How to add custom metadata in the Google Drive files

Many times, we need to attach some data to our existing files so that we will find those files by remembering the attached data value. If our work is based on files & folders in the Drive and wants to organize them in a better way by attaching more information like labels or metadata to our existing files, this article is the best place to start.

For instance, If a teacher needs to set student-related data like roll number, marks, student's interests, achievements, birthday to a file or folder representing that student. This attached information helps the teacher in quickly finding students' files or folders that matching the search criteria, e.g. find all the students having an interest in sports.

If a project manager needs to set project details like project number, project status, assign to a user, project deadline date, etc. to the project's files or folders and need an automatic email alert when a team user updates project status value. If the manager like to search those project files whose deadline is today or tomorrow. This can be achieved easily using Metadata Studio.

There are too many scenarios and workflows that can be performed using Metadata Studio.

Let's start step by step, How to set metadata to a file in Drive?

In this article, you will only see how to set metadata by using the concept of fields. If you need to add labels to Drive files, please read the article How to add labels to the files in Google Drive.

If you have not installed Metadata Studio, please click the below button to install the app from the market place.

  1. Launch Metadata Studio in Drive

Once you have installed the app, please reload the Google Drive webpage and you would see the Metadata Studio icon is shown in the right side bar of the Google Drive as showing in the screenshot.

Click on the Metadata Studio icon shown in the right side bar to launch Add-on.

2. Create Metadata Fields

All metadata added by the user to a Drive Item is stored in structured key-value pairs. The key is defined as a Metadata Field and when a Value is associated with it by the user that becomes metadata. The user creates Metadata fields once & these fields can be used to any Drive files & folders. In the screenshot you would see, we have created few fields like Project Deadline, Project Id & Assign To Field.

To create a new field please click on "Create & Manage Fields" option on the home page and then on the next screen click on "Create New Field".

3. Choose Metadata Field Title & Type

To Create a Metadata Field, the user needs to choose the title & type of the Field. The title represents the field name should be unique. Next, choose the type of field, Metadata Studio supports many types of fields like Text, Number, Date, Switch (for yes/no), Checkboxes(for multiple values), User & File type. Depending upon the field's type, Metadata Studio stores the field's value data and present the various options to the user in the UI. In the screenshot, we have chosen the Field title to "Assign To" and Field type to "User" type.

4. Set Email Notification option if required

If the user wants to get Email Notifications when any shared user modifies the file's metadata.

This feature sends an email notification to the owner of the file if any shared user modifies the file metadata. This is optional, if the user chooses this option, the owner would get an email once the metadata on the file is modified.

Now click the "Create" button to create the field.

5. Select a File to add Metadata

Now, select a file or a folder to which you want to add metadata.

On the right pane, Add-on would display the metadata associated with the selected file. If you have not added any metadata to this file, It will show "No Metadata Associated".

To add metadata to this file, click "Use / Manage Metadata Fields".

6. Add relevant Fields to the selected file

Next, choose the Metadata fields you want to add to the selected file. You can make any number of metadata fields, you should add only relevant fields to the file.

Like in the screenshot we have added two fields "Project Id" & "Assign To" Fields.

Once you have added the fields, click on "Show File Metadata" to see current metadata.

7. Set Metadata Fields' Values

Now set the values of metadata fields you added & click the "Save" button to save this metadata with the file.

In the screenshot, we have set values of "Project Id" & "Assign To" Fields.