The Gooru

There are plenty of reasons why people may want to transfer ownership in Google Docs. If you are the owner, you might want to pass along responsibility of a project to someone else in your organization. If you’re a Google Apps Admin, you probably want to have a process in place when employees leave the company.

On the end user side, transferring ownership of files in Google Drive is really easy and it only takes a few steps. It’s important to keep in mind that you can only transfer ownership to someone else inside your organization, not a Gmail or another Google Apps account.

In Google Drive, there are three user types: owner, editor, and viewer. Though many users are able to edit and view a single document, there can only be one owner.

The sharing settings can be altered at any time in order to add or remove collaborators, but changing the owner is not such an intuitive process.

If the owner of a document leaves the domain, his or her documents will be deleted. To prevent this information loss, it is important to correctly transfer all documents from one user to another within the domain.

*Important note: once a user has been deleted, his or her documents cannot be transferred. If this should happen by accident, for five days the super administrator is able to restore the user’s account, and transfer the documents that way.

  1. To review the owners of all documents under your domain, from the Home page, click on Drive across the top navigation menu, and then Drive from the menu along the left.
  2. Here you will see all of the documents within your domain. In order to change the owner of ALL documents at once, which may be helpful when a user is leaving your domain, select the grey box to the left of Title.
  3. Then, click on Edit Permissions > Change Owner, and you will be able to follow the prompt to change the status of the current owner and transfer ownership to another user.
  4. In addition, the filter settings can be used to search your entire domain for documents owned by a particular user.
  5. Once the transfer is complete, the original owner will still maintain editing privileges until their account is deleted or status otherwise changed.

*Note: Ownership of an individual document can be changed the same way, by selecting only one document at a time.

On the administrative side, you need to have a process in place for transferring files when an employee leaves your organization. Using a third party tool like BetterCloud will allow you to transfer files in bulk, making sure all files are accounted for.

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The original version of this video can be found here.