The iCloud drive synchronizes files directly to your Mac. Any file that you upload to your iCloud drive from other devices, or even the web version of this drive can be synchronized or downloaded to a Mac use that iCloud and Apple account.
Also, if you want to delete a local copy of a file from this unit, but still keep it in your Apple cloud, you can do so using a terminal command. A much easier way to do this is with an extension of the Finder called iCloud Control.
Delete a local copy of an iCloud file
First, download iCloud Control, unzip it and install it. As it is an extension of the Finder, you must enable it. Now, open "System Preferences" and select the "Extensions" option. All you have to do is enable the recently downloaded extension.
Similarly, open your drive and select the file you want to delete your local copy. There will be an iCloud icon next to the search bar, click on the drop-down button next to it and select "Remove locally selected item".
Now, once deleted, you will still see a file but it will have an icon next to it. This icon is that of iCloud with an arrow pointing down. Also, if you click on this icon, you can download the file again. Also, the placeholder for the file will not take up much space on your local disk, so you should not worry about it.
You can use this tool according to your requirements
Apple cloud drive files that are downloaded to your local disk obviously take up space. If you need to keep a copy of a file synchronized with iCloud, it will not delete it. However, if you only need to store a file on this unit, keeping a local copy is meaningless and possibly a loss of disk space.
In addition, all this depends on how much storage space you have left over. For a Mac with a small disk space, it is better to keep files off your disk.
So, and as mentioned earlier, you can also delete the local copy of a file in iCloud from the terminal. But this is a clumsy process, and often, the files are gone forever. Even if you feel comfortable adjusting your Mac from the terminal, it is better to use this Finder extension that makes it easier to reverse these things.
Finally, you may have some files on your unit that have the iCloud icon and an arrow pointing up. These are files that are on your system and if you click on the icon in question, they will be uploaded to your iCloud.