How to share files in your Google Drive with others

By - Dan Millward

Published -

There are many benefits to cloud storage. Most people may consider the main benefit is having somewhere safe in the cloud to store your files. This is much safer than having files saved locally where they could be lost if something unexpected happened.

Another great benefit of using Google Drive as your cloud storage is the ability to share files. Whether that is with work colleagues, family or friends; sharing files from your Google Drive is an easy process. Sharing files can save you and the people you’re sharing files with a lot of time.

Sharing files by email

If you needed to share a four-page document with just a couple of people it would be a lot easier to email this. It’s a much quicker way to get files to people than using the traditional method of popping something in the post. Emails are great but they do have some limitations.

Most email systems have limitations on the file size you can send. Sending a four-page document that is just over 1MB in size isn’t an issue. However, if you need to send a larger file such as a video or some music files. You’ll probably find these files are too large to send by email.

Also, sharing files by email means there may end up being multiple copies of the file. This is fine if it’s for informational purposes only. However, if you’re sharing the files so others can edit them, it would be very difficult to manage these documents when they all come back with different edits. Therefore, it would be much easier to share files with others, so they can do any edits directly from the shared location.

Sharing files you have stored locally

If you have a file stored locally on your computer the first challenge is getting the file in a place where it can be shared. It’s not possible to share a file stored locally, so you need to upload it to the cloud. Are you running out of Google Drive storage? Find out how to reduce your Google Drive storage.

There are a couple of ways of doing this and the way you decide will depend on the situation. For example, if you have a one-off video file stored locally that you need to send to someone. If you’re using Gmail, you can send this via email even if the file size is 100MB or even 1GB.

A file larger than 25MB sent by email uploaded to Google Drive
A file sent by email over 25MB will be uploaded to Google Drive and the recipient will receive a link to access the file

This is because Gmail will inform you that it’s too large to send via the email servers. Instead, it will give you the option to send a link to an email recipient. When you do it this way the file is first uploaded to your Google Drive, and the recipient receives a link, which will direct them to the file stored in your Google Drive.

This method works perfectly fine as a one-off. However, if the video is something you also want to keep and save in the cloud. It’s a better idea to upload the file to the cloud, so you can store the file how you’d like. Sending an email link does not allow you to manage where the file in Google Drive is stored.

Upload your local file to Google Drive

The best way to share files you have stored locally is to upload them to Google Drive. Uploading files to Google Drive manually allows you to manage where the files are stored. Are you running out of Google Drive storage? Find out how to increase your Google Drive storage.

On a Chromebook, you can upload a file from your downloads folder to Google Drive easily. It’s simply a matter of copying or cutting the file depending on whether you want to keep a copy stored locally. Once you’ve done this you simply need to navigate to your Google Drive cloud storage and paste the file into the location of your choice.

Copy and paste file into Google Drive on Chrome OS
Copy a file from your downloads folder and paste it into Google Drive

Sharing files from Google Drive directly from Chrome OS

You can share files from Google Drive on Chrome OS directly from the file system. Find the file located in your Google Drive and right-click. You’ll then be presented with a pop-up menu where you need to choose ‘Share with others’.

Share files from Google Drive from Chrome OS file system

Right-click on the file you want to share and choose ‘Share with others’

Once you’ve clicked on ‘Share with others’ you’ll be presented with a dialogue window similar to the one below. In the first field, you can start typing the email address of the people you want to share the file with. You can add as many emails as you wish.

Once you’ve added who you want to share the file with you can send them a notification email to let them know. To do this tick the notify box and add a little message, so they know what the email is about.

Before sharing the file you may want to change the permissions. By default, it gives the person you’re sharing the file with the ability to edit the files. To change the permissions simply click on the drop-down box and you can choose from either Viewer, Commenter or Editor. You can only do this once you’ve added the people you want to share the files with.

If the recipient does not use Gmail

The above file sharing guide only works if the person you’re sharing your files with has a Gmail account. This is because files are shared only if they use Google Drive.

If you wish to share a file with someone who does not have a Gmail email address. You can do this by clicking on ‘copy link’ under the Get Link heading as you can see below. If you want to share who can open the link, you must ensure you type their email address in the contacts field first.

Using copy link to share Google Drive files with someone without a Google Account
Sharing Google Drive files with someone without a Google Account

Once you’ve copied the shared link, you can simply send the link to the recipient via email. They will then be able to access the file even if they do not have a Gmail email address.

Summary

Sharing files in Google Drive is easy. It’s the best way to share larger files that are too big to send by email. It’s also the best way to share files where others need the ability to edit the files.

Sharing the files with people who need to edit the files will give them the ability to do this directly from your Google Drive file location. This will avoid them having to edit their own copy, which could lead to duplications or edits being missed.

Using Google Drive to share files is perfect for collaborating with others.

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