this stage - if you prefer you can leave it to default to a system generated name and then check and rename all the PDFs in Google drive after you have loaded them all up (as explained later on on this page).    

Most scanners allow you to scan to a memory card or USB stick. So an alternative to using an App is to scan to a memory card/USB stick and then insert it in to your phone/tablet/computer and then load the PDFs on it to your Google Drive folder as explained under Loading Electronic Files below

Or you can plug the scanner into a computer, scan documents to PDFs and then load the PDFs to your Google Drive folder as explained under Loading Electronic Files below

Using a Reprographics Service for paper documents

You can use an ordinary high street print shop (e.g. Office Outlet or Rymans) to scan in documents. Most print shops will, when scanning in each document, ask you what name the PDF which will be created should have, so before you go to the print shop, it is worth putting a post-it sticker containing the PDF name to be used (e.g. 2016-11-18 Letter Smith to Jones.pdf) on the top of each document so that the print shop use the names you specify. If you don't do this the print shop may just assign arbitrary names (e.g. Scan0001) which you will need to rename later so using post-it stickers will save you time renaming later. It is also good practice to use a paperclip to keep all pages of a document together (if they are not already held together in some other way) so that all pages of a single document are scanned into a single PDF (rather than ending up with a PDF per page). 

You can ask the print shop to give you the PDFs on a USB drive which you can insert into the USB socket on your computer. Alternatively if you do not have a traditional computer with a USB socket (e.g. you only have a tablet) you can ask the reprographics service whether they can email (or file transfer) the PDFs to your email address. Once you have documents in PDF form you can load them to your Google Drive folder as explained under Loading Electronic Files below. 

You can use a specialist legal reprographics service such as Legastat to scan in paper documents as PDFs and they should give them appropriate names such as 2016-11-18 Letter Smith to Jones (if you tell them that is the name format you want to use) without you having to put post-it stickers on every document. Such specialist legal reprographics services tend to be available only in central London and other large cities so you may need to travel to deliver the documents to be scanned or else send them by a secure postal service which will involve a short delay. 

Loading paper documents to Google Drive using a phone/tablet camera

You can use the Adobe Acrobat Reader Mobile app on a phone or tablet to load copies of paper documents to your Google Drive folder. The quality of the image won't be as good as if a traditional scanner had been used - and if there is litigation you will probably at some point need to get the documents scanned in again using a proper scanner - but for making initial PDF copies of a limited number of documents when you are away from base so that you can, for example, obtain initial urgent advice from a barrister, it can be useful. See here for how to scan in multi-page document as a PDF. Once you get the Your PDF has been saved in Acrobat message, press Share then Share File to save to Google Drive.

If you have an android device you can, instead of using the Adobe Acrobat Reader Mobile app, use Google Drive's own scan facility. See here for a tutorial. As explained in the tutorial, after photographing each page of a document, you tap the + button to photograph the next page of the document, and, when you have photographed the last page of a particular document, you tap the tick button.

Loading Electronic Files

Files on computer, tablet, phone etc. are called electronic files. If the files are already in PDF form (or are digital photos) you can load them direct to Google Drive and then rename the copy in Google Drive to be like this 2016-11-18 Letter Smith to Jones Alternatively you might find it easier to make copies of files on your device first and rename those copies on your device (don't rename the originals on your device) to the form 2016-11-18 Letter Smith to Jones before loading them to Google Drive. Any original files (other than digital photos) which are not PDFs must first be copied to individual PDFs before loading them to Google Drive. If you have a number of PDF copies to rename you can save time by using a specialist legal reprographics service such as Legastat to rename the PDF copies before you load them. There are two ways of loading PDFs (and digital photos). 

Method 1: Initiate the load from inside Google Drive

Tap on your Google Drive folder to open it, and a panel similar to that shown below will appear

If you are on a computer then there should be a rectangular New button in the top left hand corner, or if you are using a phone or tablet there may be a circular blue button like this: 

Click on the rectangle or tap the blue circle and select the File Upload option. You can then select the PDFs you want to load to your Google Drive folder.

Method 2: Share files to Google Drive

When you are displaying a document or list of documents on your device, if there is a share symbol like this:

you can tap the share symbol and select the Google Drive symbol
to load PDFs to your Google Drive folder.

Loading copies of web pages to Google Drive

If the contents of web pages are relevant, you can make PDF copies and load the PDFs to your Google Drive folder using either of the methods described above.

