How To Share and Collaborate With Google Drive

Matilde Hoffman works on her computer at a coffee shop July 25, 2012.
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You've uploaded or created a word processing file or a spreadsheet with Google Drive. Now what? Here's how you can share that document with others and get started collaborating.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Varies

Here's How

If you don't want to use an email address, you can also share by clicking on the "Get shareable link" option. This is a good option if you want to share viewing access to a document to a large group of people.


  1. Go to Google Drive at and log in using your Google account.
  2. Find your document in your list. You can browse in the My Drive folder or search by recent documents. You can also search through all your documents using the search bar at the top. This is Google, after all. 
  3. Click on the file name on the list to open the file.
  4. Click on the Share tab on the upper right-hand corner of the window.
  5. You have several choices on how you can share this file. Use the drop-down menu to choose the amount of access you want to allow. You can invite them to edit the document, to comment on the document, or just to view it. 
  6. Enter the email address of your collaborator, commenter, or viewer, and they will get an email letting them know they now have access. Enter as many email addresses as you wish. Separate each address with a comma.
  7. You can also click the small "Advanced" link in order to see a few more options. This is another way to grab a shareable link. You can also tweet or socially post it in one step. As the document owner, you also have two more advanced options:  Prevent editors from changing access and adding new people and Disable options to download, print, and copy for commenters and viewers.  
  1. As soon as you enter an email address, you'll see a box allowing you to enter a note you can send out with the confirmation email. 
  2. Click the Send button.  
  3. Once the person you've invited receives their email invitation and clicks on the link, they'll have access to your file.  


  1. You may want to use a Gmail address when possible because some spam filters may block the invitation message, and their Gmail is usually their Google account ID anyway. 
  1. When in doubt, save a copy of your document before sharing, just to have a reference copy or in case you need to reverse a few changes. 
  2. Remember that people with sharing access have the power to invite others to view or edit the document unless you specify otherwise.

What You Need:

  • A Google account
  • A document or spreadsheet in Google Drive. 
  • Your collaborator's email addresses in most cases. 
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