Google Drive: Prevent other editors from changing permissions for your file or folder (Tech tip 5 of 31)

When you share and provide editing rights to a Google document (Docs), spreadsheet (Sheets), presentation (Slides) or drawing with others they also inherit the ability to add other people as viewers, commenters or editors.  Similarly, they also have the ability change the accessibility permissions to the Google file.  This may be problematic for the original owner (or author) if they want to retain ultimate control over who has access to the document outside of their shared group.

Fortunately, there is a feature within the Sharing Settings that allows the owner to prevent other editors from sharing the file with others.  This also stops their ability to change or edit current user permissions around accessing and editing the file.  Keep this in mind when sharing your next document, spreadsheet or presentation with other peers, educators or students.

To stop other editors from further sharing your files, access the sharing settings by either right-clicking on the Google file in your Google Drive or by opening the Google file and selecting the Share button.  When you are in the Share with Others menu…

  • Select the Advanced button in the lower right corner
  • Along the bottom of the next screen that appears, look for and select the Change button beside the statement, “Editors will be allowed to add people and change the permissions.
  • Toggle the sharing setting so that only the owner can change permission

These steps can also apply to other non-Google files that you have stored in your Google Drive as well as file folders that you wish to share with others.  Note that this does not prevent other editors, commenters and viewers from making a copy of the file for themselves.

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– K. Takahashi

Author: K. Takahashi

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2 Comments

  1. Hello,

    Thank you for this helpful tip. Unfortunately if I apply this setting to a folder, the files within are not similarly restricted.

    For example:

    On the host folder I check: “Prevent editors from changing access and adding new people”

    If I inspect the files within that folder (including files that I own), the “prevent . . .” is not checked.

    I asked a friend to test and they were able to successfully share the files within. Do you have any suggestions to make this recursive?

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    • Hmmm… I can’t think of a way to have this setting apply to all files submitted into the folder. There is a bit of a workaround for this… if you open the folder that you are sharing and then select all of the items in it. You can then set the sharing permission for all items selected and at this point select the option to prevent sharing of files. It is not a perfect solution because you essentially have to do repeat this again for any additional files that you add to this folder but at least you can reselect them all and then update the sharing setting.

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