Check the date and title of all documents and rename as necessary

Once you have loaded the PDFs to Google Drive you need to rename any which do not already have a date prefix in yyyy-mm-dd format (or which do not have a useful description). To rename a file, tap on it so that it is displayed and you can see the date in the document, like this:


Then select the more actions button (three vertical dots) and select Rename as shown below


Then type in a date of the document at the beginning of the document name in yyyy-mm-dd format (and if necessary amend the description) as shown below

Select OK to rename the file.

Then left swipe (or click the Next button on the right hand side of the screen if not using a touchscreen) to go to the next document and rename that if necessary, and carry on until all documents are correctly named.

Once every document in your Google Drive folder has a date prefix in yyyy-mm-dd format they should appear in chronological order. as shown below

Check that the documents do appear in chronological order. If any document appears out of order then that is probably because the date has not been entered in the correct format. The example below illustrates this. You can see that the document dated 25th March 2005 has a zero missing making it appear in the wrong place. Also the two documents at the bottom are out of sequence because the dates have mistakenly been entered in dd-mm-yyyy format rather than the correct yyyy-mm-dd format.

If any document has a date which is not in yyyy-mm-dd format, rename it. If it is a photo or other documents that you do not know the exact date of you can name it like this

1995-06-xx   Photo Brookwood         if you are at least sure what month it was taken in  

or 1995-xx-xx   Photo Brookwood - summer 1995  if you only know the year and season

Check that the filename for each document is correct and meaningful and rename as necessary. The objective is that the description should be concise but should be sufficient to enable anyone to identify the document. So in the case of a letter, a concise description would indicate that the document is a letter and give the name of the sender and addressee:

2015-08-22   Letter John Smith to Paula Jones   

When typing in the document name bear in mind that later on you may be providing copies of documents if you correspond with other parties and if there is litigation the same description will eventually be used when documents are listed in a court/tribunal hearing bundle which contains both your documents and the other side’s documents so use an objective description which will be, and will remain, meaningful to others and not just a description which is relative to you and to today's date. For example do not use 

2006-05-29 Letter sent out

2006-05-29 Letter from me to John Smith

2006-05-29 Letter sent to John

but rather:

2006-05-29 Letter Jane Jones to John Smith

In the case of a photo the exact date of which is unknown, do not use relative terms such as Taken recently, Taken a few months agoTaken last yearTaken 3 or 4 years ago etc. but use an objective description such as

2016-xx-xx   Photo Brookwood - summer 2016 

Here are some other examples:

2016-05-29 Letter John Smith to Phillip Jones

2016-05-29 Memo John Smith to Phillip Jones

2016-05-29 Purchase Order 00012345 

2016-05-29 Invoice 00001452

2016-05-29 Agreement 

2016-05-29 Cheque 0005562

2016-05-29 Bank Statement John Low 01378256

2016-06-15 Photo Brookwood Garden 01

2016-06-20 Email at 18.22 Phillip Jones to John Smith

If you have a number of emails you will probably be using a software/service to create PDF copies with the PDF name generated automatically from the date, time, sender, etc details in the email header, rather than typing the PDF names individually. You do not have to use the exact format 2016-06-20 Email at 18.22 Phillip Jones to John Smith Any similar PDF name format generated can be used as long as it commences with the date in yyyy-mm-dd format followed by the time in such a format that the PDFs will appear in chronological sequence. So 

2017-02-28   Email at 22.44 John Smith to Paul Jones


2017-02-28   Email @ 22.44 John Smith to Paul Jones


2017-02-28   22.44 Email John Smith to Paul Jones


2017-02-28T22-44 [John Smith] to Paul Jones

would each be acceptable but whichever naming system is used for the time it is important to be consistent otherwise emails for a particular day will not appear in the right sequence.  


The information on this page about specific computer techniques is provided for information purposes only. Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate and up to date at the time it was written but no responsibility for its accuracy, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by me. You should satisfy yourself, before using any of the techniques, software or services described, that the techniques are appropriate for your purposes and that the software or service is reliable.

Any explanation about naming conventions or other matters in the context of tribunal or court procedure is only an overview and in order to be reasonably concise I have had to leave some details out - details which are likely to affect what the procedural law would say about your own situation. So please do not rely on the above but contact me for advice.

This page was lasted updated in March 2017. Disclaimer