Overview

Drive Explorer is an add-on that works on top of Google Sheet or Google Drive. It lists your Google Drive files in an easy to visualise tabular view.

How it all started

Drive Explorer has an interesting history of how it came into existence. In late 2014, I (Ganapathy) wrote a simple JS function to generate the direct download link of a Google Drive file from its share link and hosted it on my blog. It gained traction and thousands of users started using it on a daily basis. The limitation of the tool is it can only process one link at a time.

I wanted to automate and scale the process. I was looking for a way to process a bunch of links at a time with a click of a button.

The inception of Drive Explorer

In 2018, I learned about Google Apps Script. It seamlessly integrates with the Google services to build custom apps. I made use of it to generate direct download links of all files in one's Google Drive. I published it on Chrome store for public use (then it was called Drive Direct Links).

People started using it and I received a handful of feature requests. After a lot of iterations, it has become what it is now. The script outgrew its initial scope of generating download links and that's how Drive Direct Links became Drive Explorer.

How Drive Explorer can help you

When you use Google Drive extensively, over time you will find it difficult and time-consuming to know,

  • Which file is where
  • Who has which access to what
  • Description of files
  • Created, Modified date
  • Direct download links of files
  • How to quickly rename files & descriptions
  • The size of files
  • How to share files from different folders at a time
  • Dimensions of image files
  • Duration of video files

Drive Explorer helps with all the above. You can know all the above without ever leaving your Google Sheet (When you use it with Google Sheet).

Installation

Go to Drive Explorer Google Marketplace page, click on 'Install'. Select the Google account with which you want to use Drive Explorer and authorize. Drive Explorer requires access to a bunch of things. The need for all permission is explained below.

Permissions required

See, edit, create and delete Drive files - To rename & share files from the sheet. Drive Explorer doesn't create or delete files.

Add itself to Google Drive - You can open files/folders directly from Google Drive with Drive Explorer to list metadata of the files on the browser.

See, edit, create and delete your spreadsheets in Google Drive - When used with Google Sheet, the file details are written in a Google Sheet.

Connect to an external service - To fetch the user's license details, Drive Explorer needs to communicate with the developer's backend system.

Allow this application to run when you are not present - Drive Explorer won't run on its own when you don't use it. However, to auto-refresh the sheet data on the opening of the Google Sheet (when that config is enabled), this permission is needed.

Display and run third-party web content in prompts and sidebars inside Google applications - You can pay to unlock premium features without leaving the Google Sheet using PayPal or your credit card.

Supported files

You can get details of any files within,

  • Your personal My Drive
  • Any Shared Drive (formerly Team Drive) you have access to
  • Shared with me
  • Files uploaded & synced from your devices