Shared Drives Training
Posted by Emma Henderson on 03 June 2020 02:16 PM

Shared Drives is a new feature in Google’s G Suite that offers a shared space where departments can create, store, search, and access their departmental files. Google Shared Drives makes sharing and collaboration easy without the potential for loss of data or access when individuals leave Goshen College, or change departments. This is because, while data in Google’s My Drive is individually owned, data in Google’s Shared Drives is owned by the department. ITS has created for each campus department their own Shared Drive, and it will be synonymous to your My Department folder on the M: drive. 

Like My Drive, Shared Drives has several options for file management, file sharing, and levels of access for team members.


Shared Drives will serve two purposes: 

  1. Provide a location for campus departments to store files. Employees can use the Shared Drive space as a place to store departmental files that need to be accessed by everyone in the department.  If an employee changes departments, the content that they had created in your department Shared Drive remains in your department Shared Drive. If you have student employees who need access, refer to the section below on “Student Employee Access.” 
  2. Provide a location where teams of people can have a common storage location of files for projects, committees, etc. All employees are able to create other Shared Drives for their projects, committees, Academics, and so on.  Employees will be able to add and remove members in the Shared Drives that they create. Students can also be added as members to a Shared Drive that you create. 


Creating a Shared Drive For Your Department

ITS has already created a Shared Drive folder for each campus department. Every Shared Drive that ITS has created for departments will have "Department" added onto the name of the folders so that ITS will be able to differentiate the departmental Shared Drives folders from other Shared Drive folders that users will create on their own. ITS has an automated process in place to auto-add any new employees, and auto-remove any departed employees. 

File Permissions

When you add new members to a Shared Drive, by default they are given the Content Manager role, which gives them permission to add, edit, move, and delete files. You can, however, change member permissions.

Types of access levels



Content Manager*




View Shared Drives and files

Comment on files in Shared Drives

Make, approve, and reject edits in files

Create and upload files and create folders in Shared Drives

Add people to specific files in Shared Drives

Move files and folders within a Shared Drive

Move Shared Drive files into the trash

Permanently delete files in the trash

Restore files from trash (up to 30 days)

Add or remove people to or from Shared Drives

Modify Shared Drive settings

Delete a Shared Drive

* Default role for new members

** Contributor access provides read-only access to files in Drive File Stream. Assign the Content Manager access level for users who need to edit files by way of Drive File Stream. 

Some Key Differences Between My Drive And Shared Drives:



My Drive

Shared Drives

Who can add files?

The person who owns My Drive.

Any member with Contributor access or higher. 

What types of files can I add?

All file types.

All file types (except Google Maps).

Who owns files and folders?

The individual who created the file or folder.

The team.

Can I move files and folders? 

Yes, you can move files and folders around in My Drive.

  • If you have Contributor access or higher, you can move files you own from My Drive to a Shared Drive.
  • If you have Content manager access or higher, you can move files and folders around within a Shared Drive.
  • If you have Manager access, you can move files out of a Shared Drive or between Shared Drives.
  • If you want to move folders from My Drive to Shared Drives, contact the ITS Department.

Can I sync files to my computer?

Yes, using Drive File Stream

Yes, with Drive File Stream

How does sharing work?

Different users might see different files in a folder, depending on their access to individual files.

All members of the Shared Drive have access to all files.

How long do files I delete stay in Trash?

Files or folders in Trash remain there until the user selects Delete Forever.

  • Each Shared Drive has its own Trash.
  • Members with Content manager access and above can move files to Trash.
  • Files and folders in Trash are deleted forever after 30 days.
  • Members with Manager access can permanently delete files before 30 days.

Can I restore files?

Yes, if you’re an owner of the file.

Yes, if you have at least Contributor access.


Create a Shared Drive

The ITS Department has created the Shared Drive for your department. However you can create additional Shared Drives for your various teams and projects. 

  1. On your computer, go to (Or, if you’re already in any of the Google services, click on the Application Menu and choose Drive
  2. On the left, click Shared Drives.
  3. At the top left, click New.
  4. Enter a name for the Shared Drive.
  5. Click Create.
  6. Once your Shared Drive is created, you have the top level role of Manager for that Shared Drive.

Naming A Shared Drive

As you can imagine, with many of us now using Shared Drives, there is the potential for duplicate names to occur on either a Shared Drive, or on folders within a Shared Drive. While we don’t think duplicate Shared Drives or folder names will cause any issues, consider names that make your Shared Drive or folders unique to your department, project, or committee. For example: instead of creating a folder in your Shared Drive called “Student Workers,” add an identifier like your department. Eg. “Library Student Workers”. Or, instead of naming the Shared Drive for your committee, “Committee,” consider a more distinctive name, like “Library Steering Committee.” If you want to check to see if the Shared Drive name that you want to use is already being used, contact the ITS department and we can see whether or not it already exists. 

Adding New Members to Shared Drives

  1. On your computer, go into Google Drive.
  2. At the left, click Shared Drives and double-click one of your Shared Drives.
  3. At the top, click Add Members.
  4. Add by names or email addresses.
  5. By default, new members will get "Content Manager" access. They can add, edit, and delete files, and invite other members. To change a member’s access, click the Down arrow  and choose an option. Then, choose whether new members get notified. 

