Sharing and Collaborating

In Google Drive collaboration and sharing are integral. When using Google Drive sharing is done in a few simple steps.

Sharing and collaborating on files

Google Drive makes sharing your files simple. It also allows multiple people to edit the same file, allowing for real-time collaboration. Watch the video below to learn more about these features.

Sharing files

Whenever you share a file from your Google Drive, you can let others view and even edit that same file. While you can share any file stored on your Google Drive, it's important to note that you can only use the collaboration features for files created within your Drive.

Let's look at the example of Olenna, an art teacher who uses her Google Drive to organize letters, lesson plans, and more. Olenna's files include:

As you can tell, no single sharing setting would be right for all of Olenna's files. The settings you choose for each of your shared files will probably depend on why you're sharing it in the first place.

When you share a file with a limited group of people, your collaborators must sign in with a Google account to view or edit the file. However, when you share with a larger group or make the file public, your collaborators will not need a Google account to access the file.

To share a file with a limited group of people:

  1. Locate and select the file you want to share, then click the Share button.
    Screenshot of Google Drive
  2. A dialog box will appear. In the People box, type the email addresses of the people you'd like to share the file with. If you want, you can add a message that will be emailed to the people you share the file with.
  3. Click Send. Your file will be shared.
    Screenshot of Google Drive

For more control over your files, you can click the drop-down arrow to decide whether people can edit, comment on, or simply view the file.

Screenshot of Google Drive

Sharing with a link

You can easily share a file with a larger group of people by providing a link to any file in your Google Drive. A link is basically a URL or web address for any file you want to share. This can be especially helpful for files that would be too large to send as an email attachment, like music or video files. You can also share a file by posting the link to a public webpage. Anyone who clicks the link will be redirected to the file.

To share a link:

  1. Locate and select the file you want to share, then click the Share button.
    Screenshot of Google Drive
  2. A dialog box will appear. Click Get shareable link.
    Screenshot of Google Drive
  3. A link to the file will be copied to your web clipboard. You can then paste the link in an email message or on the Web to share the file. When you're finished, click Done.
    Screenshot of Google Drive

Files shared with you

People can also choose to share files with you. These files will appear in your Shared with Me folder. However, if you'd prefer to access a file from your Google Drive without switching to this view, you can move it. To do this, navigate to your Shared with Me folder, hover the mouse over the desired file, then select Add to My Drive.

Screenshot of Google Drive

Collaboration tools

Whenever you share a file in a Google Drive format, you'll have the option to allow your co-editors to change and edit the file. Google Drive offers several tools that enhance collaboration by making it easier to communicate with your co-editors and to see which changes have been made and by whom.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn about the collaboration features in Google Drive.

edit hotspotslabeled graphic

Suggesting mode

Google Drive recently added a feature called Suggesting mode, which is similar to the Track Changes feature in Microsoft Office. This allows each collaborator to make changes, while giving the other collaborators a chance to review the changes before making them permanent.

Watch the video below from Google to learn more about Suggesting mode, as well as other collaboration tips.


  1. Open our example file. Make sure you're signed in to Google, then click File > Make a copy.
  2. Change to suggesting mode.
  3. Select the first three lines of the letter and center align them.
  4. Select the name Melissa Vaughn and add a comment that says Double check the spelling.
  5. When you're finished, your document should look something like this:
    sharing and collaborating example
  6. Optional: Try sharing your document with someone.