How to Share Files on Google Drive

Google Drive and other cloud storage services have made things easier in many ways, including when it comes to sharing files. Instead of having to attach a file to an email, you can share the same copy of a file to different people. It is a practical collaboration tool that allows multiple users to work on the same file. Since Google is widely used, sharing files via Google Drive is a practical solution. Furthermore, there are many great features supported by Google Docs, including the possibility of editing files online and collaborating in real-time. If you already have a Google account, you can share files on Google Drive following this guide.

Sharing files on Google Drive

Google Drive gives you 15GB of free storage when you sign up and you can get additional storage through paid plans. There are different access levels on Google Drive so before sharing files, you need to know the main features of each of them. If you own the file, you can give viewing, commenting or editing permissions to others. With View Access, a user can download the file and save a copy to their own Google Drive account. If you grant Comment Access, you will be able to comment on files, download and save copies of the file to your Google Drive and suggest edits. With Edit Access, you can also download the files and save copies to your Google Drive account. In addition, you will be able to comment, suggest edits, edit the document and manage the sharing options. users can access the files shared from the Shared with Me tab.

Sharing files via links or emails

You can share files inviting users via email address or sending them a link. If you need to share the same file with several users, a link is the most convenient option. However, inviting users via email address is the most secure solution since it helps to prevent that third-parties can get the link and access the file. Once you select Share, you will be prompted to enter the email addresses of the users you want to share the data with. You can add a description of the files that you are sharing and the users will get notifications via email. When you click on the “Shareable link” option, that is above the Share box, a link for the file will be created and you can adjust the settings.

Changing Ownership

A file creator can give ownership of the file to another user. The file owner is the person who controls the level of access that other people gets. If the owner of the file deletes it, other people won’t be able to access that file. The central admin is the only one that can recover files that have been deleted, from the trash folder.

  1. You can change ownership of a file by going to the “Share” option and select Advanced Setting at the bottom. You will need to start by inviting a user and give them access to the file.
  2. After that, return to the Advanced sharing option. You can select any user from the shared member list. Only one person can the file owner at a given time.

How to disable printing and downloading

While all file access levels enable users to copy the files, Google Drive offers an option to prevent copies. In Sharing settings, go to Advanced and you will see the option to disable printing and download. You can give View access to a file and turn the printing and download option off. This will ensure that the file is read-only for all shared users. If you only need to share a file, but no modifications are needed, this is a good choice. Additionally, you can select the “Prevent editors from changing access and adding new people” option, to ensure that only the owner decides who can access a file.

If you own a file and you notice that there are users in that file that you don’t recognize, it is likely that someone who has sharing and editing access has shared the file with them. This may also happen if a file was originally shared via links and then it is changed to a user’s email address. You may need to allow some time to get the final list of shared since the existing sessions would need to time out first.

Sharing with Specific Domains

If Google Drive is being used by a company for everyday tasks, it is possible to enhance the security by applying restrictions on the documents that can be shared with outsiders. This can be done by ensuring that the data can’t be shared outside the company’s custom domain. This option is only available for users who have custom domains and who have signed up with Google Apps for work. By using this feature, you will ensure that not even employees with Edit-level access to files can share them with external users.

Social Media

Another practical option that Google Drive supports is to share files on social media. You can share file links from Google Drive to Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. You can follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to Share settings and select Advanced.
  2. Choose the social media option where you want to share the link to the file. If the link sharing is disabled, Google Drive will get you to grant at least View access to anyone with a link so that you can share the file.

Stop sharing a file

Go to Advanced Sharing and then go to “Who has access”, to stop sharing a file via link. To deactivate all the file links, you can select “Off-Specific people can access”. This will send a notification to anyone who is accessing the file at that time. If you choose “On-Public on the Web”, the file will be available online and can be found through a Google search. When a file is shared via email, you can stop sharing by crossing the user’s name off the shared list.

If you are the owner of a shared file and you delete it, the file will be permanently deleted and other users won’t be able to access it. Only the owner can restore to file form their trash folder. If a shared user deletes a file (for instance, to get more Google Drive storage), only they will lose access to the file since it is not really deleted.

Managing File Versions

Keeping track of who made changes can be challenging, particularly when files are shared with a large number of users. To make things easier, Google Drive offers an easy solution to manage file versions. You can see changes made to a Google doc bu clicking on the option that appears next to Help, which is at the top. If you made the last change, you will see “All changes saved in Drive”. If someone else made the last edit, you will see “Last edit made by (user)”. Once you click on these options, you will be taken to a revision history window. There, you will be able to see all edits made on a file organized by user(s), date and time. If you want to see changes on a different kind of file, such as a photo or PDf, you just need to right-click on it and choose “Manage versions”.


Google Drive allows you to share files without hassle and it supports efficient collaboration capabilities. Apart from common sharing options, Google Drive offers features that will allow you to work on projects or share files with friends and family in simple, yet powerful way.

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