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Swarthmore uses a document management system called AODocs with Google Drive. AODocs is an add-on for Google Drive that allows departments and groups to manage files instead of individuals.  Google Drive only provides file storage for individuals and does not allow files to be owned by a department. This can cause problems if important files are shared with members of a department and then the person owning the document leaves the college.  AODocs provides a means for the department or organization to own the files. AODocs ensures that files placed inside departmental or organizational folders will have the correct permissions and can be easily shared with an organizational group.  AODocs provides the following benefits:

  • Controlled permissions of folders and documents
  • Searching within a specific folder
  • Microsoft Office integration

Request an AODocs Google Drive folder

Organization Google Drive Request Form


You can view the AODocs end-user documentation:  


When you access your Google Drive, you will see a table showing your departmental folder along with folders and files created by you and/or shared with you. The last column in the table shows the Owner as a departmental abbreviation.  In the example shown below, the owner of the first file is a group called "ITS Storage."

Documents are listed in a table where the first table is the name of the document and the second is the name of the owner

Folders in your Google Drive that are not managed by AODocs will have the Owner identified as ‘me’, or an individual who shared the folder with you.

AODocs Smartbar

You will know you have successfully installed the AODocs Smartbar when you see the icon of a blue diamond sitting on top of a red diamond to the right of the URL

Important: You will need to use the Chrome browser for the AODocs Smartbar to work.

With the AODocs Smartbar, you will see the following changes:

  • In the URL bar you will see the AODocs symbol (blue and red diamonds stacked on each other) within a managed folder.
  • On the left hand side of Drive under the NEW button, you will see the AODocs library picker box where you can select and search your departmental folder.
  • The option to search within a specific folder instead of all files shared with you in Drive.
  • The option to Open With > AoDocs any document or folder in Drive.
  • The “import” button, located next to any file that is in Drive but not in your Department Folder.

The Library Picker

The library picker select box provides direct access to your Departmental Folder, even if they are not in your “My Drive”. It is located in the Drive navigation bar which is on the far left of your screen and is below the document creation button.

The AODocs Library Picker is located under the New button

To open the library list, click on the library picker select box.

Deleting Folders and Files from AODocs

In order to delete folders and files from an AODocs library you are required to use the AODocs Smartbar extension. If you do not have the Smartbar extension, and use Google Drive's "Remove" option instead, the folder/file will reappear in the library after a short time. With the Smartbar extension installed, you will see a series of icons as you hover over individual folders and files located into your AODocs library. One icon that you will see is a trash can icon (which looks almost identical to the Google Drive's trash can icon for their "remove" option). Below is a screen capture of where these icons will appear and what the delete icon for AODocs looks like.

As a note: Google Drive uses the wording "Remove" in relation to all of their delete options. AODocs will use the word "Delete" when you hover over the icons. This is a great way make sure you have the right icons.

Search in folder

The Drive search bar searches documents in every folder to which you have access. To make the results more relevant, the "Search in folder" feature displays only the search results contained in the current folder.

When you are in a managed folder the "Search in current folder" appears next to the search icon.

on the far right of the search field is an folder icon which allows you to search in a particular folder

If you proceed to search, only the search results contained in the selected folder will be displayed.

Edit your non-Google files directly from Google Drive

To open and edit your non-Google files (Microsoft Office, images, PDFs, etc.) directly from Google Drive and keep them synchronized you need to have a program able to edit those file types and the AODocs Universal File Opener installed. Once properly installed you can launch from Drive, edit, and save these files directly back to Drive.

An icon, identifying the document as a non-Google document () is displayed next to the name of your document. Click on this icon to start editing.