How to Share and Collaborate With Google Drive

Google's free cloud storage makes collaboration uncomplicated

Google Drive for the Mac
Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

Anyone who signs up for a free Google account receives 15GB of space in Google Drive at no charge. Google Drive is storage space in the cloud that syncs with Google Docs, Google Sheets, and other Google services. You can use Google Drive to share a document you created in one of Google's services or uploaded from your computer. Then, collaboration with the person or people you share the document with is a simple matter.

How to Get Your Documents on Google Drive

If you have documents on your computer, you can upload them to Google Drive.

  1. In a browser on your computer, log in to your Google account.
  2. Tap the multiple-box icon at the top of the screen and select Drive from the services in the list that appears. You can also go directly to the Google Drive screen.
  3. Open your existing My Drive folder or create a new folder by clicking the New button at the top of the left panel.
  4. Select File Upload or Folder Upload and navigate to the document location on your computer. Click Choose to upload the file or folder to Google Drive.

If you create a document in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides, click File > Add to My Drive to show the document in Google Drive.

After you have your document in Google Drive, here's how you can share that document with others and get started collaborating.

How to Share Documents in Google Drive

After you have a document in Google Drive:

  1. Go to Google Drive at drive.google.com and log in using your Google account.
  2. Find the document you want to share. Browse in the My Drive folder or click Recent in the left panel to display only recent documents. You can also search through all your documents using the search bar at the top. This is Google, after all. 
  3. Double-click the name of the file to open it in its own window.
  4. Click the menu icon in the upper right-hand corner of the window. It resembles three vertically aligned dots
  5. Click Share in the drop-down menu.
  6. Click Get shareable link to receive a link to your document that you can then email to a group of people. Copy the link and send an email containing it to the person or people you want to share the document with
  7. If you prefer to invite people by email, enter their email addresses in the field provided.
  8. Next to each email address, use the drop-down menu next to the pencil to select one of three privilege levels: Can edit, Can Comment, or Can View.
  9. Type a message to accompany the link in the email.
  1. Click Send. The email recipients will receive an email with a subject line containing the name of the document. They click the Open button in the email to view the document.

Tips:

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