Move a Drive file

Move a Drive file to a different folder, give it a different name, or both. Note that folders on Google Drive are not like folders on your local filesystem. They are more like a label, which implies that a Drive file can have multiple folders as direct parent! However, most people still use and think of them like "regular" folders. When we say "move a Drive file", it actually means: "add a new folder to this file's parents and remove the old one".

drive_mv(file, path = NULL, name = NULL, overwrite = NA,
  verbose = TRUE)

Something that identifies the file of interest on your Google Drive. Can be a name or path, a file id or URL marked with as_id(), or a dribble.


Specifies target destination for the new file on Google Drive. Can be an actual path (character), a file id marked with as_id(), or a dribble. If specified as an actual path, it is best to explicitly indicate if it's a folder by including a trailing slash, since it cannot always be worked out from the context of the call. Defaults to current name.


Character, new file name if not specified as part of path. This will force path to be treated as a folder, even if it is character and lacks a trailing slash. Defaults to current name.


Logical, indicating whether to check for a pre-existing file at the targetted "filepath". The quotes around "filepath" refer to the fact that Drive does not impose a 1-to-1 relationship between filepaths and files, like a typical file system; read more about that in drive_get().

  • NA (default): Just do the operation, even if it results in multiple files with the same filepath.

  • TRUE: Check for a pre-existing file at the filepath. If there is zero or one, move a pre-existing file to the trash, then carry on. Note that the new file does not inherit any properties from the old one, such as sharing or publishing settings. It will have a new file ID. An error is thrown if two or more pre-existing files are found.

  • FALSE: Error if there is any pre-existing file at the filepath.

Note that existence checks, based on filepath, are expensive operations, i.e. they require additional API calls.


Logical, indicating whether to print informative messages (default TRUE).


An object of class dribble, a tibble with one row per item.

  • drive_mv
## create a file to move
file <- drive_upload(drive_example("chicken.txt"), "chicken-mv.txt")

## rename it, but leave in current folder (root folder, in this case)
file <- drive_mv(file, "chicken-mv-renamed.txt")

## create a folder to move the file into
folder <- drive_mkdir("mv-folder")

## move the file and rename it again,
## specify destination as a dribble
file <- drive_mv(file, path = folder, name = "chicken-mv-re-renamed.txt")

## verify renamed file is now in the folder

## move the file back to root folder
file <- drive_mv(file, "~/")

## move it again
## specify destination as path with trailing slash
## to ensure we get a move vs. renaming it to "mv-folder"
file <- drive_mv(file, "mv-folder/")

## `overwrite = FALSE` errors if something already exists at target filepath
drive_create("name-squatter", path = "~/")
drive_mv(file, path = "~/", name = "name-squatter", overwrite = FALSE)

## `overwrite = TRUE` moves the existing item to trash, then proceeds
drive_mv(file, path = "~/", name = "name-squatter", overwrite = TRUE)

## Clean up
drive_rm(file, folder)
# }
Documentation reproduced from package googledrive, version 1.0.0, License: MIT + file LICENSE

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