Drive log events

Audit and investigation page: View user Google Drive file activity

Supported editions for this feature: Frontline; Business Standard and Business Plus; one or more Enterprise editions; Education Fundamentals, Education Standard, Teaching and Learning Upgrade, and Education Plus; G Suite Business; Essentials.  Compare your edition

The audit log page has been replaced with a new audit and investigation page. For information about this change, go to Improved audit and investigation experience: What's new in Google Workspace

As an administrator, you can use the audit and investigation page to run searches related to Drive log events. There 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.


  • Not all activities in Drive are logged. For a list of what’s included in the log, on this page see Logged and unlogged events.
  • 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. 

For a full list of services and activities that you can investigate, such as Google Drive or user activity, read through the data sources for the audit and investigation page.

Open the audit and investigation page

Access Drive log event data

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in

  2. On the left, click Reportingand thenAudit and investigationand thenDrive log events.

Filter the data

  1. Open the log events as described above in Access Drive log event data.
  2. Click Add a filter, and then select an attribute.
  3. In the pop-up window, select an operatorand thenselect a valueand thenclick Apply.
  4. (Optional) To create multiple filters for your search:
    1. Click Add a filter and repeat step 3.
    2. (Optional) To add a search operator, above Add a filter, select AND or OR.
  5. Click Search.

Note: Using the Filter tab, you can include simple parameter and value pairs to filter the search results. You can also use the Condition builder tab, where the filters are represented as conditions with AND/OR operators.

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. Open the log events as described above in Open Drive log event data.
  2. Click Add a filterand thenVisibility, then select Shared externally.
  3. Click Search.

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, even if the group doesn’t have any external users. However, external users in the group can’t access the shared resource.

Logged and unlogged events


Files that are automatically deleted by Google Drive or emptied from Trash are logged.


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

  • Docs, Sheets, or SlidesCreate, Copy, and Edit events are logged.
  • Microsoft Office and non-Google format filesCreate and Copy events are logged.
  • Files encrypted with Google Workspace Client-side encryption–An Upload event is logged.

Any time a file is copied, a Source Copy event is logged for the file which is copied. 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.


Print events aren't recorded when a user prints a filed opened in a 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.


Most downloads are logged, including when files are copied between Drive and a local device using Google Drive for desktop.

Some View actions are logged as downloads:

  • Previewing a file in the Drive app on a mobile device is logged as a Download event.
  • Previewing a file, such as a PDF, that can’t be directly opened in Google Docs or other Google app is logged as a Download event.

Downloads from the following sources are not logged:

  • Google Takeout downloads (search Takeout log events instead)
  • 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


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

Events that involve external domains

Some events involve users, shared folders, or shared drives outside your organization, such as when a user in your organization shares a file with an external user. Both organizations log an event when it changes the ownership of the item from one organization to another.

Examples of events logged by both:

  • A Drive item owned by a user in your organization is moved to an external shared drive.
  • A Drive item owned by a user outside of your organization is moved to a shared drive owned by your organization.
  • A user copies a file into or out of your organization. The receiving organization logs the copied file’s name, not the original file name.

Examples of events logged by your organization but not logged by the external domain:

  • A Drive item owned by a user in your organization is shared with an external user.
  • A Drive item owned by a user in your organization is shared with a group that allows external users, even if no external users are part of the group.
  • An external user views, edits, downloads, prints, or deletes a Drive item owned by your organization.
  • An external user uploads a file to a shared drive owned by your organization.

Events logged by the external domain but not by your organization are the reverse of the previous section.

Anonymous users

When anonymous users (users not signed in to a Google Account) view a link-shared file only edits to files in Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, and Forms are logged.

The following aren't logged: viewing a file in Drive or downloading a file.

Drive for desktop

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

Manage log event data

Manage search results column data

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 "".
  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 data column names.
  5. Click Save.

Export search result data

  1. At the top of the search results table, click Export all.
  2. Enter a name and then click Export.
    The export displays below the search results table under Export action results.
  3. To view the data, click the name of your export.
    The export opens in Google Sheets.

Create reporting rules

Go to Create and manage reporting rules.

When and how long is data available?

Go to Data retention and lag times.

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