Drive audit log

View user Google Drive file activity

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

You can use the Google Drive audit log to record your organization's user activity. The Google Drive audit log includes content your users create in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and other G Suite applications, as well as content created elsewhere that your users upload to Drive, such as PDFs and Microsoft Word files. 

Organizations with any version of G Suite can use the Activity API to programmatically access basic G Suite reports data, while organizations with G Suite Enterprise, G Suite Business, or G Suite Essentials can use a new Reports API to access advanced G Suite reports data.

Important:

  • For details on exactly when data becomes available and how long it's retained, see Data retention and lag times
  • Drive audit events are logged only for files owned by users with G Suite Business, Education, Enterprise, and G Suite Essentials editions.

Open your Drive audit log

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

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

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Reports.
  3. On the left, under Audit, click Drive.

    You might have to scroll to see Audit.

  4. (Optional) To customize what you review, on the right, click Manage columns "", select the columns that you want to see or hide, and click Save.

Understand Drive audit log data

Data you can view

The Google Admin console bases its Drive audit logs on the following user data:

Data Type Description Filtering within the Admin Console
Event name

User action such as View, Rename, Create, Edit, Preview, Print, Update, Delete, Upload, Download, or Share a Drive file.

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. 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. 

Copying files 

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

  • Docs, Sheets, or Slides—Create and Edit actions 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 uses the "Make a copy" menu item in Docs, Sheets, or Slides, a View event is also logged for the new file because it is displayed to the user.

Shared drive files

Viewing Trash and Changing Theme on a shared drive is not logged.

Printing files

Print events are not recorded for Google file formats (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms). Print events may be logged as Download events when printing files with the Drive app from Apple iOS or Android devices. 

Downloading 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

Viewing files

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

Publishing files

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

Anonymous users

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

  • Viewing or editing files in Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, and Forms.

Not logged:

  • Viewing other file types in Drive is not logged.
  • Downloading any file type is not logged.

Sync clients

Download events are logged when files are copied between Drive and a local device using Drive File Stream or Backup and Sync.

Filterable
Event description Summary of the event, such as "Larry created an item." Not filterable
Item 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. Filterable
Item ID Unique Drive item identifier associated with the activity, as stored in the URL link for the file. Filterable
Visibility Visibility of the Drive item associated with the activity. Filterable
Prior Visibility Visibility of the Drive item prior to the activity. Filterable
User Primary email address of the user who performed the activity. Users external to the domain who initiate 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). Filterable; also works if only the domain name is entered
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. Filterable
Owner User who owns the file. Filterable
Date and time range

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

Note: Most events are logged as soon as they’re complete. In some cases, such as with large uploads, this can take a while.

Filterable
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:

  • Initiated 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.
Not filterable
Billable (G Suite Essentials only) Whether the user action is a chargeable activity. Not filterable

File visibility and sharing permissions

When a user in your domain shares a file, a "User Sharing Permissions Change" event is added to the audit log.

To see files that are shared with users outside of a domain, under Visibility, select Shared Externally.

  • If you share 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 audit log 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 will be marked Shared External in the log. However, any 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.

When and how long is data available?

Go to Data retention and lag times.

Related topics



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