Drive log events

Security investigation tool

Supported editions for the Drive log events data source in the investigation tool:
Enterprise Plus, Education Plus

As your organization's administrator, you can use the security investigation tool to run searches related to Drive log events, and to take action based on search results. From the investigation tool, you can view a record of actions to see your organization's user activity in Drive. Drive log events include content your users create in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and other Google Workspace apps, and content that your users upload to Drive, such as PDFs and Microsoft Word files. 

You can use the Activity API to programmatically access basic reports data. If your Google Workspace edition supports it, you can use a new Reports API to access advanced Google Workspace reports data.


  • For details on when data becomes available and how long it's retained, go to Data retention and lag times
  • Drive audit events are logged only for files owned by users with supported editions. 

Your access to the security investigation tool

  • Supported editions for the security investigation tool include Enterprise Plus and Education Plus.
  • Admins with Cloud Identity Premium, Enterprise Standard, and Education Standard can also use the investigation tool for a subset of data sources.
  • Your ability to run a search in the investigation tool depends on your Google edition, your administrative privileges, and the data source. If you're unable to run a search in the investigation tool for a specific data source, you can generally use the audit and investigation page instead.

Run a search for Drive log events

To run a search in the investigation tool, first choose a data source. You then need to choose one or more conditions for your search. For each condition, choose an attribute, an operator, and a value

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in

  2. On the left of the Admin console Home page, click Securityand thenSecurity centerand thenInvestigation tool.
  3. Click Data source and select Drive log events.
  4. Click Add Condition.
    Tip: You can include one or more conditions in your search or customize your search with nested queries. For details, go to Customize your search with nested queries.
  5. Click Attributeand thenselect an option.
    For a complete list of attributes, go to the Attribute descriptions section below.
  6. Click Containsand thenselect an operator.
  7. Enter a value, or select a value from the drop-down list.
  8. (Optional) To add more search conditions, repeat steps 4–7.
  9. Click Search.
    Search results in the investigation tool are displayed in a table at the bottom of the page.
  10. (Optional) To save your investigation, click Save""and thenenter a title and descriptionand thenclick Save.


  • In the Condition builder tab, filters are represented as conditions with AND/OR operators. You can also use the Filter tab to include simple parameter and value pairs to filter the search results.
  • If you gave a user a new name, you will not see query results with the user's old name. For example, if you rename to, you will not see results for events related to

Attribute descriptions

For this data source, you can use the following attributes when searching log event data:


  • The following list is not exhaustive and is subject to change. For more details about Drive log events, go to Drive Audit Activity Events on the Google Workspace Admin SDK website.
  • Most actions are logged immediately. However, Preview events in the Drive viewer can be delayed 12 hours or more from the time of the event.
Attribute Description
Actor Email address of the user who performed the action. Users external to the domain who start events are shown as anonymous, except when they view or edit a document explicitly shared with them (as an individual or as part of a specific group)
Actor group name Group name of the actor
Actor organizational unit Organizational unit of the actor
Audience Target domain in case the audit log is for a visibility change
Billable (Essentials edition only) Whether the user action is a chargeable activity

Date and time the event occurred (displayed in your browser's default time zone)

Note: Most events are logged when they’re complete. Sometimes large uploads can take a while to log.

Document ID Unique Drive item identifier associated with the activity, as stored in the URL link for the file
Document type File format that the activity involves, such as Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, JPEG, PDF, PNG, MP4, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, txt, HTML, MPEG audio, QuickTime video, folder, or shared drives
Domain The domain where the action occurred
Encrypted Whether the file is client-side encrypted

The logged event action, such as View, Rename, Create, Edit, Apply Security Update, Import content, or Label removed

IP address

Address from where the user performed the activity. This might reflect the user's physical location, but it can be something else like a proxy server or a Virtual Private Network (VPN) address. 

No IP addresses are logged for events:

  • Started by users external to the domain
  • From services that don't log the IP address in their requests
  • Relating to renaming or deleting a shared drive
New publish visibility value New visibility of the document
New value New value of the changed setting
New value IDs New value of the label field
Old publish visibility value Old visibility of the document if the activity is a visibility change
Old value Old value of the changed setting
Old value IDs Old value of the label field
Owner User who owns the file
Prior visibility Previous visibility of the document in case visibility is changed
Target User whose access is changed
Title Title of the document
Visibility Visibility of the Drive item associated with the activity
Visibility change Visibility of the Drive item before the activity
Visitor Yes means that the activity is by a non-Google user. No means that the activity is by a Google user. Learn more about sharing documents with visitors.

