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Shared Drive is not a replacement for a user’s My Drive, but another system for group data management.

In short, Shared Drive is a file-sharing platform centered around Shared objectives.  Shared Drives can be shared to Groups or Users with varying levels of access to give the highest level of visibility and security to shared resources.  It alleviates the need for files to be owned by a particular user, therefore eliminating the risk of deleting user accounts and losing the data.  What this means for schools is that no longer will one person own data within drive that could possibly be wiped if the user was to ever leave. Instead, the Shared structure owns the data and will exist for as long as the Shared exists regardless of users coming and going.


Below is a breakdown of how Shared Drive compares to My Drive:


My Drive vs. Shared Drive


Shared drivesMy Drive
What types of files can you add?All file types except files from Google MapsAll file types
Who owns files and folders? Your organizationThe individual who created the file or folder
Can I move files and folders?

Users can only move files. 

Administrators can move files and folders.

Yes
Can I sync files to my computer? 

With Drive File Stream: Yes

With Backup and Sync: No

Yes
How does sharing work?All team members see the same file set.Different users might see different files in a folder, depending on their access to individual files.
How long do deleted files stay in Trash?
  • Each shared drive has its own trash. 
  • After 30 days, files and folders in Trash are deleted forever. 
  • Members can delete specific files sooner.
Files and folders in the Trash remain there until the user selects Delete Forever.
Can I restore files?Yes, if you have Manager, Content manager, or Contributor access.Yes, if you created it.

What can you do with Shared Drives?

Google Shared Drives are shared spaces where Shareds can easily store, search, and access their files anywhere, from any device.

Unlike files in My Drive, files in Shared Drive belong to the Shared instead of an individual. Even if members leave, the files stay exactly where they are so your Shared can continue to share information and get work done.

Set up a Shared Drive

Create a Shared Drive

  1. Open Drive.
  2. In the left navigation, click Shared Drives.
  3. At top, click New.
  4. Enter a name.
  5. Click Create.

Note: If you can’t create a Shared Drive, your admin might have turned off this feature. Contact your admin for help.

User access levels

To manage shared drives and their contents, users must have the appropriate access levels.

TaskManager

Content manager*

Contributor**CommenterViewer
View shared drives and files
Comment on files in shared drives
Make, approve, and reject edits in files
Create and upload files and create folders in shared drives
Add people to specific files in shared drives
Move files and folders within a shared drive
Move files from one shared drive to another shared drive
Move shared drive files into the trash
Permanently delete files in the trash
Restore files from trash (up to 30 days)
Add or remove people to or from shared drives
Modify shared drive settings
Delete a shared drive

* Default role for new members.

** Contributor access provides read-only access to files in Drive File Stream or files in the Chrome OS Files app. Assign the Content manager access level for users who need to edit files in Drive File Stream or on Chrome OS.


Requests for access to files in shared drives—Requests for access to shared drive files go only to the file creator. If the file creator is no longer a member of a shared drive, the request will be sent to the shared drive Managers.


Add members and set permissions:

To add members and set permissions, you need full access permission.

  1. In the left navigation, click a Shared Drive.
  2. At the top, under the Shared Drive name, click +Add Members.
  3. Add names, email addresses, or Google Groups.
  4. (Optional) To change the permission from Full access, next to Full, click the Down arrow arrow_drop_down and choose a new permission.
  5. (Optional) Enter a message.
  6. (Optional) If you don’t want to send notifications, select Skip sending notifications.
  7. Choose an option:

    • Click Send to send notifications.
    • Click Add if you don't want to send notifications.


Change member permissions

To change member permissions, you need full access permission.

  1. In the left navigation, click a Shared Drive.
  2. At the top, next to the Shared Drive name, click the Down arrow arrow_drop_down > Manage members.
  3. Next to a member’s name, click the Down arrow arrow_drop_down and select a new permission.
  4. Click Done.

Remove members

To remove members, you need full access permission.

  1. In the left navigation, click a Shared Drive.
  2. At the top, next to the Shared Drive name, click the Down arrow arrow_drop_down > Manage members.
  3. Next to a member’s name, click the Down arrow arrow_drop_down and select Remove member.
  4. Click Done.

Note: If you remove someone from a Shared Drive, they might still have access to files shared in other ways, such as files shared with a link to your organization, or through group sharing.

Add files and folders

Create folders

    1. Create a new folder:

1. In the left navigation, click a Shared Drive or existing folder.

2. Click New > Folder.

3. Enter a folder name.

4. Click Create.

Note: To move folders, contact your admin.

