Google Drive and Docs Tips

Protect your Google Drive folders by setting permissions Click for larger image and screenshots

Protect your Google Drive folders by setting permissions

Set folders to "View only" in Google Drive to ensure users don't accidentally remove sub-folders and files.

Google Drive introduces the ability to create file server-like folder hierarchies that users can see within their own My Drive section. If you wish to create an overall company folder system within Google Drive though, we recommend taking some time to think about folder permissions.

If you give all users Edit permissions - ie you allow "people within can find and edit" - then all users will be able to "move" files and folders. See The difference between Add and Move in Google Drive for reasons why this may not be a smart idea. Instead, consider setting the top level folder to View only - ie you allow "people within can find and view" - and then decide on sub-level folder permissions by users or email groups.

A folder permission is set exactly like a document permission. Select the folder in Google Drive/Doc view and choose More --> Share. Under Who has access set the Edit / View permissions, and add any individuals or groups you need.

One word of caution if you have already set up a folder hierarchy - changing folder permissions will change the general permissions of any sub-folder and document that has not been specifically set. To clarify, if you have documents or sub-folders that have had general permissions changed from the default setting, the permissions will not change, and any individual sharing settings will be remain the same. But any sub-folders and documents that have not been specifically set will inherit the new higher level folder setting. If you are working on a folder hierarchy that is already in place, we recommend starting with the lowest level folder and working up so that permissions are specifically set before you set the top level.

Let us know your experiences with folders in Google Drive in the comments.

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Akshay Ravi
Hi. If I am the owner of a parent folder and have given edit permissions to all users and a user creates a sub folder B in my parent folder and removes permission for me, is that allowed? Since I own the parent folder, how do I enable access for me to all sub folders and files?
15 October at 03:05 Reply to this comment
Adrian Nicholas
hi...if I have folder A , and inside of folder A i have folder B, and folder B got 3 files ( mixed documents ) , when i share folder A , the other user is able to download what i have in folder B ( even i setup since i create the share link, "anyone with the link can view", and "only the owner can change the permissions". wondering if there is a solution for the parent folder A , to create permission just for view not for download permission for whatever is in the child folder , when i share the link ????
17 July at 10:34 Reply to this comment
mahbub afroza
Though, only the user or shared people can view or edit whatever, Actually i want to password protect my Google drive. You know girl friend, friends and family sometimes use our cell phone. i think in this case personal data are not safe. i hope Google will solve my issue.
01 June at 15:33 Reply to this comment
Rob Moore
I have found this not quite the case. Even if I have set a single document with specific permissions, adding someone to the top level folder then adds that permission level for that person to the controlled document. This is a problem because if I lock down a single document among many to view only and then add an editor to the top level, that person gets edit to my read-only document. Not good...
04 June at 18:49 Reply to this comment
Hermann Stern
How can I overwrite permissions on sub-folders and files without having to change each file individually?
04 December at 11:14 Reply to this comment
Mark Williams Hi Hermann When you change the parent folder permissions - ie by changing the universal permission from view to edit or by adding an individual permission - that setting is inherited by sub-folders and files. If you want to remove an individual permission though, you will need to do this on each file.
04 December at 11:18