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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.

Can I sync files to my computer? 

With Drive File Stream: Yes

With Backup and Sync: No

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.


  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.


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. 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, 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.


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

Unshare files

Unshare files with your organization: