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How to share files on Google Drive

Google Drive is one of the best cloud storage services you can find. It's packed full of features and functionality, including the ability to easily share files.

Here's how to share files on Google Drives in just a few quick steps.

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5 minutes

What You Need

  • Web browser

  • Google Drive account

Sharing files on Google Drive

You can share files and folders from Google Drive, and the process is the same for both. Here's how to share a file.

Step 1: Go to your Google Drive account. Navigate to the location that contains the file you want to share. Right-click on the file and select Share.

You'll notice in the file properties pane to the right that the file is currently not shared. When you share it, you'll see a list of specific users who have access to the file.

Select Share from right-click in Google Drive.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Step 2: To share the file, you'll get a link to it that you can provide to other users to access the file. By default, Google assumes that you want to give access to specific users. In the top box, type a user into the Add People and Groups box.

When you click on the box, you might get a list of recent email recipients to select from. You can also type a name into the box and it will give you options from your Google Contacts list or recent email recipients. You can also simply type in an email address.

Add users to sharing list in Google Drive.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Step 3: Select a user or type in an email address. You'll then have the option to notify the user(s) of the share link and to change their permissions. You can set a user as a Viewer (can only view files), Commenter (can view and comment on files), or Editor (can view, comment on, and make changes to files). You can also type in a message.

When you've set all of your options, you click the Send button if you want to notify the user or the Share button if you unclick that checkbox.

Note that if the recipient isn't using a Gmail account, you must click the Notify People checkbox. Also, non-Gmail users don't have to log in to access a file, while Gmail users must do so.

Set user options in Google Drive.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Step 4: If you click on the Settings cog, you can further set your sharing options. You can allow or disallow editors from changing permissions and sharing options, and give download, print, and copy rights to viewers and commenters.

Set sharing options in Google Drive.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Step 5: You can also create a link that anyone can access. To do so, click on Change to Anyone With the Link in the lower box. This will create a link that you can share with anyone, and it will default to Viewer. You can change that to Commenter and Editor, but remember that anyone with the link will be able to make comments and changes if you deviate from the default.

Notice that the top box will show users that have been specifically shared with, and the file properties pane will now show all users who have access to the file.

When you're ready, click Copy Link and then the Done button.

Create universal link in Google Drive.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Step 6: If you want to remove a user from the list, simply open up the Sharing Settings dialog and click Remove from the drop-down list.

Remove user access in Google Drive.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Step 7: To disable a link that you previously created that anyone can access, click Change under Get Link and then click Restricted from the Anyone With the Link drop-down list.

When you've made the change, click the Done button.

Remove universal access in Google Drive.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

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