Manage or Remove Members

Members who have Manager access can change what other members can do.

  1. On your computer, go to
  2. At the left, click Shared Drives and double-click one of your Shared Drives.
  3. At the top, next to the name of your Shared Drive, click the Down arrow .
  4. Click Email Members.
  5. Enter your message and click Send.

Change a Member’s Access Rights

To change the access of existing members, click Members, and then click the down arrow next to each member that you wish to modify their access rights. After you’re finished, click Done

Add, Create, and Delete Files

Create and upload files and folders

  1. Double-click one of your Shared Drives.
  2. At the top left, click New.
  3. Click the type of file or folder you want to create or upload from your computer or the M: Drive.

Moving Content from My Drive to Shared Drives

  • It is best practice to move files from My Drive to Shared Drives, rather than placing a copy in Shared Drives. Making copies could cause confusion from having duplicate files in two locations. 
  • When you move a file from My Drive to Shared Drive, members of the Shared Drive will have access to the file. 
  • If while the files was located in My Drive you shared it with someone who is not a member of the Shared Drive, that person will still have access to the file once you move it from My Drive to Shared Drive. So, be sure to double-check file permissions once you’ve moved a file to Shared Drive to ensure that the correct people still have access.
  • Files that are moved to a Shared Drive, that had been previously shared with collaborators in My Drive, will remain in the collaborator’s “Shared with Me” and “Recent” locations of Google Drive. But if the collaborator had “added” the file to their My Drive space, the file will be removed from the collaborator’s My Drive space, and be accessible again in the “Shared with Me” and “Recent” locations of Google Drive. Because of this, if there are files that you have shared with others that you’ve moved into a Shared Drive and not all collaborators of that file are a member of the Shared Drive, consider making them a member so that they can easily find the file in the future. The only exception to this would be a departmental Shared Drive. Only members of your actual department can be made members of, and have access to the files that are in that location. 
  • A file’s permissions and sharing link will not change when it’s moved into a Shared Drive. People who aren’t Shared Drive members will still be able to access that file with their previously granted permissions.

Moving Folders

At this time, it is not possible to move folders into a Shared Drive. Therefore, you can do one of two things. 

  1. Recreate the folders in your Shared Drive, and then move the files into the appropriate folders.  Or, 
  2. Download the folders with files to your GC computer. 
    1. It will place them into a zip file on your computer. 
    2. Unzip the zip file. 
    3. Then, upload all of those folders with files into the Shared Drive. 

Moving Departmental Files That You Don’t Own

  • If you do not own the file, you cannot move the file to your department’s Shared Drive unless you contact ITS to be granted special permission to move files that you have editing access to. For example, you and others in your department are collaborating on several files, which are owned by different individuals within your department. ITS can give one person in your department/team special privileges to be able to move those files into Shared Drives, regardless of who in your department actually owns the file.

Sharing Files in Shared Drives

Departmental Shared Drives

  • You cannot make a person outside of your department a member of your department’s Shared Drive. 
  • It is not recommended to share files that are located in your department’s Shared Drive with individuals who are not a member of your department. If at all possible, create a new Shared Drive for a committee or team that includes people from various departments, and use that Shared Drive to share files with them. 

Other Shared Drives That You Create

  • You can create other Shared Drives and share those files with employees from other departments, student assistants, and people outside of Goshen College. 


Files That Cannot Be Stored In Shared Drives

Google has set limits on the types of files that can be stored in Shared Drives. Following are files that cannot be stored in Shared Drives: Google Maps, Google Photos, App Maker apps, and files owned by other domains cannot be stored in Shared Drives. 

Folder Hierarchy Depth

A single Shared Drive can nest up to 20 subfolders, but we don’t recommend creating Shared Drives with a folder structure that complex. Try to keep subfolders to a minimum to aid your team members with organizing and navigating the content.


Student Employee Access

You can grant your student employees access to either your department Shared Drives, or other Shared Drives that you’ve created. 

Granting Access

Department Shared Drives - If you have a student employee who you want to be able to collaborate with on files in your department Shared Drive, it is possible, but there are some limitations:  

  • Don’t grant access to the student’s personal GC account. Instead, grant access to your department’s student assistant account. (Most departments have a student assistant account that starts with “stu_” followed by the department name or abbreviation. This is the account that your student assistants must log in with when collaborating on files within your department Shared Drive.  If your department does not have a student assistant account, or if you can’t remember its login, contact ITS for assistance. 
  • You will not be able to add a department student assistant account as a member to your department Shared Drives. However, you can grant the student assistant account access to individual files within the Shared Drives. 


Other Shared Drives - for any other Shared Drives that you create, you CAN add a department student account as a member of the Shared Drive. And, you can also add a student’s personal GC Google account as a member of that Shared Drive. If you don’t want to add the student assistant account or their personal GC account as a member of the Shared Drive, you can just grant them access to specific files.


updated 6/10/20 pg


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