How to delete all Docs in Google Docs

Who I am
Aina Prat Blasi
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Deleting files in Google Docs shouldn't be a chore. We often find ourselves overloaded with files, photos, music and years of data that we no longer need. If your Google Docs are filling up a bit making it difficult to find documents, there are ways to organize and eliminate unwanted content.

Occasionally you may find yourself staring at a complete list of files you don't want, don't need, or just don't have enough space to keep them all.

Personally, it's not uncommon for my Google Docs list to show hordes of unnamed files, duplicates, and shared documents that you no longer work on. Google makes saving and sharing files so incredibly easy that after a while all of those documents will clutter up your Google Drive, decreasing your productivity and increasing your stress level.

So how do you get rid of all these unwanted files from Google Docs? Are there files that are worth keeping and those that you have chosen to delete, have they really, really been deleted?

You will find that Google Drive will be useful to you in this process, so it would be useful for you to learn how to use Google Drive well.

How to delete files from Google Docs

The title might say "multiple," but I will also cover the approach used for deleting single files. To delete a single file from your bloated Google Docs list:

  1. While in Google Docs, choose the file you want to delete and left-click the Menu icon (indicated by three vertical dots) for that file.
  2. From the options provided in the pop-up window, select Remove to remove it from the list.
  3. A dialog box will appear at the bottom of the screen indicating that the file has been moved to the trash. On the right side of the dialog is the option CANCEL. click on CANCEL if you eliminate a file accidentally.

How to delete multiple documents

Google Docs was not designed to organize your documents, you cannot delete multiple files at the same time. Instead, you'll need to go to Google Drive. Fortunately, you can delete multiple Google Docs from Google Drive.

Open the list of closed files.

Left-click on a file you want to delete. If this is the only file you want to delete, you can click the del icon Trash can at the top left or right-click the file and select Remove from the menu.

To delete multiple files, after left-clicking on the first file, hold down the key CTRL and left-click on each of the remaining files that you want to delete.

Keep doing this until all files have been selected. If the files you want to delete are located consecutively, you can hold down the key Shift after selecting the first file and then click on the last file in the chain you want to remove.

Once all the files are selected, right-click on one of them and select Remove from the menu or click on the Trash can at the top right of the window.

All selected files will now be moved to Trash can.

Archive / hide older shared Google docs and template gallery

If you are looking for a quick cleanup of your Google Docs, there is an easy way to hide documents that have been shared with you. Often, we find that our Google Drive has become so cluttered with shared files that it can be intimidating to delete them all.

There is a one-click option to clean up the look of your Google Docs while keeping them archived for future reference.

To hide documents you don't own, do the following:

Click to open it and choose “Not owned by me”. Your Google Docs will now only show those documents that have been shared with you.

You can also use this feature to filter out files you don't own, making it easy to delete documents you no longer need.

Also, if it makes you more visually appealing to lose the template list, you can do so by opening the menu (indicated by three vertical dots) located to the right of the words 'MODEL GALLERY' and selecting Hide models.

Delete the revision history

A feature of Google Drive is that your document reviews are automatically saved without you having to do anything. To see the list of revisions, you can press CTRL+ALT+MAIUSC+H simultaneously. 

While this feature is incredibly useful if you're planning on going back to an earlier version of a document or just want to review the changes you've made, you may not want other prying eyes to see it.

By default, all revision history will be cleared automatically after 30 days. However, this may be too long a wait for some. 

The only option left is to force Google Drive to completely delete the revision history immediately and to do so you need to make a copy of that document.

What you will need to do is:

  1. Log in to Google Drive and right-click on the document with the revision history you want to delete.
  2. Select "Make a copy" from the pop-up menu.
  3. Once you've made a copy, choose to remove the recently copied document (not copying it) or select the document and click the trash can icon in the top right. This will not only remove the document, but its revision history as well.
  4. Then, right-click on the copy of the document you just deleted and select Rhinomine from the pop-up menu. Rename the document with the original title or give it a new one, then do click su OKAY.
  5. To verify, open the document and click "File". Select "View Version History" from the menu and verify that there is no more revision history for the document.

Empty the recycle bin (permanent deletion)

So far you have only removed files and documents from the view. To permanently delete one or more files, you'll need to take a little dip in the recycle bin. Once a file is permanently deleted, everyone you shared it with will lose access.

Go back to Google Drive and tap "Trash" from the menu icon. Right click on the file you want to delete and tap "Delete forever". Also take note of the “Restore” option here. If you accidentally delete an item, you can recover it from the trash folder in Google Drive.

Transfer ownership of the file

If you have a shared file (which you own) that matters to those with whom it was shared, you can transfer ownership in a few simple steps.

Anyone else you've shared a folder or file with can claim ownership if you're willing to give it up. To give exclusive ownership of a file to a shared part:

  1. Go to Google Drive and select the ownership transfer folder. If you want to select multiple folders, press and hold the key CTRL as you select each or press and hold Shift if the files are aligned consecutively.
  2. Click on the icon Share top right (indicated by the silhouette of a person with a '+')
  3. The “Share with people and groups” window will open. Select the name of the person you want to give ownership to.
  4. To the right of the future owner's name, click the down arrow icon and change it to "Make Owner".
  5. A pop-up window will appear to confirm the changes made, select “Yes” to confirm.
  6. click on end to make the transfer effective.

You can still change the folder even after transferring ownership. The new owner can decide whether or not to revoke access. You can now delete the folder from your Google Drive list and leave it safe with the new owner.

File Shredder (all deleted files)

To permanently delete all files:

  1. While in Google Drive, in the left menu, select Trash can.
  2. Make sure all the files in the list are the ones you want to completely remove.
  3. At the top of the file list, click Empty the trash to permanently delete all items in the list.

How to open a Word document with Google Docs

Further Reading:

  • How to delete a page in Google Docs
  • 2 ways to change margins in Google Docs
  • How to use Google Docs in dark mode
  • How to set up iCloud Drive on iPhone
  • How to edit PDF quickly and easily

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