How to Share a Folder of Google Drive

Group Collaboration Made Simple

Businessman and businesswoman passing folder over computers in office
Businessman and businesswoman passing folder over computers in office. Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

Google Drive is cloud storage space provided by Google and structured to work seamlessly with Google's apps for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations, among others. Anyone with a Google account is assigned 15GB of free cloud storage on Google Drive, with larger storage amounts available for a fee. Google Drive makes it possible to easily share documents and files with anyone else who has a Google account.

Back when Google Drive was young, users shared each document separately. Now, you can create folders in Google Drive and fill them with files that contain all sorts of related items, including documents, slide presentations, spreadsheets, drawings, and PDFs. Then, you share the folder holding the multiple documents with a group to make collaboration easy.

Folders Are Collections

The first thing you need to do before you can collaborate with others in Google Drive is to create a folder. It's a handy organizing bin for items you want to share. To create a folder in Google Drive:

  1. Click the New button at the top of the Google Drive screen.

  2. Select Folder in the drop-down menu.

  3. Type a name for the folder in the field provided.

  4. Click Create.

Share Your Folder

Now that you've made a folder, you need to share it.

  1. Click on your folder in Google Drive to open it.

  2. You'll see My Drive > [name of your folder] and a small downward arrow at the top of the screen. Click on the arrow

  3. Click on Share in the drop-down menu. 

  4. Enter the email addresses of all the people you want to share the folder with. If you prefer, click Get shareable link to receive a link you can email to anyone you want to access the shared folder.  

  5. Either way, you'll need to assign permissions to the people you invite to the shared folder. Each person can be designated to View Only, or they can Organize, Add & Edit.

  6. Click Done.

Add Documents to the Folder 

With the folder and sharing preferences set up, it's super easy to share your files from now on. Click My Drive at the top of the folder screen to return to the screen that displays the files you have uploaded. By default, your Google Drive shows you all your files, shared or not, and organizes them by the date they were most recently edited. Click and drag any document to the new folder to share it. Any file, folder, document, slide show, spreadsheet, or item inherits the same sharing privileges as the folder. Add any document, and boom, it's shared with the group. Anyone with editing access to your folder can do the same thing and share more files with the group.

You can use the same method to make subfolders for organizing the content within the shared folder. That way you don't end up with a huge group of files and no method of sorting them. 

Finding Files in Google Drive

You don't need to rely on folder navigation to find what you need when you work with Google Drive. If you give your files meaningful names, just use the search bar. It's Google, after all.

Everyone with editing access can edit your shared docs live, all at the same time. The interface has a few quirks here and there, but it's still much faster for sharing documents than using SharePoint's check-in/check-out system.