View files shared outside of a domain

To see files that are shared with users outside of a domain:

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in

  2. On the left of the Admin console Home page, click Securityand thenSecurity centerand thenInvestigation tool.
  3. Click Data sourceand thenselect Drive log events.
  4. Click Add Condition.
  5. Click Attributeand thenselect Visibility.
  6. Click Containsand thenselect Is.
  7. Click Visibilityand thenselect Shared externally.
  8. Click Search.
    Search results in the investigation tool are displayed in a table at the bottom of the page.

If a user shares a file with someone outside your domain who doesn’t have a Google Account, the invitee must create a Google Account to share the file. The sharing permissions change event won't appear in the log event data until the invitee creates an account and opens the file.

If you turn off external sharing and a user shares a resource with a group that allows external users, data is marked Shared externally in the log. However, external users in the group can’t access the shared resource. And, you’ll see this even if the group doesn’t have any external users.

Actions that are not logged

Files that are automatically deleted by Google Drive or emptied from Trash are logged. Other events, such as uploading a file, are logged once they’re complete. 

Copied files 

When a user copy files, the type of action that’s logged depends on the file type:

  • Docs, Sheets, or SlidesCreate and Edit events are logged for the new file
  • Microsoft Office and non-Google format files—A Create event is logged for the new file

If the user clicks Make a copy in Docs, Sheets, or Slides, a View event is logged for the new file because it is displayed to the user.

Shared drive files

Viewing Trash on a shared drive is not logged

Printing files

Print events are not recorded for Google file formats (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, and Forms). 

When printing files with the Drive app from an Apple iPhone and iPad or Android device, Print events might be logged as Download events.

Downloaded files

Downloads from the following sources are not logged:

  • Google Takeout downloads
  • Downloads to offline browser caches
  • Photos that are synced to, downloaded from, or viewed through Google Photos
  • Drive items that are emailed as attachments and downloaded through the recipient's email client

Viewed files

Viewing files using the /htmlview, /embed, /revisions, and other special URLs are logged as View events

Published files

Publishing to the web for Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms is not logged

Anonymous users

Only the following actions are logged for anonymous users not signed in to a Google Account, who are viewing a link-shared file:

  • Editing files in Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, and Forms

Not logged:

  • Viewing all file types in Drive
  • Downloading any file type

Sync clients

Download events are logged when files are copied between Drive and a local device using Google Drive for desktop.

Take action based on search results

After you run a search in the investigation tool, you can act on your search results. For example, you can run a search based on Gmail log events, and then use the investigation tool to delete specific messages, send messages to quarantine, or send messages to users' inboxes. For more details about actions in the investigation tool, go to Take action based on search results.

Create activity rules & set up alerts

To help prevent, detect, and remediate security issues efficiently, you can automate actions in the investigation tool and set up alerts by creating activity rules. To set up a rule, set up conditions for the rule, and then specify what actions to perform when the conditions are met. For details and instructions, go to Create and manage activity rules.

Manage your investigations

View your list of investigations

To view a list of the investigations that you own and that were shared with you, click View investigations"". The investigation list includes the names, descriptions, and owners of the investigations, and the date last modified. 

From this list, you can take action on any investigations that you own—for example, to delete an investigation. Check the box for an investigation, and then click Actions.

Note: Directly above your list of investigations, under Quick access, you can view recently saved investigations.

Configure settings for your investigations

As a super administrator, click Settings"" to :

  • Change the time zone for your investigations. The time zone applies to search conditions and results.
  • Turn on or off Require reviewer. For more details, go to Require reviewers for bulk actions.
  • Turn on or off View content. This setting allows admins with the appropriate privileges to view content.
  • Turn on or off Enable action justification.

For instructions and details, go to Configure settings for your investigations.

Manage columns in your search results

You can control which data columns appear in your search results. 

  1. At the top-right of the search results table, click Manage columns"".
  2. (Optional) To remove current columns, click Remove item"".
  3. (Optional) To add columns, next to Add new column, click the Down arrow""and select the data column.
    Repeat as needed.
  4. (Optional) To change the order of the columns, drag the column name.
  5. Click Save.
Export data from search results

You can export search results in the investigation tool to Google Sheets or to a CSV file. For instructions, see Export search results.

Share, delete, and duplicate investigations

To save your search criteria or share it with others, you can create and save an investigation, and then share, duplicate, or delete it.

For details, go to Save, share, delete, and duplicate investigations.

When and how long is data available?

For more information about data sources, go to Data retention and lag times.


Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?

Need more help?

Sign in for additional support options to quickly solve your issue

Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu
Search Help Center