How to Copy Folders in Google Drive

There are several easy workarounds that work

What to Know

  • Make a copy of files in the original folder and move them into a new one in Google Drive.
  • Alternatively: Download files from the folder to your computer, then upload files to new Google Drive folder.
  • Third way: Using Google Drive for Desktop, copy folder to your computer, then sync new folder back to Google Drive.

While it should be simple to copy folders in Google Drive, there actually isn't any such feature available. However, there are several workarounds you can use to copy folders and all of their contents when you're using Google Drive for desktop.

Can You Make a Copy of an Entire Folder in Google Drive?

You can't copy an entire folder in Google Drive in just a single click. However, there are two methods you can use to copy a folder and all files into another new folder.

There is no option to copy an entire folder in Google Drive using the Drive mobile app either. So you'll have to use one of the options below whether you're using the browser or the mobile app.

Copy an Entire Folder in Google Drive

You can create a copy of the folder contents and move those copies to a new folder.

  1. Open the folder on Google Drive that you want to copy. Select the first file, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and select the last file. This will select all files in the folder.

    Selecting Google Drive folder files.
  2. Right-click inside the highlighted area and select Make a copy.

    Make a copy menu item highlighted in Google Drive.
  3. This will create a copy of all files, with the words "Copy of" in front of each of them. Select all of these files using the same Shift key process you used above.

    Copied files highlighted in Google Drive.
  4. Right-click in the shaded area and select Move to.

    Move to highlighted in the Google Drive menu.
  5. This will open a small navigation window. Navigate to where you'd like to place your new folder and select the small folder icon with a plus sign on it in the lower left corner.

    Creating a new folder in Google Drive.
  6. Name the folder and then select the Move Here button. This will move all of the files you've selected into your newly created folder.

    The files now in a new Google Drive folder.

    You will need to rename each of the files to remove "Copy of" so each file has the same original name.

  7. This process does take a few steps, and requires the annoying added step of having to rename all of your copied files.

Copy Entire Folder By Downloading the Folder and Then Uploading it Again

If you'd rather not have to rename the files after you move them, another approach is to download the entire Google Drive folder contents to your computer and then upload them into a new folder in Google Drive.

  1. Select all of the files in the folder you want to copy. Right-click in the highlighted area and select Download.

    Downloading files from Google Drive.
  2. Google Drive will zip the files and download them to your computer. After it's downloaded, select the dropdown arrow near the file name and select Show in folder

    The Show in folder button highlighted in Google Drive.
  3. Move the file to a new, empty folder on your computer. Then right-click the ZIP file and select Extract All.

    You may need to choose a path to extract the contents to, and then choose Extract.

    The archive of files downloaded from Google Drive about to be extracted.
  4. Go back to Google Drive and navigate to the location where you want to place your newly copied folder. Select the New button and then select Folder. Give the folder any name and then select Create to create the folder.

    Steps to create a new folder in Google Drive.
  5. Open the new folder you've created. Right-click anywhere in the blank space inside the folder and select File upload.

    Selecting File Upload in a Google Drive folder,
  6. Navigate to the folder on your computer where you extracted the files. Select the extracted files and then select the Open button.

    Choosing files to upload to Google Drive from file explorer app.
  7. This will place the files you downloaded from the original Google Drive folder into this new folder. They will still have the original names, so you won't have to fix the file names in this case.

    Files uploaded from computer to Google Drive.

Copy a Folder with Google Drive for Desktop

If you plan on copying folders often in Google Drive, a much more convenient way to do this is using the Google Drive for Desktop app.

  1. Before you can copy a folder with Google Drive for Desktop, you'll need to install it. This process works for any Windows-based PC or Macs computer. Just log into your Google Drive account, select the gear icon at the upper right, and select Get Drive for desktop.

    Where to download Google Drive for Desktop.
  2. In the initial install screen, make sure to enable both of the checkboxes so your link folders on both your computer and Google Drive are easy to find. Select Install to initiate installation.

    Decisions highlighted when installing Google Drive for Desktop.
  3. Select Google Drive on the left menu. You have two options to sync files: Stream files which will only sync files on which you've manually enabled syncing, and Mirror files which will sync your entire Google Drive (which could consume a lot of disk space). Once you've made your choice, select Save.

    Confirming the location of the Google Drive.
  4. Once sync is set up, you can access the Google Drive folder you want to copy via File Explorer. Right-click the folder and select Copy.

    Copying original folder in file explorer app in Windows.
  5. Paste the folder anywhere in the Google Drive folder structure where you'd like it to go. You can rename the folder after pasting it if you like.

    Screenshot of copied folder
  6. Once the new folder on your computer syncs with Google Drive, you will see the copied folder appear with all of the contents from the original folder.

    The copied folder in Google Drive.
  • How do I share a folder in Google Drive?

    Just like with documents, you can share entire folders and their contents using Google Drive. To do so, right-click the folder in Drive, and then select Share. You can also click the down arrow next to the folder's name after you open it. Change permissions if needed, and then enter the emails of the people you want to share the folder with.

  • How do I download a folder in Google Drive?

    To download a Google Drive folder, right-click its line on the My Drive screen. From the menu that appears, choose Download. Google Drive will compress the folder and save it to your hard drive.

  • How do I upload a folder to Google Drive?

    The easiest way to upload an entire folder into Google Drive is to drag it in from your hard drive. You can do so on the website or using the Drive for Desktop app.

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