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What Do Various Icons and Symbols Mean in Google Drive

by Mehvish
meaning of google drive icons and symbols explained

While navigating the Google Drive app, you may see some icons and symbols that might confuse you. Maybe you are using Google Drive for the first time or maybe it has some new features. Either way, you don’t know what that icon means. In this post, we explain the meaning of all Google Drive symbols and icons. We have mainly focused on Google Drive mobile apps. But the same icons are visible on the browser as well. We have also covered some additional icons for PCs.

Camera Icon

This icon represents the scan functionality. Tap on this to open the camera viewfinder that lets you scan documents and save them in your Google Drive. You can access the scan functionality by tapping on the New button as well present right below the Camera icon.

6 Square Icon or Three-bar Icon

You can see either of the icons in the top-right corner. These icons let you switch between grid and list view. Tap the 6-Square icon to switch to the grid mode and similarly, tap the three-bar icon to view the files in the list format.

Star Icon

The star icon under various files and folders means the item is added to the Starred list. For the unaware, the Starred list is like your favorites or bookmarked folder where you add frequent or important files or folders. You can access all your Starred items from the Starred tabs at the bottom of the Google Drive app. To star something, tap on the three-dot icon and select Add to starred.

Person Icon

An icon having two humans means that the file or folder is a shared folder and someone else also has access to it. To know who can access the item, tap on the three-dot icon next to the file/folder and select Manage Access.

For Google Drive folders on PC, you might see a person icon inside the folder icon for shared folders.

Curved arrow Icon

If you see a curved arrow icon on a folder or file in your Google Drive, it means that the particular item is a shortcut file.

Google Drive lets you create shortcuts for your files and folders. Shortcuts allow you to create copies of a file or folder without taking up extra storage. That is, such an item will take up storage only in one place (the original place) but you will be able to access it from different locations. You can add the shortcuts either to the main screen of Google Drive or in any other folder.

Tip: Tap on the three-dot icon next to the shortcut file and select Show File Location to go to the original location of the item.

Colorful Folder Icons

You can customize the folder color icon and keep a different color for important folders in Google Drive. That’s the reason why you might be seeing blue, red, green, or any other color for folders.

Black Checkmark Icon

The black checkmark icon in Google Drive means that the file can be accessed and edited even when you are offline (without the Internet).

Common File Types Icons

The following icons represent different file types. You will see the icons based on the type of the file.

Google File Icons

  • Blue icon with two and a half line: Google Docs
  • Green Colored T icon: Google Sheet
  • Purple icon with three lists: Google Forms
  • Yellow icon with white rectangle box: Google Slides
  • Red icon with a circle and square: Google Drawings

Microsoft File Icons

  • Blue icon with W symbol: Microsoft Word document
  • Green icon with X symbol: Microsoft Excel
  • Orange icon with P symbol: Microsoft Powerpoint

Tip: You can also upload PDFs to Google Drive.

Other File Types

  • Red icon with PDF text: PDF document
  • Red icon with mountain symbol: Picture
  • Red icon with three cuts at the top: Video
  • Red icon with headphone: Audio
  • Two lines with down arrow in grey color (or blue paper icon with folded corner): ZIP file

Drive Selection Icons

Selecting any file or folder will reveal a new set of icons in the top bar of Google Drive. Here are their meanings:

  • Arrow icon inside a folder: Represents Move functionality.
  • Trash icon: Use it to delete the file or folder.
  • Square box with dots around it: Represents Select all functionality. Tapping this icon will select all the files and folders in the particular folder.

Folder Icon With + Symbol

It lets you create a new folder in Google Drive. You will see this icon while moving files.

Google Drive Icons (Web)

Four Square and Three Bar Icons

These icons let you switch between list and grid view modes.

(i) Icon

Click the i icon at the top-right corner to view more details about the selected file or folder.

Toolbar Icons

Whenever you select any file or folder on the Google Drive website, you will see the following set of icons in the toolbar:

  • Person with + icon: Click this icon to share the file or folder.
  • Down arrow icon: Use this icon to download the selected file or folder.
  • Right arrow in a folder: Use this icon to move the selected item to a different location.
  • Trash icon: It lets you delete the file or folder.
  • Paperclip icon: Use this icon to copy the link of the selected file or folder to your clipboard.

When you hover your mouse over any file or folder, you might see the following icons as well:

  • Pencil icon: This lets you rename the selected file or folder.
  • Star icon: Use this icon to add the file or folder to the starred list.

Tip: Can’t find lost files on Google Drive? We have some tips to help you out.

Time to Use Google Drive

Now that you are familiar with various icons and symbols of Google Drive, learn how to use Drive like a pro. Also, know how to free up space in it.

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