Gmail works around tags (or labels) and any email message can belong to one or more tags. Google Drive however uses folders instead of tags and thus any file, or folder, can have exactly one parent folder. For instance, if you have uploaded a presentation file in FolderA, it can’t simultaneously exist in FolderB. Right?

Not really. You will be pleasantly surprised to know, at least I was, that Google Drive does allow you to place any file inside one or more folders without you having to create multiple copies of that file. This makes organization easier and if you edit this file inside one folder, all the other instances are updated as well since they are essentially pointing to the same file.

You can create symbolic links to files and folders in Google Drive

You can put the same file in multiple folders in Google Drive

Add Files to Multiple Folders in Drive

Here’s how you can place existing files or folders inside different multiple folders.

Open Google Drive in the browser and select one or more files or folders. You can use the Control key on Windows, or Command key on Mac, to select non-consecutive files and folders. Now press Shift + Z and you’ll see an “Add to Folder” pop-up. Select the folder where you wish to place the selected files and click OK.

That’s it. You have neither copied nor moved the files to that folder, you’ve merely created references to them inside the other folder. You can repeat the Shift+Z shortcut to add the selected files to any other folders in your Drive.

This little feature should come handy. For instance, if you have a folder of pictures inside Google Drive, you can Shift+Z a bunch of these pictures into another shared folder. You are saved from creating duplicate files on your Drive and if you remove a picture from the parent folder, the file is gone from other folders too.

And if you are into Google Scripts, you can also put the current folder into multiple folders programmatically as well. [H/t David Scotts]

function organizeFolders() {
  
  // Parent Folders
  var parentA = DriveApp.createFolder("Dad");  
  var parentB = DriveApp.createFolder("Mom");
  
  // Child folder inside Parent Folder A
  var child   = parentA.createFolder("Child");
  
  // Place Child Folder inside another Parent Folder B  
  parentB.addFolder(child);
  
}