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.

Important:

  • 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 @gmail.com).

  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:

Note: 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

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
Event

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 share a file with someone outside your domain who doesn’t have a Google Account, the invitee must create a Google Account to access 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 Shared externally even if the group doesn’t have any external users.

Events that involve external domains

Some events involve domains outside your own; for example, when a user copies a file to another domain. Some of these events are reported in the Drive audit logs of both your domain and the external domain. Names of external documents are not included in audit log entries.

The types of actions on Drive items that can involve external domains are reported in the Drive audit logs of both domains are moving, copying, and changing access.

Logged and unlogged events

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, Copy, and Edit events are logged for the new file
  • Microsoft Office and non-Google format files—A Create and Copy events is logged for the new file

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.

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.

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 nameand thenclick 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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