Collaborating with Google Team Drives

Google Team Drives has recently become available as an option for sharing files and folders. With Team Drives, documents are owned by a team instead of an individual. This means that when someone leaves the group, their files remain in the Team Drive without having to transfer ownership. Our Extension Technology team has moved to Team Drives which makes finding shared documents and folders so much easier! We also no longer need to transfer document ownership to a departmental account. We all have access to create folders and manage files within our Team Drive.
Team Drives FeaturesCan be shared to Google Groups and/or users with varying levels of accessAll members of a Team Drive see the same content Files are owned by the team, not by an individualYou can add external users to a Team Drive. The external user must have a Google account and be signed into Drive.Individual files in a Team Drive can be shared with people outside of your team Differences between My Drive and Team Drives

Google Keep

How do you keep track of the things you need to do? Paper? Memory? Calendar? App? Whatever system you are using, Google Keep is worth exploring. Even if you use a robust app like Evernote or OneNote you may decide Google Keep has a place in your workflow.

Google Keep has been around for awhile but I didn’t take a close look at it until Google Reminders were enabled for our UMN accounts. The two work well together and having the Google Keep app on my phone is what really makes the difference for me. Let me highlight some features of Google Keep and you can decide for yourself.

Install the Google Keep Chrome add-on

Without the Google Keep Chrome add-on, you can always go to the Google Keep website to manage your notes. But by adding the Chrome add-on, you can save a URL, an image, or selected text to Google Keep without having to open Google Keep itself. To install the add-on to your Chrome toolbar:
  1. Open Chrome
  2. Go to the Google Keep Chrome Extension page
  3. Click on the ADD TO CHROME button
  4. When prompted, click Add app
  5. Allow the installation to complete
Tips for creating notes from Chrome:
  • If you are on a website and you want to add a URL to Google Keep, click the Keep icon and enter a note
  • To save an image to Keep, right click on an image and choose Save Image to Keep
  • To save a block of text, highlight the text, right click and choose Save selection to Keep

Create lists, single tasks, include photos or add notes with your voice (mobile)

To create a note, open Google Keep.   

  • Add a Single Note: type in the box to add a note and more options will appear 
  • Create a List: click on List to format your note with checkboxes 
  • Add an Image: click Image to add a photo from your computer
  • Use your Voice (mobile): select the microphone icon to add a note by voice

Add a Reminder or Recurring Reminder

When you add a reminder to your note, it will appear on your Google Calendar. Reminders stay on your Google Calendar until you mark them as done.


You can share your notes with others. This is great for sharing a to-do list and check them off as you go!

Organize your notes with color, labels, archive and delete

Color is a great way to visually organize your notes. Click the Change Color button on any note:

Labels can be used to organize and view your notes. The default labels are Inspiration, Personal and Work but of course you can add more or change the labels. Click the More button to add a Label. Tip: You will find Delete and Copy here too.

To manage your Labels in Google Keep, click Edit:

Archive allows you to save notes that you no longer want displayed on your screen but you don't want to delete. Click Archive to save a note:

I've been using Google Keep for about two months and the more I use it the more I really like it. I have since stopped using Google Tasks and I've transferred everything from my Notes app on my iPhone to Google Keep. I am still working on the best way to organize my notes and also exploring creative ways to use Google Keep. Give it a try and add a comment to share what you think about Keep!


  1. Thanks for this! I didn't know this existed and am excited to try it out. I've been working to find an organization system that works for me and my busy life between work and school.

    1. This is great Molly. I'd love to hear if/how it improves your workflow over time.

  2. I love Google Keep! Thanks to your tips I will get even more out of it.

    1. Awesome Maggie. Sounds like you were already using Keep. So far it's improved my personal to-do organization which was all over the place (paper, phone, email, voicemail). Thanks for your comments!

  3. Hi Karen, its easy to manage workflows with google keep I even include my workflow diagrams in the google keep.

    1. Thank you for the tip on workflow diagrams. I've been looking at mind mapping software recently so I will definitely take a closer look.


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