Saturday, October 4, 2014

Sharing Google Docs and Folders

Google Drive is an amazing collaboration tool.  You can create folders and files and share them with others, and even all be on the documents editing at the same time.

However, there seems to be some trepidation and confusion about how to move these files around your Drive to organize them and what to do if you want to delete them.

Below is an explanation on how to share files and folders, make a copy of them, and how to handle working with, moving, and deleting shared folders.

How to Share a Google File or Folder


First you need to choose WHO you want to share with.

  1. Type in a person's name or email address to share it with that person (or multiple people).
  2. Click "Advanced" to have some more options - like sharing the document with anyone who has the link.
  3. Click "Change".  This will now let you choose who you want to share the link with.
  4. Here, you can choose to share with "Anyone with the link" if you want to just post the link to the document on School Loop, your Website, etc.  Then, anyone who clicks the link has access to the doc.

Next, you need to decide HOW you want to share the documents.  When you share a document, you have three different options:

  1. Can edit - this means that anyone can edit the document, make comments, and suggest edits.
  2. Can comment - this means that people you share it with can view the document, add comments, and suggest edits.
  3. Can view - this means that people can only view your documents.  They can't add any comments, suggest edits, or edit it.  


  • To share a folder, you follow the same steps as you do for sharing a document.  Your two sharing choices are "Can Edit" and "Can View".  
  • However, once you set the share settings for a folder, anything that you place in that folder will adopt those same share settings.  
    • Ex.  If a folder is shared with your department, so that everyone has editing rights, anything placed in that folder will automatically have those same editing rights.  You can add additional sharing rights to individual documents within a folder.

Once Things Have Been Shared with You

Where do you find them?

If someone shared a file or folder with you, you will find it in "Shared with Me" if you are still using the old Drive or "Incoming" if you are using the New Drive.  (To switch to the New Drive, click on the settings gear and choose "Experience the New Drive".)

  • If a file has been shared with you, you will either be able to edit it, comment on it, or view it. 
  • If an individual file was shared with you, and you delete or move that file, the other people it was shared with will still have access to that file. 
  • If you want to make your own copy of this file, go to the file menu and choose "make a copy".  This copy is your own and is not shared with anyone else.  You have the option to rename the document.  You will find it in your "My Drive".  For our PD Day, Don't check "Share with Others".  You will need to move this file to the correct folder, and when placed in the correct folder, it will automatically get shared.

  • If a folder has been shared with you, you will either be able to 
    • edit all files in that folder and add to that folder or
    • just view what is inside that folder but not be able to add anything to that folder.
  • If you delete that entire folder, the other people it was shared with will still have access to the folder.
  • If you delete a file INSIDE of that folder, everyone else the folder was shared with will no longer have access to that folder, even the owner/creator of that file.
    • You may get a message that the collaborators of this doc will still have access to it.  I have found that this is not true.  So NEVER delete files from a shared folder (unless everyone is actually ok with that).
  • If you move a file from INSIDE of a shared folder to somewhere outside of this shared folder, everyone else will lose access to this file.
    • Google will warn you before you move anything from a shared folder and will give you a second warning if you did chose to move it, giving you the opportunity to undo moving it.  Be sure to pay attention to all warnings.

  • If a folder is shared with you so that you can edit the contents of the folder, be sure to add that entire folder to your "My Drive".  This will allow you to move your own files into this folder.  However, even if is shows up in "My Drive", it is still shared, and anything you do to the files inside of it will affect everyone who that file is shared with.
    • In the Old Drive, check the box to the left of the folder name.  Then Choose "Add to My Drive" in the top menu.
    • In the New Drive, click on the folder.  Then click the folder w/ the Drive symbol on it.  

Video Instructions for the SUHSD PD Day
Finding a Shared Folder, Adding the Folder to "My Drive," Making a Copy of the Template File, and then Adding it back to the Shared Folder

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