Google Drive is one of the most ubiquitous cloud file storage and sharing services in the world. For many teams and businesses, it has become an indispensable tool for collaboration and keeping files synchronized and up-to-date.
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If you are just starting out, it’s best to learn how to properly share your files and folders. This tutorial covers the basics of file sharing from Google Drive and maximizing your control over how you share your files.
Step 1. Pull up your web browser and log into your account on https://drive.google.com/
Step 2. Make sure your file is uploaded properly. If your file is already in Google Drive, skip this step.
If you’re sharing a new file from your computer, drag and drop your files into your My Drive or click the + New icon and select File upload to your desired destination.
Step 3. On Google Drive, click the file you want to share. If sending more than one file, hold Shift and select the items you wish to share.
Step 5. Right click on your selection and press the Share button. This should bring you to the Share menu that lets you customize who you share your files with and apply limits to how they can interact with your files.
We will go a little bit deeper on the various sharing settings on Google Drive on the following parts of this tutorial.
Sharing Your Files with Specific People Only
Invite only the right people, accounts, or groups to access the files you are sharing from Google Drive and tinker with granular settings that protects them from unwanted access or edits.
Step 1. On the Share menu, enter the email address or Google Group you want to share your chosen files with. You can input more than one email address at a time.
Step 2. As the file owner, you can assign the role of Viewer, Commenter, or Editor to people you are sharing your files with. These roles provide an increasing amount of access to the files you share..
- A Viewer is able to view but cannot share the files with other users. They can also see comments and suggestions.
- A Commenter is able to leave comments and suggestions but is restricted from applying changes and sharing the files with others.
- An Editor can modify, copy, print, or download your files; accept or reject suggestions; remove or add people from the file; and change access permissions to the file.
Step 3 (Optional). Customize more permission settings by clicking the gear icon on the upper right corner of the Share menu. These are initially ticked by default but you can remove these privileges from people by toggling the check box.
To prevent Editors from re-sharing and modifying access permissions, uncheck Editors can change permissions and share.
To prevent Viewers and Commenters from downloading, printing, or copying your files, uncheck Viewers and commenters can see the option to download, print, and copy. Doing so grays out those options. However, do note that these permissions only limit how people interact with your files within Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
Step 4. Decide whether you want people to be notified about files you’re sharing with them by checking the Notify people box. This also allows you to add a message to the notification.
Step 5. Finally, Click Share or Send.
Sharing your Google Drive File Through a Link
Another quick and easy way of sharing your files on Google Drive is by simply sharing links. You may want to do this when providing file access to people without knowing their email addresses. There are a few steps you must take to ensure that your links are working as intended.
Step 1. After selecting your files, right click and press the Share button to open the sharing menu.
Step 2. On General access, your files should be Restricted by default and only people with Viewer, Commenter, or Editor access can open the links.
To quickly share your files using a link without granting individual access, click on Restricted and change it to Anyone with the link.
Step 3. Assign the access level to people using your link. This can be set to Viewer, Commenter, or Editor.
You can also disable your file’s download, print, and copy functions within Google Drive for people who have the link.
Step 4. Once you have finished customizing these settings, click on Copy link.
Step 5. Paste the link in an email, webpage, message, or any place you wish to share it.
If you no longer wish to share your file without deleting it from your Google Drive, you must revert General access back to Restricted. You can also change the access level of the shared files later and the changes will be applied automatically to anyone using your link.
Additionally, it’s important to note that when you’re working with people outside of your organization such as clients or agencies, you might want to restrict their access to certain files when your projects are complete.
When you share a file in your Drive, you can set an expiration date to limit or end access to that file. Below are the steps on how to do this:
- Open a file in Google Sheets.
- Click Share and then find the user you’d like to give temporary permissions to.
- If you haven’t shared the file with that person yet, add the user’s email and click Send or Share. At the top right of the document, click Share again.
- Next to the person’s name, click the Down arrow and then Give temporary access.
- Next to “Access expires,” click a date to set as the expiration date. Choose a date within one year of the current date.
- Click Save.
Google Drive makes it very easy for you to share your files while also providing a lot of customization on how you share with others. This is a key reason why Drive remains as one of the most convenient and secure tools for file management, sharing, and online collaboration.
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Learn more by visiting FileDrop.