How to Download Files and Folders From Google Drive

Google Drive logo.

Google Drive allows you to download a single, multiple, or all your files from your account to your desktop or mobile phone. You can even download your Docs, Sheets, and Slides in compatible formats on your machine. Here’s how to do that.

Before you start to download your files, make sure your device has enough free space to accommodate those files.

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Download a Single File or Folder From Google Drive

To download an individual file or folder, first, launch Google Drive on your desktop. Then find the file or folder you’d like to download. If you choose to download a folder, Drive will compress it to a ZIP file.

Once you find the item to download, right-click it and choose “Download.”

If your folder is too large in size, Drive will take a while to make a ZIP file.

Right-click a file and choose "Download."

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When your file or folder is ready to download, your computer’s standard “save” window will open. Here, select where you want to save your downloaded content, then click “Save.”

Select a folder and click "Save."

Your downloaded file or folder will be available in your specified directory, and you’re all set.

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Download Multiple Files or Folders From Google Drive

To download more than one file or folder, first, locate those items on Google Drive.

Select the items you’d like to download. You can choose multiple files by holding down Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac) while clicking on files.

Select multiple items.

When your items are selected, right-click any one item and choose “Download.”

Right-click an item and choose "Download."

Google Drive will ZIP your files and allow you to save this ZIP to your computer. You’re all set.

Download All Files or Folders From Google Drive

If you’re looking to download everything from your Drive at once, use Google’s Takeout service to do that.

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Start by launching your web browser and opening the Google Takeout site. There, log in to your Google account.

After logging in, from the top of your item list, choose “Deselect All.”

Select "Deselect All" at the top.

Scroll down and enable the “Drive” option. This ensures only your Drive contents are exported.

Activate the "Drive" option.

Scroll the page all the way down and click “Next Step.”

Select "Next Step" at the bottom.

From the “Delivery Method” drop-down menu, choose “Send Download Link via Email.” This way you’ll get a link to download all the contents of your Drive via email. From the “Frequency” drop-down menu, select “Export Once.”

Select the delivery method and frequency.

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Click the “File Type & Size” drop-down menu and choose “ZIP” or “TGZ,” depending on which format you prefer. (If you’re using Windows, you probably want ZIP.) Then, click the size drop-down menu and choose the maximum size for each archive. You may leave this to the default value if you wish.

Lastly, at the bottom, click “Create Export.”

Choose the file type and size.

Google will start creating a dump of your Drive content. When this is done, you will receive a link at your email address to download that dump.

Download Docs, Sheets, and Slides From Google Drive

Just like your files, your Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides can also easily be downloaded for offline use on your computer. You can download these files in various offline-supported formats, including the Microsoft Office format.

To do that, check out our dedicated pieces for Docs, Sheets, and Slides. They will show you, step-by-step, how to download your online office files in various formats.

Save Files From Google Drive to Your Smartphone or Tablet

For mobile phones and tablets, Google Drive offers two download options: you can make a file available offline or you can download a file to your phone.

In the first option, your file is made available for offline use, but you must use the Google Drive app to access it. In the second option, you get the actual independent file to work with in your file manager. Keep in mind that, as of this writing, you can’t download folders from Google Drive to your phone.

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To start the download process, launch the Google Drive app on your phone and sign in to your account.

In Drive, find the file you’d like to download. Then, next to that file, tap the three dots.

Select the three dots next to a file.

In the menu that opens, to make your file available offline, tap “Make Available Offline.” To download the file to your file manager, select “Download.”

Make the file available offline or download it.

Google Drive will save the file to your phone accordingly. Enjoy!


If you’re looking to upload files to Google Drive, it’s equally easy to do that. Check out our guide for step-by-step instructions.

RELATED: How to Upload Files and Folders to Google Drive