How to share Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides

Read G Suite apps tips on how to add a collaborator, get a link, adjust access, set access expiration dates, and transfer file ownership.


Illustration: Andy Wolber / TechRepublic

Core G Suite apps–such as Google Docs, Sheets, and others–prominently feature the ability to share. The collaboration capabilities in these apps offer some of the most robust ways for people to work together on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

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The two main ways to share a G Suite file are either to add an email address or get a link; these methods are subtly different. When you add an email address, the person associated with that address gains access to your file. When you enable sharing with a link, access may be shared more broadly, if you choose–and if allowed by your organization’s settings.

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If you use G Suite to collaborate, here’s what you need to know about sharing files. 

Important note: The default G Suite sharing setting is that all new files are private, and accessible only to the creator, although new files created in a shared folder or drive will be available to people with permission to access the shared folder or drive. However, a G Suite administrator may adjust system-wide share default settings; for details, read 3 sets of G Suite security and privacy settings every admin should review. The defaults may range from extremely restrictive, which prohibits all sharing outside the organization, to relatively open, which could make all new files available to be found by search by anyone in the organization.

Figure A

Top: screenshot cropped to show Share button in upper right. Lower left: Standard share box for name/email entry. Lower right: Advanced sharing option screenshot.

To share from Google Docs in a web browser, select Share (upper right), then either add an address or get a link (lower left). Advanced options (lower right) let you…