    1. Upload an existing folder from your computer:

1. In the left navigation, click a Shared Drive folder.

2. On your computer, drag an existing folder into a Shared Drive. Or, click New > Folder upload. Navigate to the folder and open it.


Add and open files

To add files to a Shared Drive, you need at least edit access permission. Any files you add are owned by the Shared. If you leave the Shared Drive, your files remain.

  1. In the left navigation, click a Shared Drive folder.
  2. Drag an existing file to upload it from your computer. Or, click New and choose an option:

    • To create a file, select the file type you want to create, such as Google Docs.
    • To upload a file, select File upload. Navigate to the file and open it.
  3. Double-click a file to open it.


Organize files

After you’ve added files, you can star important files, move files, and delete files.

Star important files

Flag important files or folders to find them quickly later. Just right-click a file or folder and select Add star.

To see all your starred files and folders, in the left sidebar, click Starred.

Move files

You can move any file you own into a Shared Drive, whether it’s from another Drive location, or from your computer or mobile device.

To move files between Shared Drives or from My Drive into a Shared Drive, drag the files into the destination Shared Drive folder.

Notes:

  • To move files between Shared Drives, you must have full access to the original Shared Drive and at least edit access to the destination Shared Drive.
  • If someone else owns the file, you need to ask them to move it.
  • To move folders, contact your admin.


Delete or restore files

Delete a file:

You must have full access permission to delete a file.

Click the file you want to delete and at the top right, click Trash delete.

This deletes the file for everyone.

If someone accidentally deletes a file, you can restore it.

Restore a file:

You must have edit access permission or higher to restore a file.

  1. In the left navigation, click a Shared Drive.
  2. At top, next to the Shared Drive name, click the Down arrow arrow_drop_down > View trash.
  3. Click a file and click Restore history.


Search for files

Find a file in a specific Shared Drive:

  1. In Search, click the Down arrow arrow_drop_down.
  2. Next to Location, click Anywhere.
  3. Double-click Shared Drives and select a particular Shared drive.
  4. Click Select.
  5. (Optional) Enter additional search options, such as the file type or date the file was modified.
  6. Click Search.

Search a folder in Shared Drives:

You can only search folders that are in My Drive or Shared Drives.

  1. In the search box, click the Down arrow arrow_drop_down and in the Advanced search window, go to the Location field.
  2. (Optional) To search for a specific word or phrase related to the file or folder, enter the word or phrase in the search box.
  3. Next to Location, click Anywhere and select Shared Drives.
  4. When you find the folder you want to search, click Select.
  5. Click SEARCH to open the folder and search for your file.


Share and collaborate

Any files you put in Shared Drives are automatically shared with members of the Shared Drive. However, you can also share Shared Drive files with people in your organization who aren’t members of the Shared Drive.

Share files

Just like in Drive, there are different ways to share files with people in your organization who aren’t in your Shared Drive. To share files, you need at least edit access to the files.

Note: Your ability to share files outside the company may be limited by your organization. Ask your admin for more information.

Share files with individuals or groups:

  1. Click a file to share.
  2. Click Share person_add.
  3. Add names, email addresses, or Google Groups.
  4. (Optional) To change the permission from edit, click the Down arrow arrow_drop_down and choose another permission.
  5. (Optional) Add a message.
  6. Click Send.

If you set permissions to view or comment, you can prevent people from downloading, printing, and copying shared files.

Email a link:

  1. Click a file to share.
  2. Click Share person_add.
  3. Click Who has access.
  4. Next to Link sharing off, click the Down arrow expand_more.
  5. Next to the URL, click Copy. The link is now on your clipboard.
  6. Click Done.
  7. Paste the link into an email.


Share a link:

  1. Click a file to share.
  2. Click Share person_add.
  3. Click Who has access.
  4. Next to Link sharing off, click the Down arrow expand_more.
  5. Turn Link Sharing on.
  6. Click the Down arrow arrow_drop_down and choose a permission.
  7. (Optional) To allow sharing outside your organization, click Allow external access.
  8. (Optional) To make the document searchable in Drive, click Findable in search results.
  9. Click Done.

Anyone who gets the link can access the file.

Note: You might not see certain options if your admin has turned them off.

Unshare files

Unshare files with your organization:

  1. Click a file to unshare.
  2. Click Share person_add.
  3. Click Who has access.
  4. Turn Link Sharing off.
  5. Click Done.


Unshare files with individuals:

  1. Click a file to unshare.
  2. Click Share person_add.
  3. Click Who has access.
  4. Next to the person, click the Down arrow arrow_drop_down > Remove.

Note: If the file you unshared is still shared with an organization or group that includes the person, they can still access the file.