One of the nice things about Google Drive is the ability to make a file public on the web and then embed the file into a web page, or directly link to the document. We do this a lot here in the CTLE.

This morning I learned my carefully crafted “Save These Dates” PDF file had an incorrect workshop date. This wouldn’t be a problem for a file saved as a Google Doc, of course. But for any file Google Apps can’t edit, like a PDF, Word document, PowerPoint slide show, etc., I can’t just go make a simple text change. I have to replace the whole file with a corrected version. And deleting the old file and uploading the new one would create a new public link.

That’s a problem, because we proudly embed the flyer on our Events and Calendar page, and we include the public link in most of our email announcements. We would need to update the link in a lot of places should it change. Then I’d have to go update the link everywhere it’s referenced – assuming I even know everywhere the link has been shared. And I have no chance of knowing that. Who has forwarded the link to a friend? Where have other CTLE staff shared the link?

Have you been in this situation? Do you feel my pain? 🙂

Fortunately, instead of deleting a file and uploading a new one, you can easily replace a file on Google Drive. Since it’s fresh in my mind, here is how you do it:

Replace a Google Drive File Without Breaking It’s Link

Log into Google Drive, select the file you want to update, right-click the file, and choose Manage versions from the context menu.

Click the Upload new version button, choose your updated file and upload it. Done!

Bonus Info

By default, Drive will retain the previous version for 30 days and then trash it. If you have a records retention need to keep it longer, you have some options. Follow steps 1 and 2 above, and from there you can:

  • Download a version:

    Right of the file version you want, click the overflow menu icon┇> Download.

  • Keep file versions forever:

    Right of the file version you want, click the overflow menu icon┇> Keep forever.

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