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How to shorten Google Drive links the smart & easy way

Shorten Google Drive links to make sharing documents and other files even easier. Find out how to shorten Google Drive links—including link to Google Forms and Google Docs—here.
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The days of sending documents and other files via email are long gone. Waiting for an attachment to download from an email? Yuck. Even worse: trying to upload an attachment to an email, only to be told that it exceeds the accepted file size. It's a NOPE from us!

Google Drive was essentially created to save the day. The cloud-sharing platform lets you place documents, images, videos, audio, and other files in a shared digital space. Other people can then access the items they need directly via the cloud — no need for annoying attachments or tedious emails.

You only need one thing to share a Google Drive file: the URL!

Google Drive URLs can be long, complicated, and basically impossible to remember. Seriously. Imagine something like “…” And then add about 20 more letters, numbers, and symbols.

That complexity makes sharing annoying. You either have to know the link off the top of your head (good luck with that) or you have to copy and paste it to share it with someone.

Ugh. Just when you thought office life was getting easier.

Luckily, there's an easy solution. A link-shortening tool like OSlash lets you take complex URLs and simplify them into short snippets that are easy to remember and share. Read on to find out how.

How to shorten Google Drive links with OSlash

OSlash is the future of links. It lets you transform long URLs into short-and-sweet tidbits so you can navigate work and share information in an instant. Here's how to use OSlash to make Google Drive links short, making it easier to share Google Forms, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and more.

Before you begin 

The first step is installing the OSlash browser extension. To install the OSlash plug-in for Chrome, visit the Chrome store and select Add to Chrome. That’s all you need to do to start using OSlash.

You may not see the OSlash extension at the top of your browser bar if you use multiple Chrome extensions. In this case, click the puzzle icon to see all your extensions and pin the OSlash icon to your taskbar for better functionality. We explain how to do it here.

If your company has an account, you can sign in via the company account. If not, you can create your own account here. (You can also simply sign in using a Microsoft or Google account if you have one).

Create shortcuts for any link

Once OSlash is installed, it's time to start making your own custom URL shortcuts! Basically, these are modified snippets that are easier to remember, access, type, and share than full-length URLs. You might also see custom URLs called short URLs, short links, or vanity URLs.

Follow these steps to create a custom URL using OSlash:

  • Navigate to the page you want to shortcut. See that long, tricky URL in the address bar at the top of your web browser? That's what we want to replace with a shorter URL.
  • Click the OSlash extension symbol in your browser bar. Don't see it? The section above explains where it is hidden and how to pin it to your browser bar — go back up and give it a read!
  • Name your shortcut. Pick a short, easy-to-remember name and enter it. For example, if you're sharing a Google Drive link with onboarding materials for your human resources team, you might call it o/onboarding or o/new-employee-docs
  • Add a description. Adding a description is optional, but we recommend it. It makes it easier to know exactly what your Google Drive link will access. If your link is o/onboarding, the description might be "Onboarding materials for team newbies." The description also helps you search across all your shortcuts by using keywords (in case you don’t remember the shortcut in the future)
  • Click save. You're ready to start using your short, custom URL! You and your entire team in the OSlash workspace will now be able to get to this page in an instant using o/onboarding

Categorize and organize shortened links

OSlash sets URL tidbits to the public setting by default. Public shortcuts are accessible to anyone with the link. This means anyone can pass the link to another user, who can then access it (even if they aren't an OSlash member). No special permissions or referrals are needed.

However, you can change the access to private or workspace when creating your shortcut. By choosing the access setting on the extension window, you’d be able to share the shortcut according to your preference. 

Easily search and share links

Now you have at hand a Google Drive link that can be accessed using your shortcut o/onboarding. But how do you find the shortcut when you need tit? You probably don't want to browse through loads of shortcuts to find the exact one you want, right? May we introduce you to …

*Drumroll, please!*

OSlash Launcher. This launcher lets you enable keyboard navigation across your browser’s tabs, tools, history, and shortcuts. You can easily search your tabs to find what you need or search your history whenever you make a file query or create a page.

How does it work? For Mac users, press Command + J. On Windows, the command is Alt + J.

How to search & share OSlash shortcuts using the OSlash launcher

Benefits of using a customized link shortener

Look, we get it: You already have loads of extensions on your browser. Do you really need to add the OSlash URL shortening service to the lineup just to simplify your Google Docs sharing? Trust us, it's worth it. Here's how you'll benefit from this small add-on.

1. Short URLs are easier to remember

Long, complicated URLs are hard to remember and share. An app like OSlash creates a shorter, custom shortcut for your link that's easy to remember. For example, if you want to keep all your company's social media info in one folder, you might create a custom URL: o/social-media.

This is much easier to remember than a standard Google Drive link (you know, like: … and so on)! You don't have to stress about forgetting links or not knowing where to find your work info.

2. Short URLs promote sharing

Shortened URLs are also easier to share. With a quick link like o/social-media or o/content-calendar, you can easily share a link with another person (by typing it out or verbally telling them) so they can access it quickly. There's no need to send links via Gmail or chat apps. Just say the word, literally, and your co-worker, client, or friend knows where to go.

This also creates a single source of truth for everything that’s important. No more sitting on top of a graveyard of duplicate or forgotten files. The propensity to contribute to knowledge in the company is highest when everyone knows where to look for it, and that’s exactly how these shortcuts help out. 

Recommended reading: Top 5 lessons from big corporations on organizing workplace information

3. Short URLs have a higher click-through rate

Complicated URLs with a lot of letters, symbols, and numbers can appear unprofessional and untrustworthy. Vanity URLs that are short and sweet, like o/insurance, look less spammy. This kind of custom domain can result in a higher number of clicks.

4. Short URLs boost productivity

How many minutes a day do you spend typing and searching for links? How many hours do you think that adds up to in a week … a month … a year?! Yeah, we'd rather not do the math either! Link-sharing tools save time and promote productivity.

Plus, you can focus on more complex tasks when you aren't busy hunting for links. Get into the flow without stopping to find a complicated URL.

Turn links into everyday words with OSlash

OSlash is the productivity tool you didn't know you needed — until now. Forget complex, clunky, and hard-to-remember long links like What if that link could just be something like o/holiday-calendar, o/quarter-okrs, or o/payslip?

It's short, easy to remember, and fast to share. All of that adds up to greater simplicity and less stress at work. Try OSlash now and see for yourself why it's one of the best URL shorteners available.

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