Oct 2, 2015

Google File Sharing: Who can delete what?

One question that I receive often revolves around the permissions that students/staff have when files are shared with them in Google Drive.  If someone shares a file with you and makes you an editor, can you delete the file?  If I move a folder from Shared With Me into My Drive, what happens if I delete it?  Here are some tips for handling sharing in Google Drive.

Shared With Me

The dreaded Shared With Me space!  Anytime a file or folder is shared with you, it will appear in this space.  Here are something things to know about Shared With Me.

  1. Items in this space will not automatically sync down to your computer if you using the Google Drive App for PC.

  2. Items can be moved from Shared With Me into any folder in My Drive.  This will cause the files to sync down to your computer.

  3. If you move items out of Shared With Me, what you are essentially moving is a link to the item, not the item itself.  These means that if you "remove" or "delete" these items from your My Drive space, you are just removing the link, not the original items.  As you will see below, only the owner of items has the ability to permanently delete.

  4. If you have an important item that has been shared with you, my suggestion is to "Star" the item rather than move it into your My Drive space.  Doing so will keep it in Shared With Me, but put a direct link to it in your Starred space.  This way you do not have to search for it in Shared With Me, and you do not have to clutter your personal My Drive space.


Direct from Google

What follows is directly from the Google support pages concerning the sharing of items.  They provide a handy chart that shows what a person can do with an item depending on the permissions they have been given.

When you share a file or folder with other people, you have the choice to give them viewing and editing access, as well as ownership of the file. While not applicable to folders, you can also give commenting access to files in order to get feedback from the people you're sharing with. You can change this access at any time.

Here’s what people can do in a file or folder as a viewer, commenter, editor, or owner:

Can viewCan commentCan editIs owner
View files and foldersxxxx
Download or sync files to another devicexxxx
Make a copy of files to save in Google Drivexxxx
Comment and suggest edits in filesxxx
Edit documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and drawingsxx
Share or unshare files with othersxx
Add or remove files from a folderxx
Upload and delete file versionsxx
Delete files and foldersx
Transfer ownership of files and folders to othersx

Change what others can do with your file

After you’ve shared a file with others, you can change the type of access specific people or groups can have.

  1. Open the file.

  2. Click Share in the top-right corner.

  3. Click Advanced in the bottom-right corner of the sharing box.

  4. Using the dropdown menu next to the user’s name, select the type of access you want them to have.

  5. Click Done.

Remove sharing privileges

If you are the owner of a file or folder, you can choose to remove editors’ ability to share files with others in Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides. This allows you to control everyone who is able to view or edit the file or folder.

If you have any questions about sharing within Google, please get in touch with your building/district instructional coach.

Sean Mullins | District Instructional Coach

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