Set general access options for file sharing in Drive

Use target audiences to help users share appropriately

This article is for administrators. To give general access to a file in My Drive you own, go here instead.

Supported editions for this feature: Business Standard and Business Plus; Enterprise; 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, general access is Restricted so only the file creator can access it and they must deliberately open the file to general access. When they allow general access to a file, you can suggest an appropriate group instead of the entire organization, and list other groups, too.

General access options are generated from target audiences, which you can use to group users by department or team. By default, the primary target audience is named your organization and includes all users in your organization. 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. That way, when a user in the Marketing organizational unit goes to allow general access, the first option they have is “Marketing”.

Set up general access options with target audiences

When you add target audiences, you can:

  • Add and remove target audiences in users' general access sharing options. For example, you might give users the option to allow general access for just their department or team.
  • Set a different primary target audience for specific users. For example, for most users, you could set the target audience as their team. But some users, you could set the target audience as their department.

Important:

  • In shared drives, the primary target audience and other target audiences are the ones set for the organizational unit the shared drive is assigned to.
  • If you remove a target audience from sharing settings, files shared with that target audience are still shared with them, even though that target audience is no longer in the general sharing options. To prevent 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 for Google Workspace users also apply to Cloud Identity users.

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 you want to add. If there aren't any target audiences besides 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 general access default option 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)—Anyone in your organization who has the link can access the file. 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)—Anyone in your organization can search for and view the file. However, a file with this setting is 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)—Anyone in the user’s primary target audience who has the link can access the file. 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)—Anyone in the user’s primary target audience can search for and view the file. However, a file with this setting is 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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