Manage File Sharing Permissions for Google Drive Print

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If you are signed up for Google Business or Google for Work Account then your Business Administers its Google Account for Work Users - and you have access to Google Apps Administration.

As a Google Apps administrator, you control whether users can share their Drive files outside your organization. You also set the default sharing options for new Docs, Sheets, Slides, and My Maps that your users create. 

The term "files" refers to all Google files (such as Docs, Sheets, and Slides), as well as Drive folders, unless otherwise noted.

Allow users to share outside your organization only to whitelisted domains

This feature is available only with Google Apps Unlimited, Google Apps for Education, or Google Apps for Nonprofits.

You might want to generally restrict users from sharing documents outside your domain, but still have the need to share with specific external Google Apps domains, such as in business partnerships, vendor relationships, and organizations split across multiple Google Apps domains.

To allow external sharing with only whitelisted domains:

  1. Sign in to the Google Admin console.
  2. Click Domains > Whitelisted Domains to specify the list of Google Apps domains that you trust.

    Whitelisted domains must be Google Apps domains. If you add non-Google Apps domains to the Whitelisted Domains list, they will still not be whitelisted. Also note that subdomains and domain aliases aren't included when you add a whitelisted domain, so add these separately if needed. See Set up whitelisted domains to learn more.

  3. From the Admin console dashboard, click Apps > Google Apps > Drive > Sharing settings.
  4. In the left panel, select the desired organizational unit.
  5. Under Sharing outside of organization, select ON - Whitelisted Domains.
    Users in the specified organizational unit can invite people in external whitelisted domains to view, comment on, and edit their files. They can also receive files from whitelisted domains. Google Forms created within the organizational unit with “Require login to view this form” selected can also be accessed by signed-in users from whitelisted domains.
  6. Check all the following options that apply:

    • For files owned by users in organization, warn when sharing with users in whitelisted domains
      Users will be asked to confirm when they share to any external whitelisted domain. This serves as a reminder to make sure the shared file is not confidential.
    • Allow users in organization to receive files from users outside of whitelisted domains
      Users can access files from non-whitelisted external domains, but they can only share externally to whitelisted domains.

      If you don’t check this box, users can’t access any files outside your domain or whitelisted domains, including files from other domains that are public on the web.

Allow users to share outside your organization to anyone

  1. Sign in to the Google Admin console.
  2. Click Apps > Google Apps > Drive > Sharing settings.
  3. If you have the Google Apps Unlimited, Education, or Nonprofits edition, select the desired organizational unit.

    Otherwise, your settings apply to your entire organization.

  4. Under Sharing outside of organization, select ON.
    Users can invite people outside the organization to view, comment on, and edit their files.

  5. Select any or all of the following:

    • For files owned by users in organization, warn when sharing outside domain
      Users will be asked to confirm when they share externally. This serves as a reminder to make sure the shared file is not confidential. This setting is selected by default.

    • Allow users in organization to send sharing invitations to people outside domain who are not using a Google account
      Users can send external sharing invitations to non-Google email accounts and non-Google Groups mailing lists. If you don’t select this option, files can only be shared with non-Google accounts and mailing lists within your domain.

      Important: People with non-Google accounts who receive a sharing invitation can forward it to other people. Invitations expire after 14 days.

      If you select this option, you then choose whether people with the sharing invitation must sign in to a Google account in order to view the file:

      • Require Google sign-in for external users to view file
        When a sharing invitation is sent to a non-Google email account or non-Google Groups mailing list, people with the sharing invitation will still need to sign in to a Google account to view the file (unless it's also shared publicly on the web or to anyone with the link, if you allow that).

        By requiring sign-in, people who access the file are visible in the Advanced section of the file’s share box, where access can be removed. 

        If the recipient doesn’t have a Google account, he or she will need to sign up for one.

        Google accounts don’t have to use Gmail or Google Apps addresses. A Google account is simply a unified sign-in system that provides access to Google products, including Docs, Sheets, and Slides. You can associate any email address with a Google account. To get someone who doesn't have a Google account started, send them this link:
      • Allow external users to preview file without Google sign-in
        People with the sharing invitation can view the file in a read-only preview mode without needing to sign in to a Google account, and they can forward the invitation to other people who can also view the file.

        This option applies only to files. Drive folders can never be previewed without signing in to a Google account. 

        People viewing the file without a Google account are not listed in the file’s share box, in the Advanced section under Who has access.

        If the file was shared with edit or comment access, anyone with the sharing invitation will still need to sign in to a Google account before they can edit or comment on the file (unless it's shared publicly on the web or to anyone with the link, if allowed by the next Admin console option).

    • Allow users in organization to publish files on the web or make them visible to the world as public or unlisted files
      Users can publish files or set visibility for files as Public on the web (meaning anyone on the Internet can find and access the file) or Anyone with the link (meaning it’s an unlisted file that’s not likely to show up in search results, but it is accessible to anyone who knows the link).

      If you check this box, users can set the visibility option of files to Public on the web via sharing options, and they can also publish Docs, Sheets, and Slides via File > Publish to the Web.

      If you don’t check this box, the only way users can share files outside your organization is to specifically invite each collaborator to access the file.

      IMPORTANT: This setting is not available in the legacy free edition of Google Apps. All free edition users can publish files on the web or to anyone with the link.

Notes about sharing settings:

  • With Google Apps Unlimited, Google Apps for Education, or Google Apps for Nonprofits, files always inherit sharing policy from the organizational unit of the file owner. A file may therefore inherit a new sharing policy if the owner moves to a new organizational unit or if file ownership is transferred to someone in a different organizational unit.

    You can never share a file you don’t own beyond what is allowed for the file’s owner, even if you are in an organizational unit with a more permissive sharing policy.

  • It can take up to 24 hours for settings changes to take effect. During this time, both old and new policies may be intermittently enforced.

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