The Google Drive cloud storage system that you have access to, for free, via your Google Account can be really handy.
It’s easy to upload files from your computer or smartphone, regardless of their file type, so that you can access them later from any device where you can use a Web browser or the Google Drive app.
This ease of uploading does have drawbacks, however, as it’s easy to use up the limited amount of free storage that you have.
Luckily you can delete files from Google Drive by clicking on the file, then clicking the trash can icon that appears at the top-right of the window.
The Google Drive storage that you get for free with your Google Account lets you upload files from your computer to the cloud so that you can access those files from devices with an Internet connection.
Additionally, if you use Google Apps like Google Docs, Google Sheets, or Google Slides, files that you create in those applications will be stored in Google Drive as well.
But your Google Drive can get full pretty quickly, and having a large number of files in Google Drive can make it difficult to navigate. Our guide below is going to show you how to delete a document from Google Drive.
How to Delete Documents from Google Drive
- Sign into your Google Drive.
- Locate the document to delete, then click it to select it.
- Click the Trash icon at the top-right of the window.
Our guide continues below with more information on deleting files from Google Drive, including pictures of these steps.
How to Delete a Google Docs Document from Google Drive (Guide with Pictures)
The steps in this guide were performed in the desktop version of the Google Chrome Web browser, but will also work in other desktop Web browsers like Microsoft Edge or Mozilla Firefox.
Step 1: Sign in to your Google Drive at https://drive.google.com.
Step 2: Locate the file that you want to delete, then click on it once to select it.
If you wish to delete multiple documents from Google Drive, hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard first, then click each of the files that you want to delete.
Step 3: Click the Trash icon at the top-right of the page.
Alternatively, you can right-click on the selected file, then choose the Remove option at the bottom of the menu.
How to Permanently Delete Google Drive Documents
The steps above are going to move your files to the trash, but it won’t permanently delete those files. This is beneficial if you sometimes delete files by mistake, or you discover that you need something after you have elected to delete it from your Drive.
But if you are certain that you no longer need a file and want to get rid of it forever, then you are going to have to take a couple of extra steps if you want to permanently delete a document from Google Drive.
Step 1: Select the Trash tab from the left side of the Google Drive window.
Step 2: Click on the file that you wish to delete forever.
Step 3: Click the Trash icon at the top-right of the page.
Step 4: Click the Delete forever button to confirm that you understand the file is going to be deleted permanently.
If you have other files in your trash and you want to delete those permanently as well, you can click the Trash dropdown menu at the top of the window and select the Empty trash option.
You can continue reading below for additional discussion on deleting various files from your Google Drive storage account.
Additional Information on Deleting Documents from Google Drive
- The steps above will work for other types of files in Google Drive, like a PDF or a picture that you uploaded from your computer or another device. It will also work if you have an entire Google Drive folder that you would like to get rid of.
- Your available storage won’t change until you have permanently deleted the file from your trash. Files in the trash are recoverable by clicking on the file that you wish to restore to Google Drive, then click the Restore from trash button next to the trashcan at the top-right of the window.
- Your total available Google Drive storage is affected by more than just the files you see in Google Drive. That storage is also used by other Google apps connected to your account, including Gmail. For many people, if they are near their Google Drive capacity, their Gmail account is likely the source of the issue. You will need to delete emails from Gmail if this is the case.
We mentioned it above, but it’s worth knowing that it’s possible to delete multiple files at the same time. This can be an efficient way to get rid of Google photos, documents, or other Google drive trash files that you no longer need. You can click on one file, hold down the Shift key, then click another file to select both those files and every file between them.
You can also select multiple Google Drive files by holding down the Ctrl key on your keyboard then clicking individual files. This is preferable if you don’t need to delete an entire group of files, but it can take a little longer.
If you are noticing that after you delete all the files that you no longer need, those deleted files aren’t completely gone yet. You need to go to the trash folder, where each deleted file will be listed. Only once you completely remove files from the Google Drive trash folder will you increase the amount of available storage space.
Check out our guide on Google Docs margins if you want to know more about editing that setting for the documents you create in Google’s word-processing application.
Matt Jacobs has been working as an IT consultant for small businesses since receiving his Master’s degree in 2003. While he still does some consulting work, his primary focus now is on creating technology support content for SupportYourTech.com.
His work can be found on many websites and focuses on topics such as Microsoft Office, Apple devices, Android devices, Photoshop, and more.