Share a final document

Want to save a PDF version of this guide? If you're using Chrome browser, print this page and select the "Save as PDF" option. If you're using other browsers or third-party PDF tools, see their instructions on how to save webpages as PDF files.

  • 1. Use Cloud Search to find co-workers

    Decide who you want to share the file with and find co-workers using Cloud Search.

    1. Open Cloud Search and in the search box, enter the person’s name.
    2. At the top of the person’s profile card, select Start a conversation hangout or Email email.
    3. Click Reports to to see the profile card of the person’s manager.
    4. On mobile, tap the phone number to call them.
    5. (Optional) You can also do a search using everyday words, such as jane’s phone number. You get an answer card with the phone number for your colleague named Jane. If more than one person has the name, click the Looking for a different name? link.

    Note: You can see additional contact and manager information if your admin has added these profile details to user accounts.

    Find and contact people
  • 2. Decide where to share the document from

    If you’re sharing with a few specific people, you can add it to your own Drive and share it from there.

    You can also add it to Team Drive if you have the G Suite Enterprise, Business, or Education editions and share it with everyone who has access to the Team Drive.

    To share the document more widely with your entire organization or to share it publicly, add it to Google Sites.

    Add the document to Drive:

    One way to store files in Drive is to upload a copy of them using your web browser:

    1. Go to Drive.
    2. Click   New , select File upload or Folder upload, and then choose the file or folder you want to upload.
    3. Click Open.

    If you’re using the latest version of Chrome or Firefox®, you can simply drag files directly from your computer to the Drive page on your browser.

    If you upload a file that matches the name of an existing file, Drive will add it as a new version, instead of creating a duplicate. To see the previous version of that file, you can manage versions.

    When you see Upload complete, your files have uploaded successfully and can be accessed in any browser or device that has Drive installed.

    Add the document to a Team Drive:

    Requires at least Contributor access

    Any files you add are owned by the team. If you leave the Team Drive, your files remain.

    1. On the left, click a Team Drive.
    2. Drag an existing file (that you own*) from your computer or from My Drive into a Team Drive. Or, click New and choose an option:
      • To create a file, select the file type you want to create, such as Google Docs.
      • To upload a file, click File upload. Navigate to the file and open it.
    3. Double-click a file to open and edit it.

    *If you don't own the file but have Can edit access in Drive, you can move it to a Team Drive if your G Suite admin has allowed this option.

    Note: To store and access files on your desktop, use Drive File Stream. See Get started with Drive.

    Add the document to Sites:

    1. Go to Google Sites and open the site and page where you want to add the file.
    2. Click Insert > Docs, Slides, or Sheets to choose a file on your Drive.

    Embed any file from Drive or the contents of a folder stored in Drive. If you make changes to your files in Drive, the same changes automatically show in Sites.

    Upload filesinsert site content

You can share the document and set permissions from Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, or Slides. Or, you can email an individual or group a link to the document. If you add the document to Sites, anyone who has access to the site will be able to see the document.

  • 1. Share the document from Drive

    Share a file or folder with specific people:

    You can only share files that you own or have edit access to.

    1. In Drive, right-click the file or folder you want to share and select Share person_add.
    2. Under People, enter the email address of the person or group you want to share with.

      Note: If you can't add people outside of your company or organization, contact your G Suite administrator.

    3. Click Edit edit and choose the access level:
        • Can edit—Collaborators can add and edit content as well as add comments.
        • Can comment (Select files only)—Collaborators can add comments, but can't edit content.
        • Can view—People can view the file, but not edit or add comments.

      Everyone you share with receives an email with a link to the file or folder.

    4. (Optional) To add a note to the email, enter your note. To skip sending an email, uncheck the Notify people box.
    5. Click Send.

    Share a link to a file or folder:

    You can send other people a link to a file or folder so that anyone with the link can open it. When you share a link, your name appears as the owner.

    You can only share files that you own or have edit access to.

    1. In Drive, right-click the file or folder you want to share and select Share person_add.
    2. At the top right, click Get shareable link.
    3. Click Anyone at your organization with the link can view and choose an access level:
      • Can edit—Collaborators can add and edit content as well as add comments.
      • Can comment (Select files only)—Collaborators can add comments, but can't edit content.
      • Can view—People can view the file, but not edit or add comments.
    4. Click Copy link.
    5. Click Done.
    6. Paste the link in an email or any place you want to share it.

    Share files and set access levels and visibility
  • 2. (Optional) Set expiration limits for your document

    1. In Drive, open the file.
    2. Click Share.
    3. If the file isn’t already shared, share it.
    4. Click Advanced.
    5. Hover over the person’s name and click Set expiration timer.
    6. Change the access expiration date.
    7. Click Save changes and then click Done.

    Note: You can’t set the expiration for the current day. If you need to restrict access immediately, just unshare the file.

  • 3. Prevent editors from re-sharing and changing access permissions

    1. In Drive, select a file or folder that you own.
    2. At the top, click Share person_add.
    3. At the bottom, click Advanced.
    4. Check the Prevent editors from changing access and adding new people box. 

