Google Drive - Creating a folder and loading pdfs


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

2. As with all software services, new versions of Google Drive with slightly different screen layouts are introduced from time to time. Also there may be minor differences depending on the device you are using - whether you are using a touch screen or a mouse, for example - so the illustrations below may not match exactly what you see when using Google Drive but they should be near enough to give the general idea.

3. If in the future you are involved in litigation you will need to use Caselines DCS so you might prefer to use DCS 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 DCS if litigation ensues, so, at the stage when litigation has not yet commenced, most clients use Google Drive but note that 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.

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, tap the New button. What the New button looks like depends on what kind of device you are using. It may be a circle or a rectangle, it may or may not have the word New on it, but it should have a plus sign on it. 

After tapping the New button select Folder from the menu.

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. If there are just a few relevant emails none of which have attachments, you can use the simple method here to create a PDF copy of each email which you can then load to Google Drive. If any of the emails have attachments, or if there are a large number of relevant emails, you can Create EML (or MSG) copies of the emails in a temporary folder and load the EML files to Google Drive or (preferably) use PSTViewer to create PDF copies from the EML files, before loading the PDF copies to Google Drive.  

After you have loaded PDF copies of relevant emails you then need to 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 good quality 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 £150. 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 MFCJ6530DW 

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

It is important that all pages of a single document should should be scanned into a single PDF

If you have to carry out more than one scanning operation for a document - for example if you have a document consisting mainly of A4 written pages but also including an larger size plan, you might put the written pages through the document feed but use the flatbed for the plan so that you may start with two PDFs. You then need to merge them into one PDF. One of the easiest ways to merge PDFs is to use - chose the Merge PDF option.   

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 single 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, or a PDF containing more than one document). 

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 device with a USB socket (e.g. if you only have an iPad) 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 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

Tap the New button. What the New button looks like depends on what kind of device you are using. It may be a circle or a rectangle, it may or may not have the word New on it, but it should have a plus sign on it. 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. 

Note that Land Registry Documents and Planning Permission documents are named differently with the reference number at the front and the date at the end of document description. This is so that all documents for a particular land title number, or planning application number, are grouped together

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, say what you know about the date at the end of the title like this

1995   Photo Brookwood - spring 1995

1995-10   Photo Brookwood - October 1995

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

Do not use 

2017-03-22 Photo of my garden

but rather:

2017-03-22 Photo of No 22 garden

In the case of a photo the exact date of which is unknown, do not use relative terms such as taken two  years ago because by the time your case gets to court/tribunal it might not be clear which year you mean. Use an objective description such as

2015   Photo of Brookwood - summer 2015 

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.  

Land documents and Planning Permission documents

Land Registry documents and planning permission documents are named slightly differently so as to ensure that all documents for a particular title and document type, or all documents for a particular planning permission are grouped together. 

Land Registry documents should be named starting with the title number, followed by on space and then the document type, followed by one space and then the date in yyyy-mm-dd format, like this:

AB123456 Register of Title 2017-06-22

AB123456 Title Plan 2017-06-22

AB123456 Transfer 2010-05-11 

AB123456 Transfer 2017-08-03 

AB123456 Transfer 2017-10-27  

Conveyances - which are documents transferring ownership of land before it was registered - are normally named e.g.

05-10-1998 Conveyance

However an official copy of a conveyance filed under a registered title should be named e.g.

AB123456 Conveyance 1998-10-05

Planning permission documents should be named starting with the planning application number, followed by the type of document, followed by the date, like this:

2016-12345 Application Form 2016-05-17

2016-12345 Plan 106 Rev B 2015-12-15

2016-12345 Plan 112 Rev A 2016-02-28

2016-12345 Grant of Planning Permission 2017-03-20

Note: the planning application number, which is allocated by the planning authority when an application is received, will often contain a slash - e.g. 2016/12345. Because many computer systems - e.g. Windows - do not accept a slash character in a file name you will need to change this to a dash or a space - e.g. 2016-12345. It does not really matter whether you choose a dash or a space but whatever you choose you should use consistently so that all documents for a particular planning application number are grouped together.     


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. Any sample screen layouts are based on the version of software current when the screen shot was taken and may be different now. 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.

This page was lasted updated in May 2018. Disclaimer