Understanding G-Suite File and Folder Sharing Settings

Recently, one of my teachers at school asked me to explain sharing settings inside of Google Apps.  It then made me think about some of those little things that many of us take for granted, but perhaps are new to so many teachers.

In today's post, we are going to look at Sharing Settings inside of G-Suite.  By default, all of your Google Apps and Google Folders are created with privacy settings turned on.  They are set to be shared only with you and you only.  One of the more popular questions I get during the week is “Can I change this default to something different?” and the answer is … no.

In order to change your sharing settings, simply click on the blue SHARE button on the top right of your screen.

The Defaults

By default, your Doc is set to be shared with “Specific People Only” and initially, that person is you.

Google Apps Sharing Settings

Google Apps Sharing Settings

Sharing With Others

At this point, you can add the names, or emails of users you wish to bring into your document.  Once you start typing, Google will start to guess who you are asking for and begin to give you helpful suggestions.

Once you have your person, or group of people selected, click on the blue DONE button and those accounts will then have access to your document.  THIS IS STILL A SECURE AND PRIVATE DOCUMENT.  The only difference now is that more than your account has access to this document.  Your additional users will then get an email inviting them into your document and it will show up in their “Shared With Me” location inside of their Google Drives.

Advanced Settings

In addition to simply adding additional users, you can choose to make your document open to the public.  To explore these settings, click on the Advanced button on the bottom right to reveal additional options.

Google Apps Advanced Sharing Settings

Google Apps Advanced Sharing Settings

Once you hit the Advanced button you will see a screen similar to the screenshot above.  This screen gives you a visual of who has access to your document and the specific privileges they have. (Owner, Editor, Viewer) You will notice in the screenshot above, that this particular document is still set to “Specific people”.  In order to open this document up to others, click on the “Change” button.

Google Apps Link Sharing Settings

Google Apps Link Sharing Settings

Inside of the Link Sharing dialogue box, you now have a few additional options for your document.  If you are in a traditional Gmail setting, you will see three options.

If you are looking at a doc inside of your school account, you will see a slightly different box that includes options for keeping documents inside of your school domain.

Link-Sharing-For-SchoolsThese additional settings are great for sharing links to your documents but not wanting to add individual users to each doc. Once you have your document opened to either the Domain or to “Anyone with the link” you can then copy the long URL above and share that with others.

Public on the web vs Anyone with the link

Many people also ask what the difference is between the top two options.  There practically is no major difference with the one exception that the top option (Public on the web) makes your doc a searchable document.  To be honest, you hardly will run the risk of having your document fount, but anyone with a bit of Google Search knowledge knows that you can do a search and add the search operator “site:docs.google.com” and suddenly the all of the worlds Google Drive files that are set to this topmost setting are fair game. Bottom line: use this setting wisely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Docs Safe and Secure?

Yes: Google Docs, by default are private files that can only be unlocked or made un-secure by users.  It is not possible to access anyone's files unless a user sets a file to be that way.

How do Files and Folders Differ?

Files and Folders share a very similar sharing structure … however, Folders have the ability to set up a specific sharing setting that once you create a new doc INSIDE of that folder, the file automatically takes the sharing settings of the folder. (read this one a few times … out loud)

What happens if I make a mistake and someone edits my document when I didn't want them to?

Fortunately, most Google Applications have a revision history. You can find this feature under the File menu on the upper left.

What questions do you have about file sharing settings?

If you have additional questions, please leave them in the comments settings below.  I'm happy to help you out with your Google experience.

About the author, Jeffrey Bradbury

Jeff Bradbury, creator of TeacherCast, and father of the famous @EduTriplets Thanks for checking out TeacherCast today. Please take a moment to find me on all of my Social Media channels!

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