Let's say you need to create a bunch of new folders in Google Drive and the folders are meant to be shared with and named after people in the organization. This is a pretty common scenario that comes up a lot. For instance,

  • You've taken on a new class of students and you want to create a folder for each student.
  • A new cohort of graduate students are starting and you want to create a folder for each of them.
  • It's performance evaluation season and you want to create a Drive folder for each member of your team.

Now, ordinarily this would take a lot of work. Create your folder for person A. Rename it. Share it with Person A. And repeat. Here at the TSS Software Development Lab, we've created a tool to help automate this process. It's a Google Sheet with a custom script that will create folders based on a list of names. Here's how you use it.

Creating Folders with FolderTron:

1. Open the FolderTron worksheet. You can click this link, you can search for it, or you can follow this network path to find it:

2. Go to the File menu and choose "Make a Copy". Create the copy of the spreadsheet in your Drive.

3. In the 'Name' column, add the first and last name of each person for whom you'd like to create a folder. It's important that you use the same name that the person has listed for their email address. For instance, if your recipient's email address is james.jones@tetonscience.org, make sure that the name listed is "James Jones", not "Jim Jones" or "Jimmy Jones".

4. Each folder that gets created will automatically be shared with you (as the creator and owner) and the person whose name appears in the Name column. If you'd like to share folders with additional collaborators, enter the email addresses of the collaborator. If you'd like to list more than one collaborator, you need to leave a space between email addresses, like this:

5. Once you have your list of recipients and shared collaborator email addresses completed, you're ready to start FolderTron. Open  the FolderTron menu and click on 'Complete Spreadsheet'. You may need to grant access to your Google account the first time you run this script, which is OK.

6. FolderTron will add some extra information to your spreadsheet, which you can ignore.

7. Now it's time to create your folders. Go back to the FolderTron menu and click "Create Folders". You'll be prompted to come up a name for your parent folder, then hit OK. You'll also be prompted for a folder suffix. All of the folders created will have this format: Lastname, Firstname- Suffix. You can leave the Suffix blank, but I'd recommend entering something here for the benefit of your recipient. Hit OK when you're done.

8. A small dialog box will appear to show you that the script is running. When it completes, you'll see a dialog box letting you know. You'll also see links in column F that will list the folders that were created. You can click on any of these links and they'll take you to the target folder. 

Notes and Disclaimers:

  • FolderTron will only create folders for TSS staff & employees. If your recipient doesn't have an @tetonscience.org email address, the script won't work properly.
  • Recipients with 3 or more names (e.g. "James Earl Jones") many not have their email addresses fill in properly. After running the 'Complete Spreadsheet' function (step 5), you can edit individual email addresses by hand if necessary.
  • If you don't want to share your folders with their namesakes, you can clear all of the email addresses from column E after running the 'Complete Spreadsheet' function (step 5).