How to: Sharing Documents in Google Drive

Google Drive is one of the most versatile ways to create, edit, and finalize documents. Additionally, Google Drive gives a huge boost to folks wanting to easily collaborate and share documents or files. I’m sure with Google’s recent announcement that Drive is getting the ability to natively edit Microsoft Word documents, more lawyers and laypersons will want to use Drive to create great documents.

But some folks aren’t recognizing, or just don’t know the process, how they can share their documents with others.

The old way and the new way

Google is transitioning to a new, cleaner, Google Drive interface. Hopefully, everyone should have the new interface in the next few months. Until then, you’ll have to check to see whether you’re on the old interface or the new interface.

Most Google Apps accounts will remain on the old interface until Google opens new to everyone. The easiest way to see whether you’re “old” is to check the upper left hand corner of your Drive folder menu.

If you see a Create button you know you haven’t received the upgrade.

Old Google Drive Interface

New, or upgraded Google Drive accounts will see a New button.

New google drive interface

You can experience the new Drive by clicking the Gear icon and then clicking Experience the new Drive in the drop-down menu.

Experience new drive

Old Google Drive

You can share folders or in the old Google Drive simply by clicking the Share Folder icon in the right-hand corner.

share folder

 

You’ll see a new Sharing settings window where you can add collaborators’ email addresses or share using a link.

sharing settings

 

Once you grant someone access to your folder or document, you can also restrict their access or the folder’s visibility.

sharing settings visibility access

Alternatively, you can simply click the box in the left-hand corner of the folder or document, clicking More on the toolbar, and selecting Share from the drop-down menu.

sharing settings visibility access alternative

You’ll see the same sharing setting windows as previously mentioned.

New Google Drive

I really like the new Google Drive. It’s a cleaner user interface, and much more intuitive. I think the interface is closely associated with a Windows desktop.

Sharing a folder or document in the new Google Drive is a easy as right clicking on the document or folder and selecting Share from the floating window.

new drive sharing

You’ll see the sharing settings window just like before.

Sharing on your Android device

Similarly, the sharing function on Drive for Android is simple and elegant. The recent update to Google Drive app makes the process as uncomplicated as the new Drive.

First, locate the folder or document you want to share and click on the i icon on the right side of the screen.

sharing drive mobile

The circle-i stands for information, which you’ll use to get more details about the folder or document. The information screen allows you to Share the entire document or folder, or just Share a link.

share drive mobile

If you select Share, you’ll have an opportunity to enter the email address of your friend, and give him or her editing powers.

share drive mobile add people

For any shared document or folder, I prefer to share the entire folder or document, then set visibility/editing capabilities, rather than just sharing a link. But it’s up to you and how you want to distribute the information.

Also, you should remember that if you want your friend to have editing ability, then he or she will need to use a Google account (usually @gmail.com, but also Google Apps). Just make sure you use that Google address, rather than another generic address, or else they’ll only have viewing ability.

Finally, for any method, your colleague should receive an email notifying him or her that you’ve shared a folder or document. Clicking on the link in the email will add your document or folder to their Google Drive account.

Google Drive makes collaborating and sharing documents easy.

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.