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Google Sharing Fundamentals

Share files from Google Drive

Google is constantly updating their processes in order to make their products more secure and easier to use. The following information was current at the time it was uploaded. For the most current information about sharing files in Google, always go directly to: https://support.google.com/drive/answer/2494822?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en

 

You can share the files and folders that you store in Google Drive with anyone in your work or school account, but your organization may limit how you can share files with other people.

When you share from Google Drive, you can control whether people can edit, comment on, or only view the file. When you share content from Google Drive, the Google Drive program policies apply.

 

Step 1: Find the file you want to share

Share a single file

  1. On a computer, go to Google DriveDocsSheets, or Slides.
  2. Click the file you want to share.
  3. Click Share or Share Share.

Share multiple files

  1. On a computer, go to drive.google.com.
  2. On your keyboard, hold Shift and select two or more files.
  3. At the top right, click Share Share.

Learn how to add files to a folder and share the entire folder.

 

Step 2: Choose who to share with & how they can use your file

Share with specific people

If you use a Google Account through work or school, you might not be able to share files outside of your organization.

  1. Select the file you want to share.
  2. Click Share or Share Share.
  3. Under "Share with people and groups," enter the email address you want to share with. 
    • Important: If you share with an email address that isn’t a Google Account, they can only view the file.
  4. To change what people can do to your doc, on the right, click the Down arrow Down and then ViewerCommenter, or Editor.
  5. Choose to notify people.
    • If you want to notify people that you shared a doc with them, check the box next to Notify people. If you notify people, each email address you enter will be included in the email.
    • If you don't want to notify people, uncheck the box.
  6. Click Share or Send.

Share a link to the file

You can send other people a link to your file so anyone with the link can use it. When you share a link to a file, your name will be visible as the owner of the file.

  1. Select the file you want to share.
  2. Click Share or Share Share and then Get link.
  3. Under “Get Link”, click the Down arrow Down.
  4. Choose who to share the file with.

Tip: If you use your Google account for work or school, you can choose to only share files and folders with a specific audience, like your department. You might see a description of each audience when you hover over the the group name.

  1. To decide what people can do with your file when you share it, select ViewerCommenter, or Editor.
  2. Click Copy link and then Done.
  3. Copy and paste the link in an email or any place you want to share it.

Share a file publicly

Important: If you use a Google Account through work or school, you might not be able to share publicly.

  1. Select the file you want to share.
  2. Click Share or Share Share and then Get link.
  3. Under “Get Link,” click Change to anyone with link.
  4. To decide what people can do with your public link when you share it, select ViewerCommenter, or Editor.
  5. Click Done.
  6. Copy and paste the link in an email or any place you want to share it.

People who aren't signed in to a Google Account show up as anonymous animals in your file. 

Limit how a file is shared

Choose if people can view, comment, or edit

When you share a file with someone, you can choose what they can do with it.

  • Viewer: People can view, but can’t change or share the file with others.
  • Commenter: People can make comments and suggestions, but can’t change or share the file with others.
  • Editor: People can make changes, accept or reject suggestions, and share the file with others.

Change who your link is shared with

When you share a link to a file, you control how widely the file is shared. These options depend on if your Google Account is through work, school, or Gmail.

  • Public: Anyone can search on Google and get access to your file, without signing in to their Google Account. If you use a Google Account through work or school, you may not see this option.
  • Anyone with the link: Anyone who has the link can use your file, without signing in to their Google Account. If you use a Google Account through work or school, you may not see this option.
  • Your organization: If you use a Google Account through work or school, anyone signed in to an account in your organization can search for and use your file.
  • Anyone at your organization with the link: If you use a Google Account through work or school, anyone signed in to an account in your organization can use the link to your file.
  • Restricted: Only people you share the file with will be able to use it.

 

 

Google also offers “Shared Drives”

 

1. When to use shared drives

First, decide if you should use shared drives instead of My Drive.

In this section, you learn how to:

1.1 Differences between My Drive and shared drives
1.2 When to use shared drives
1.3 Common uses for shared drives

1.1 Differences between My Drive and shared drives

Some key differences between My Drive and shared drives are:

 

My Drive

Shared drives

Who can add files?

The person who owns My Drive.

Any member with Contributor access or higher.

What types of files can I add?

All file types.

All file types (except Google Maps and Data Studio reports).

Who owns files and folders?

The individual who created the file or folder.

The team.

Can I move files and folders?

Yes, you can move files and folders around in My Drive.

  • If you have Contributor access or higher, you can move files from My Drive to a shared drive.
  • If you have Content manager access or higher, you can move files and folders within a shared drive.
  • If you have Manager access, you can move files out of a shared drive or between shared drives.
  • If you want to move folders from My Drive to a shared drive, contact your G Suite administrator.

For details on adding files to a shared drive, see Get started with shared drives.

Can I sync files to my computer?

Yes, using Drive File Stream or Backup and Sync.

It depends on which sync solution you use:

  • Drive File Stream: Yes
  • Backup and Sync: No

How does sharing work?

Different users might see different files in a folder, depending on their access to individual files.

All members of the shared drive see all files.

How long do files I delete stay in Trash?

Files or folders in Trash remain there until the user selects Delete Forever.

Each shared drive has its own Trash.

  • Members with Content manager access and above can move files to Trash.
  • Files and folders in Trash are deleted forever after 30 days.
  • Members with Manager access can permanently delete files before 30 days.

Can I restore files?

Yes, if you’re an owner of the file.

Yes, if you have at least Contributor access.

1.2 When to use shared drives

Consider using a shared drive in these situations:

  • You’re working on a project or event with a group of people who all need access to the same files.
  • Most of your files are shared with the same group of people.
  • Your files share a consistent theme or topic.
  • The content you want to store isn’t personal and is of interest to a specific team or group.

Uses for shared drives

1.3 Common uses for shared drives

Common uses for shared drives include:

  • Projects—For people involved in the same project.
  • Events—For people working for a defined period of time on a specific event or deliverable.
  • Templates—For files that people can copy and reuse.
  • Company-wide files—For files everyone needs access to, such as training files.
  • Sensitive files—For highly sensitive files, where you can add extra security to limit access.

Uses for shared drives