How to Transfer Ownership of File in Google Drive

How to Transfer Ownership of File in Google Drive

Google Drive is a powerful cloud service for file storage and sharing. Whether you are working within an organization or school or through a personal account, there may be times you have to fully transfer a file to someone else like leaving an organization, team, or university account.

Being able to transfer ownership is useful for collaboration and continuity especially when you have to turn over files as part of your team’s work process; when leaving a team or organization or university,

In this tutorial, we will show you how to transfer ownership of your file or multiple files within Google Drive.

Understanding Ownership in Google Drive

By default, you are the owner of every file you upload to or create in Google Drive. This includes new docs you create in other Google Workspace apps like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms. You are also the owner of duplicates when you use the “Make a copy” function within Shared Folders.

When you are the file’s “Owner”, you are able to share, edit, and delete files. You are also able to share access roles like Editor, Commenter, or Viewer to other users.

Sometimes, you may own files within shared folders. If you have to verify who the owner is within Google Drive, take the following steps:

  1. Open Google Drive and click on the file you wish to check.
  2. If the sidebar is not present, you have to right click on your file and click on View Details. Scroll over to the side bar and find Owner under System Properties.

How to transfer ownership of a file in google drive

If you already own the file, it should say “me”. Otherwise, someone else will be listed as owner.

You can also check the owner within Docs, Sheets, and Slides by opening the file and going over to File > Details or Document Details.

What to Know Before You Transfer Ownership of Your Files and Folders

Transfer of ownership is through invitation only. These are some conditions before you can transfer ownership of your files.

  1. If you are using a personal Google account, you cannot transfer ownership to someone using a work or school Google account. You can only transfer to someone who has another personal account. If either you or the other personal account user gets converted to a work or school account, the outstanding transfer invitation cannot be accepted.
  2. If you are using a work or school Google account, you cannot transfer ownership to someone outside your organization or school. However, they can make copies of files you have shared with them which makes them the owner of a new file with a different unique file URL.
  3. Your invitation to transfer can be accepted or rejected. Transfer of ownership only succeeds if the person you invited to become owner accepts your invitation. You can also cancel pending invitations you have sent.
  4. Transferring ownership of a Shared Folder does not affect ownership of files contained inside.
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How to Transfer Ownership of File in Google Drive

Now that we have covered the fundamentals of ownership, here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how you can transfer ownership of a file in Google Drive.

Step 1. Share the file. Before someone can be invited to become the new owner of a file, you must first share it with them. On Google Drive, right click on the file you’d like to transfer and press Share.

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This opens the Sharing menu. On the box provided, enter the email address of the user you wish to transfer ownership to and click Share.

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To verify that you’ve given access to the file, you can check the sidebar under Who has access. If the user has successfully been added, their icon should appear here.

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Step 2. Invite users to be the new owner. While selecting the file you have just shared, go to the side bar and click on Manage access. Here you’d be greeted once again by the Sharing menu.

Click on the dropdown next to their name indicating their current access (Viewer, Commenter, or Editor) then select Transfer ownership.

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This opens a confirmation pop-up. Here, click on Send Invitation.

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Step 3. Wait for the user to accept your invitation. They should receive the invitation over email showing the following message:

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Once they have accepted, you should receive a notification like the message below.

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What Happens After the Ownership Is Transferred in Google Drive

With ownership finally transferred, you remain Editor of the file you used to own which allows you to share the file with others (if previously enabled), make changes to the file, and leave comments and suggestions.

You will not be able to delete the file and the new owner can remove or change your access.

The file also now counts towards the new owner’s storage quota.

How to Cancel Your Invitation to Own a File in Google Drive

If you still own the file, you can still cancel ownership invitations that have not been accepted or rejected. To do this, right click over the file and select Share.

Click on the dropdown next to their name indicating their current access (Viewer, Commenter, or Editor) then select Cancel ownership transfer.

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Your invitee will not be notified that the ownership transfer has been canceled. When they view your previous invitation via email, they will not be able to accept the canceled invitation and the previous email will show the following message.

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Conclusion on How to Transfer Ownership of File in Google Drive

Ownership matters are quite administrative in nature but it shouldn’t be intimidating for users to properly transfer ownerships of their files. This enables continuity across collaborative environments and makes it possible for individual users to fully declutter and organize their files.

Looking to streamline your file management across Google Drive, Docs, and Sheets? FileDrop is a free add-on that allows you to drag and drop files into spreadsheet cells with automatic linking and adds them to your Google Drive. It also has powerful features like OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and converting PDFs and images to text directly within Google Docs and Sheets. Install FileDrop for free using this link.

You can learn more on how FileDrop can make your Drive, Docs, and Sheets experience more tightly integrated by visiting FileDrop.

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