How to Share and Collaborate With Google Drive

Google's free cloud storage makes collaboration uncomplicated

What to Know

  • First, upload document: In Google Drive, select New > Upload Files/Folder > select file or folder to upload.
  • To share, open document in Drive > select Share > select users > set permissions > Copy Link > send link.
  • Viewers can read, copy, print, and download documents. Editors can share, change permissions, and edit documents.

This article explains how to share documents and collaborate with other users on Google Drive.

How to Upload Your Documents to Google Drive

If you have documents on your computer, here's how to 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.

    Google screen with Drive highlighted

    You can also go directly to the Google Drive screen.

  3. Open your existing My Drive folder or create a new folder by selecting the New button at the top of the left panel.

    Google Drive with My Drive and New highlighted
  4. Select Upload Files or Upload Folder, then navigate to the document or folder's location on your computer.

    Google Drive with Upload File/Folder highlighted

    When you create a document in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides, select File > Add to My Drive to show the document in Google Drive. After the document is in Google Drive, you can share it with others and start collaborating.

How to Share Documents in Google Drive

After you have a document in Google Drive, you can share it with specific individuals or generate a link to copy and send to potential collaborators.

  1. Go to Google Drive and log in using your Google account.

  2. Find the document you want to share. Browse in the My Drive folder or select Recent in the left panel to display only recent documents. You can also search through all the 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. Select Share in the upper right corner of the window to open the Share with others screen.

    Google Doc with Share highlighted
  5. To share via specific email addresses, type in the email address and choose whether you want the person to be a Viewer, Commenter, or Editor.

    Google Doc sharing permissions with Viewer, Commenter, Editor options highlighted
  6. Tap Settings (gear icon) to add sharing restrictions.

    Google Docs sharing screen with Settings gear highlighted
  7. Check Editors can change permissions and share to allow collaborators to have more control. Check Viewers and commenters can see the option to download, print, and copy to allow these permissions.

    Share with People settings in Google Docs
  8. If you'd prefer to send a link to the document to collaborators, under Get Link, clip Copy Link to copy the link to email to others.

    Google Doc sharing box with Copy Link highlighted
  9. To set permissions, click the drop-down arrow below and choose Viewer, Commentor, or Editor.

    Google Docs sharing with the Viewer, Commenter, Editor options highlighted
  10. Or, select Restricted so that only people you add can access the link.

    Google Doc sharing options with Restricted highlighted
  11. Paste the link into an email and send it to your potential collaborators.

To keep track of changes your collaborators are making, select a range of text, right-click, and select Show Editors. You'll see your co-editors along with their changes with time stamps.


  • Save a copy of your document before sharing it 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.
  • If someone outside your domain shares a suspicious document or file with you, you can block them by right-clicking the file name from the main Drive screen and selecting Block [email address]. Click Block in the confirmation window to finish the block.
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