How do I create private folders and documents in Google Drive?

Certain folders and documents may need to have limited access (e.g. employee reviews, HR, finance, etc.). In a previous FAQ, we covered how to manage sharing here. In the following article, we will go over setting up private folders & documents. 

(1) Start by creating a "New folder..." in the desired location within Google Drive. You can click on the blue "NEW" button or right click. 

(2) Update the name

(3) Right click on the new folder and click "Share..."


(4) You will then see "Share with others" menu. 

(5) Next, click on "Advanced" to pull up the "Sharing settings" window. 

(6) Under "Who has access" section and on the "Anyone at your organization who has the link can view" option, select "Change..." From here, you should see the "Link sharing" window. Make sure to select "Off - Specific people" so that you the folder documents will only be "Shared with specific people." Next, click the blue "Save" button. 

(7) Once your folder is private, the "Sharing settings" should list the "Who has access" section with "Private - Only you can access". Once this is set, you can add people to access the folder in the "Invite people:" section. 

(8) When inviting users to access the folder, be mindful of the desired permissions.

  • You can choose between: "Can organize, add, & edit" OR "Can view only."
  • You can keep the "Notify people" checked and click the blue "Add message" link to include an optional personal message to give people a heads up.
  • Under "Owner settings" you can check "Prevent editors from changing access and adding new people" to lock the folder down even further. Only problem with checking this option is that any others in your private folder group will have to go through you each time additional users are added to the private folder...just something to think about.

(9) After inviting people, you should see the list of users "Who has access." For additional help on managing the permissions, have a look at our article on managing sharing here.

(10) To create private documents in your private folder, select "New" or right click within the private folder. Then select the type of document you want to create. 

(11) Once a document is created, you will get an alert "Create in a shared folder? The created item will have the same sharing permissions as the selection folder." Select "OK" and you have successfully set up your private folder and document! 

(12) If you need to update the sharing settings for an individual document, right click on the file and click "Share..." OR when the document is open click the blue "Share" button. Additional details on managing sharing can be found here






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