Shortcuts replacing items stored in multiple locations

We’re replacing files and folders stored in multiple folders in Google Drive with shortcuts. In the past, users could put items in different locations, causing multiple parent folders and confusion.

How will the replacement work?

When items are replaced with shortcuts:

  • We remove all but one location for items that are currently in multiple locations and replace the removed items with shortcuts.
  • The replacement decision will be based on original file and folder ownership, and will also consider access and activity on all other folders to ensure the least possible disruption for collaboration.
  • The replacement process won’t change the ownership or sharing permissions for files and folders.
  • The process is automatic and doesn’t require any actions from you or your users.

There is a record of the events when Drive moves items and creates shortcuts in the Drive log events.

When will content be replaced?

All Google Workspace organizations will go through the replacement process. A few weeks before we replace items with shortcuts, we’ll send an email to administrators and show banners in Drive for all users. Before the replacement, as an admin, you can control when to create shortcuts in shared folders. After the replacement, users can move an item to a new location or add a shortcut in a new location.

How the does replacement affect access and visibility to items?

  • Users who had access to an item before the replacement can still access it after the items are replaced with shortcuts. 
  • Anyone with access to a folder will get shortcuts in the folder, even if they don’t have access to the individual item in the folder. However, you can control when to create shortcuts using the settings above. See the table above for items to consider before applying settings.
  • Users that didn’t have access to an item can’t open it, even if they have the shortcut.
  • If you choose to create shortcuts only for your domain or trusted domains, external users might get shortcuts to files that they previously haven’t had. For example, if a folder was shared with a group that has an external user or if a parent folder was shared with an external user, that user might see shortcuts for items that weren’t shared directly with them.
  • If a user changes a folder's access permissions at the same time that the replacement process happens, the replacement process takes precedence. Any access changes for items that now have shortcuts in that folder might not be fully implemented.

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