      People with Can comment or Can view access already can’t add new people or change access permissions. Now people with Can edit access also can’t do these things either.

    5. Click Save changes.
    6. Click Done.

    When someone with Can edit access tries to re-share a restricted file or folder, they get an option to email you for permission to share the file. You can decide whether to share the file. If you do, the user still can’t change access permissions. They’re grayed out and not available.

    Share files and set access levels and visibility
  • 4. Prevent commenters and viewers from downloading, printing, or copying files

    Note: You can’t restrict these options on Google Sites files.

    1. In Drive, Docs, Sheets, or Slides, select a file that you own.
    2. Choose an option:
      • In Drive, at the top, click Share person_add.
      • In Docs, Sheets, or Slides, click Share.
    3. At the bottom of the Share with others box, click Advanced.
    4. Check the Disable options to download, print, and copy for commenters and viewers box.
    5. Click Save changes.
    6. Click Done.

    When someone with Can comment or Can view access tries to download, print, or copy the shared file, those options are grayed out and not available.

    Note: You can limit how people share, print, download, and copy within Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides, but you can't stop how others share the file content in other ways.

  • 1. Mark a document as final and make it view-only

    You can rename a document to mark it as final and then change the permissions on it to view-only. People can view the content but won’t be able to make changes.

    Rename your document in Docs, Sheets, or Slides to mark it final:

    1. Open the file and at the top, click the file name.
    2. Before the file name, enter [Final] or [Archived].
    3. Press Enter.

    Change your document to view-only:

    If you shared the file with specific people or a group:

    1. In Google Drive, right-click the file and select Share person_add.
    2. In the Share with others box, in the People section, click the person’s name.
    3. Next to the person’s name, click Edit edit and select Can view.
    4. Click Done.
    5. Repeat steps 1–2 for any other people or groups.

    If you shared the file with your organization:

    1. In Drive, right-click your document and select Share person_add.
    2. At the bottom of the Share with others box, click Advanced.
    3. In the Who has access section, click Change.
    4. Choose an option to determine how links to the file are shared with people in your organization:
      • On (for whole organization)—Anyone at your organization can find and access the file.
      • On (for anyone with link)—Anyone at your organization who has the link can access the file.
      • Off (except for specific people)—Only the document owner can share the link.
    5. Next to Access: Anyone within your organization, select Can view.
    6. Click Save.

  • 2. Stop sharing the document

    From Drive:

    Stop sharing a file or folder you own:

    1. In Drive, select the shared file or folder.
    2. Click Share person_add.
    3. At the bottom, click Advanced.
    4. Next to the person you want to stop sharing the file or folder with, click Remove close.
    5. Click Save changes.

    Delete a link to a file or folder you own:

    When you delete a link to a file or folder that you own, the only people who can still see it are you and anyone you share it with.

    1. In Drive, select the linked file or folder.
    2. Click Share person_add.
    3. Click Anyone at your organization with the link > Off - only specific people can access.
    4. Click Done.

    From Team Drives:

    Unshare files with your organization:

    1. In a Team Drive, click the file you want to unshare.
    2. Click Share person_add.
    3. Click Who has access.
    4. Next to Link Sharing, click Turn off slider-on.
    5. Click Done.

    Unshare files with individuals:

    1. In a Team Drive, click the file you want to unshare.
    2. Click Share person_add.
    3. Click Who has access.
    4. Next to the person, click the Down arrow arrow_drop_down > Remove.
    5. Click Done.

    Note: Group settings can override individual settings. So, if you try to unshare a file with a person who belongs to an organization or group with access to the file, this person can still access the file.

    From Sites:

    Stop sharing a site:

    1. Open a site and at the top, click Share person_add .
    2. Under Who has access, find the person you want to remove.
    3. Next to the person’s name, click Delete clear > Save changes > Done.

  • 3. Handle new access requests

    Anyone can request access to your document by emailing you and asking for access or clicking the link to the document.

    If they don’t already have access, they’ll see a “You need permission” message. They can click Request access, and you’ll get an email asking for your approval. If you want to share the document with that person, follow the instructions in Section 3: Share the document.

  • 4. See who’s viewed your document

    1. In Docs, Sheets, or Slides, open the file.
      Note: You will need to have edit access for the file to see the Activity dashboard data.
    2. Click Tools > Activity dashboard.
    3. You can see information about the activity on your file, including:
      • Shared with tab: People you’ve shared the file with.
      • All viewers (organization) tab: People in your organization who have viewed the file.
      • Viewer trend tab: A chart of viewers over time.
    4. (Optional) If you don’t want your view history to appear in Activity dashboard, click Privacy Settings and choose an option:
      • Turn off view history for all files: Under Account setting, turn off Show my view history for all Docs, Sheets and Slides files.
      • Turn off view history for one file: Under Document setting, turn off Show my view history for this document.
    5. Click Save.