Google Drive is one most popular cloud storage services and is an integral part of Google Workspace. It offers users 15GB of free cloud storage that can be used to store Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, as well as PDFs, images, videos, and more. It’s like your own personal workspace on the web.

The best part about the software is that it allows you to transform this workspace into a collaborative hub by sharing files, folders, and sometimes, entire drives with others. The process varies depending on your device. This article walks you through the most common way to share Google One files with friends and colleagues. Whether you’re sharing summer vacation photos taken on one of Samsung’s top smartphones or sending your coworker the quarterly earning report from your laptop, we’ve got you covered.


Share Google Drive files by sending invitations

Google Drive lets you collaborate with people by inviting them directly to the file or folder. Here’s how.

Share a file or folder using the web app

  1. Go to Google Drive and log in with the appropriate Google account.
  2. Navigate to the file or folder you wish to share with someone.
  3. Right-click and choose Share.

  4. Type or paste the email address of the person you’re granting access to the file in the Add people and groups box. You can add multiple emails if there is more than one collaborator.
  5. Choose the appropriate file access permission from the drop-down menu on the right (Viewer, Commenter, or Editor).

  6. Click the Send button in the lower-right corner of the dialog box. Your file or folder is shared with the emails alongside an email notification.

If the file is a Google Doc, Sheet, or Slide and is open, select the Share button in the upper-right corner of the screen. For PDFs, videos, and images, tap the three-dot icon followed by the Share button.

How to share multiple files and folders simultaneously with the Google Drive web app

  1. Select the files or folders by holding the Shift key while clicking with your mouse.
  2. Release the Shift key and right-click any of the selected items to open the Options dialog.
  3. Click Share.
  4. Add collaborators’ emails in the Add people and groups box.

Share a file or folder using the Google Drive mobile app for Android and iOS

  1. Launch the Google Drive app on your phone.
  2. Locate the file or folder you wish to share.
  3. Tap the three-dot icon to open the Options menu and tap Share. If the file is open, use the Share button (an avatar with a plus sign) on the title bar.

  4. Insert as many email addresses in the Add people or groups box.
  5. Configure their permissions.
  6. Tap the Send button in the lower-right corner of the screen.

Unlike the web app, there’s no way to select and share multiple files simultaneously on mobile.

If you want a more elaborate file-sharing method, Google Drive offers links that can be copied and sent to other platforms. Users can click the link to see or modify the content based on the permission settings. Here’s how to use it.

Share a file or folder using the web app

Sharing files by links isn’t much different from adding collaborators via email. To do this:

  1. Right-click the file or folder you wish to share.
  2. Click Share. Then, go to the General access section. If the file is an open Google file (Docs, Sheets, or Slides), use the blue Share button on the top right.

  3. Click the Restricted button to open a drop-down menu.

  4. Select Anyone with the link from the options and edit the permissions on the right.

  5. Click Copy link in the lower-left corner of the dialog box. The file URL is saved to your clipboard.

  6. Share the link with anyone on any platform.

  1. Select all the items you wish to share.
  2. Right-click to open the Options dialog.
  3. Click Share.
  4. Configure the permission settings for the items using the General access option or specify permissions for individual files.

  5. Click Copy links in the lower-left corner of the box. The links are copied to your clipboard and can be sent to anyone in bulk.

Anyone on the internet can access the file or folder if they get their hands on your links. Make sure you don’t share any private information.

Share a file or folder using the mobile app

  1. Open the Google Drive app and locate the file or folder you want to share.
  2. Tap the three-dot icon to open the options menu.
  3. Tap Copy link. This saves the file URL to your clipboard. You still need to update the permissions.

  4. Tap the three-dot icon again and select Manage access.
  5. Click Restricted.

  6. Choose Anyone with the link.

  7. Tap Viewer to adjust the permission level.

To make the process faster, go to the Manage access option and change the permissions before copying the link using any of the link buttons beside General access.

Share an entire Google Drive

You can only share a few files or folders simultaneously, whether you’re adding collaborators or copying file links. When you want to share your entire Google Drive with someone else, you have two options. One is great and the other is not as great. Let’s start with the not-as-great option.

Use the download and upload method

With this method, you download files from one drive and upload them to another. If you don’t mind the limitations, use this method to share an entire drive. Here’s how it works:

  1. Log in to the old Google Drive account.
  2. Create a new folder in My Drive.
  3. Select all the items using Ctrl+A.
  4. Copy the items using Ctrl+C and paste them into the folder with Ctrl+V.
  5. Right-click the new folder.
  6. Select Download from the options and wait until the process finishes.

  7. Open the new account and go to My Drive.
  8. Click New and select Folder upload.

  9. Choose the folder from your file manager. It uploads to the new drive.

The upload and download process only makes sense for moving items from an old drive or account you wish to deprecate to a new one.

There are many downsides to this process. First, it consumes data, anywhere from a few megabytes to gigabytes, depending on the number of files. You might also waste time waiting for downloads and uploads. But those aren’t the main issues.

On the technical side of things, the files are added to the drive as new uploads. You’ll lose collaborators, document histories, comments, and other information stored in the file. Also, if you’ve been added as a collaborator to a file, you can’t access it until the owner adds your new email.

Use shared drives

A shared drive is the way to go if your goal is to create a drive that belongs to a team instead of one individual. It’s a collaborative space where teams can store and access files from any place and at any time. Each shared drive can contain up to 600 people when added individually. However, the number can go up to 50,000 when 100 groups are added, each containing 500 people. Once a group is added to a shared drive, all future members of the group automatically get access to it.

Shared drives are only accessible to Google Workspace accounts, so overall control is with administrators. Admins can give members access levels that determine how much they can modify the shared drive files. For example, members with Viewer and Commentator access can view and comment on files, respectively, while contributors can add and edit them. Meanwhile, content managers can move files to Trash without deleting them permanently, while members with Manager access can permanently delete files from Trash. To learn more about shared drives, check out Google’s guide.

Take collaboration to a new level

The best part about Google Drive is its seamless cloud integration and web synchronization that allows people worldwide to work together without hiccups. Follow the steps above to increase collaboration with colleagues and take your productivity to the roof.

If you’re just getting started with Google Drive and want to learn its ins and outs, you’ll want to check out our Google Drive beginner’s guide

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