How to use the new Google Drive sharing options

Google has made subtle changes to how you share files with Drive. Jack Wallen demonstrates the new process.

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Image: Google

I'm a hard-core Google Drive user. I work with the tool every day, creating, editing, and sharing documents and files. Up until recently, that process has been pretty much the same--simple, efficient, and effective. However, over the past few months, Google has made a few changes to how the sharing process works. The changes aren't drastic, but they do make a difference in how you share your files.

I'm going to walk you through the new process, so you won't get tripped up and have collaborators come back at you to say they can't work with the file you shared. I'll be demonstrating on the web-based version of Drive and will also touch on the mobile version of the app (as there is one subtle change that has been made).

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What you'll need

  • A Google account 
  • Files on Google Drive to share

How to share on the web-based version of Drive

Open Google Drive in a web browser and navigate to a folder housing a file you want to share. Right-click that file and select the Share option from the menu. In the resulting popup, you might notice a few changes to the interface (Figure A).

Figure A

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The Google Drive share popup includes some subtle (and not so subtle) changes.

Before you type the name(s) of the person or people you want to share the file with, you need to take an important step first. By default, those you share with will only have View (read) permissions. If that person needs to be able to either comment on or edit the file, you need to first click Change To Anyone With The Link. In the resulting popup, click the required permissions option from the drop-down (Figure B).

Figure B

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Changing the permission option for a file in Google Drive.

After making your selection, click Copy Link (if you want to share the file via link) and then go back to the top of the popup to type the name(s) or email address(es) of those you want to collaborate with. If you don't click Copy Link before you type the names of the recipient(s), you'll have to re-open the sharing options to get the share link.

If you're satisfied with the sharing options, click Send and the recipient will be notified of the newly-shared file. If you copied the share link, you can then share it out via email, messaging, or whatever option you prefer.

How to share with specific permissions on the mobile app

The only change to the mobile app is how you can quickly grant specific permissions to collaborators. To use this new feature, open the Google Drive mobile app on your device and locate a file to share. Tap the menu button associated with the file (three vertical dots) and tap Share. In the resulting window, type the name or email address of the collaborator and then tap the drop-down below the name (Figure C).

Figure C

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The drop-down won't appear until you type the collaborator name or email address.

From the resulting popup (Figure D), select from either Viewer, Commenter, or Editor.

Figure D

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Selecting the necessary permission for your collaborator.

You can then add a message to the share and when finished, tap the Send button at the bottom-right corner of the window.

And that's all there is to the new sharing process with Google Drive. Although the changes shouldn't cause you too much difficulty, it's important to follow the steps as I outlined, otherwise the process won't be nearly as efficient as you're accustomed to.

Happy sharing.

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