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(Last Updated On: February 28, 2015)

Earlier this month, Ryan helped to demystify the concept of Cloud computing.  One of the key features of Cloud storage services such as Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox is the ability to easily share files and folders with other people.  In this Tech Tip, I’ll touch on some of the ways to share your files using Google Drive as well as a few tips on managing shared items.

The Basics

Files that you save in your Google Drive are by default private and only accessible to you, and that’s well and good because some things you just want to keep to yourself.  However, when you want to share a file with others, you have a number of options for determining who you share with and what others can do with your files.

In most cases, you probably only need to a share a file or folder with a small group of people.  In these cases, after you’ve clicked on the Share button GDrive share buttonor Icon gdrive share iconsimply type in the email address of the people you want to share with and select the appropriate permissions (View, Comment or Edit).

If you want to share with a wider group of people, you can get a shareable link.  On the initial sharing settings dialog box, click Get shareable link

gdrive shareable link

The default setting for access to a shareable link is People at Oxy with a link can view.  As with items shared by entering email addresses, you can also allow people with the link to be able to comment or edit. Moreover, you can share beyond Oxy by clicking on the down arrow and then More… below the permissions settings:

gdrive more visibility options

Now you will see several other link sharing access settings.

Gdrive linksharing options

While using the shareable link makes it very easy to distribute items, please be aware of the importance to maintain privacy and compliance with copyright and share only with those who should have access.

Advanced tips

Managing editor permissions

If you allow others to edit a file, by default you are also giving them permission to add or remove other people with whom the file is shared and to change where the file is visible.  If you need or want tighter control over who a document is shared with, you can change this default setting:

  1. Click on [Change] link located below the invitation box in the Sharing settings page.

gdrive change editor permissions

  1. Select Only the owner can change the permissions and click Save.


Managing shared items

If someone has directly shared a file or a folder with you, it won’t show up in your My Drive folder on Google Drive.  Instead, you’ll find it listed in the Incoming Shared with Me area accessed from the left-hand navigation menu.

Shared with Me - Google Drive

These shared items are listed in reverse chronological order of the date they were shared with you.  While you can work with these files, you can’t sort them or have them synchronized with your Google Drive desktop or mobile clients.  For that, you will need to add them to your My Drive folder by clicking on the folder icon listed to the right of the document you wish to add.

gdrive add to mydrive


Children are just like their parents

In the sharing permissions scheme of Google Drive, children are just like their parents.  By that I mean that if you share a folder that contains a number of subfolders, all the permissions you set for the top-level folder (the parent) will automatically be applied to the sub-folders and all the files in those folders (the children).  The takeaway is that if you don’t want certain sub-folders or individual files within a folder shared, don’t share their parent folder.

Who’s boss?

Although many people can have access to a file or a folder in Google Drive, only one person can be the Owner.  If the owner of a shared file or folder leaves Occidental, their shared items will get deleted along with their account, leaving the collaborators in the cold.

To avoid this sort of situation, the owner of the file or folder should transfer ownership to one of the people at Oxy with whom the item is shared.

  1. Click on the Share button or icon
  2. Click on the Advanced link to see a list of who the items is shared with

drive sharingsettings advanced

  1. Change the permission setting for the person who is to becoming the new owner to Is owner

gdrive change owner