Set general access sharing options for your organization

Use target audiences to help users share appropriately

This article is for administrators. To learn about managing access to your own files, go here instead.

Supported editions for this feature: Business Standard and Business Plus; Enterprise Standard and Enterprise Plus; Education Standard and Education Plus; G Suite Business; Nonprofits. Compare your edition

As an administrator, you can control the general access options users have when they share a file in My Drive. By default, users have 2 general access options: Restricted or your entire organization. You can add other options by creating target audiences.

Target audiences are lists of groups and users, such as a department or team, that you set up. After you create target audiences, you can choose which is the primary target audience. The primary target audience is the one that's automatically suggested to users. Initially, the primary target audience is named your organization and includes all users in your organization.

On this page

Examples of general access setups

  • Customize the primary target audience: You can set which target audience is the primary target audience by group or organizational unit. For example, if you have a Marketing organizational unit, you can create a “Marketing” target audience and set it as the primary target audience for that organizational unit. That way, when a user in the Marketing organizational unit goes to allow general access, the first option they have is “Marketing”.
  • Limit general access options: You can add and remove target audiences in users' general access sharing options. For example, you might allow users to give general access to only their department and remove the option for the entire organization.

How general access options apply

  • Shared drives get the general access options that you set for the organizational unit the shared drive is assigned to.
  • If you remove a target audience from sharing settings, files remain shared with that target audience, even though that target audience is no longer in the general sharing options. To block further access, either remove members from the audience or delete the audience from the list of target audiences in the Directory.
  • If your organization has Cloud Identity and Google Workspace licenses, the general access options apply to Cloud Identity users.

Set up general access options

Before you begin: To apply the setting for certain users, put their accounts in an organizational unit (to set by department) or a configuration group (to set for users across or within departments).

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. In the Admin console, go to Menu and then Appsand thenGoogle Workspaceand thenDrive and Docs.
  3. Click Sharing settings > Target audiences.
    The Audiences list shows any target audiences that are already applied to the service, in the order they’re listed in users' sharing settings.

  4. To apply the setting to everyone, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit or a configuration group.
  5. Click Add Target Audience.
  6. Check the box next to the target audience that you want to add. If the only target audience is the top organizational unit, click Create Target Audience. For details on setting up target audiences, see About target audiences.
  7. Click Save.
  8. Point to the target audience you want to be the primary target audience and change it to position 1 by dragging or changing the number.
  9. (Optional) Put the other target audiences in the order you want. To remove a target audience, click Remove item .
  10. Click Save. If you configured an organizational unit or group, you might be able to either Inherit or Override a parent organizational unit, or Unset a group.

It can take up to 24 hours to see changes. During this time, old and new settings might be intermittently enforced.

Set the default general access for new items

By default, general access is set to Restricted. This is the recommended setting for most users, so they can share a file only when they’re ready and keep personal files private.

Before you begin: To apply the setting for certain users, put their accounts in an organizational unit (to set by department) or a configuration group (to set for users across or within departments).

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. In the Admin console, go to Menu and then Appsand thenGoogle Workspaceand thenDrive and Docs.
  3. Click Sharing settings > General access default.

  4. To apply the setting to everyone, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit or a configuration group.
  5. Choose an option:
    1. Private to the owner—Only the file owner can access new files.
    2. Anyone in your organization can access the item if they have the link (for organizations without target audiences)—Files with this setting aren’t included in search results unless there are links to them from other files that are searchable.
    3. Anyone in your organization can search and find the item (for organizations without target audiences)—Files with this setting are listed in a user’s Drive only after they access the file or the file is shared with them.
    4. The primary target audience can access the item if they have the link (for organizations with target audiences)—Files with this setting aren’t included in search results unless there are links to them from other files that are searchable.
    5. The primary target audience can search and find the item (for organizations with target audiences)—File with this setting are listed in a user’s Drive only after they access the file or the file is shared with them.
  6. Click Save. If you configured an organizational unit or group, you might be able to either Inherit or Override a parent organizational unit, or Unset a group.

It can take up to 24 hours to see changes. During this time, old and new settings might be intermittently enforced.

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