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. Getty Images - Credit: Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury

Back when Google Drive was young, you used to have to share each document separately. Google has made an easy method to share documents, including files, slide presentations, spreadsheets, drawings, PDFs, and more. You can share them with a group and easily collaborate on everything.

Folders are Collections

The first thing you need to do to get started on your group sharing is to create a folder. It's a handy organizing bin for your shared items.

Create one by going to the New button on the upper left and then clicking on Folder from the drop-down menu.

Share Your Folder

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

  1. Open your folder within Google Drive.
  2. You'll see My Drive> [name of your folder] and a small downward arrow. Click on the arrow. 
  3. Click on Share.  
  4. Enter the email addresses of the people you want to share the folder with. You can get a share link instead, in which case everyone you share the link with will have the same sharing privileges. 

Editing access lets people make changes. Viewing access just lets them see your changes. Each item can have only one owner, and the owner can decide whether or not editors can invite more people into the group. Choose wisely.

Add Documents Into Your Folder 

Now that you've set up your folder and the sharing preferences, it's actually super easy to share your files from now on. Any file, folder, document, slide show, spreadsheet, or item in that folder will inherit the same sharing privileges as the folder.

Add any document, and boom, it's shared to the group. Anyone with editing access to your collection can do the same thing and share more files to the group.

Any document you make or file you upload into the folder will instantly be part of the group and shared with everyone else in the group. You can use the same method to make sub-folders (sub-collections) for organizing the content within the collection.

  That way you don't end up with a huge group of files and no method of sorting it. 

Finding Files

By default, your Google Drive shows you all docs, shared or not, and just organizes them by the date they were most recently edited. Click on the folder name on the left to see just those docs within a folder. Click on the arrow to the left of the folder name to see any sub-folder. Remember, the downward pointing arrow to the right of the name has a different purpose.

But don't rely on folder navigation to find what you need. If you give your files meaningful names, just use the search bar. It is Google. 

Remember, everyone with editing access can edit your docs live, 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, which is why Microsoft 360 lets everyone edit live.  Happy collaborating!

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