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Manage Team Drives

Google Team Drives are shared spaces where teams can easily store, search, and access their files anywhere, from any device. 

Unlike My Drive, files in Team Drive belong to the team instead of an individual. Even if members leave, the files stay exactly where they are so your team can continue to share information and get work done.

Note: Team Drives is turned off by default. Be sure to turn on Team Drives for your domain, or for specific organizational units. 

This feature is available with the G Suite Enterprise or Business or Education edition.

Benefits and features

Creating a Team Drive for your projects or team makes sharing information and getting work done easier, more transparent, and collaborative.

Feature Description
Files remain after an employee leaves In Team Drives, files are owned by the team and company, not by an individual. When an employee leaves the company and their accounts are deleted, their files remain in Team Drives.
Improved sharing rules All members of a Team Drive see the same content.
Content discoverability When a user is added to a Google Group, they’re automatically added to all the Team Drives that include that group.
Share Team Drives with external users

You can add external users to a Team Drive where the Team Drive appears in their Google Drive. Any work an external user contributes (for example, edits within a file, creating a new file, uploading a file) is transferred to and owned by the domain that created the Team Drive.

Tip: As a G Suite administrator, you can set file sharing permissions for your users. Learn more

Synchronize content on your desktop Users can access their Team Drives on their computer using the new Drive File Stream. Drive File Stream allows users to use native desktop applications, such as Microsoft® Word® and Adobe® Photoshop®. This feature is currently available only to domains that are part of the Drive File Stream Early Adopter Program (EAP). Apply here

My Drive vs. Team Drives comparison

  Team Drives My Drive
What types of files can be added? All file types* All file types
Who owns files and folders?  The team The individual who created the file or folder
Can I move files and folders?

Users can only move files. 

Administrators can move folders

Yes
Can I sync files to my computer? 

No

Note: Users will soon be able to access their Team Drives on PC and Mac using the new Drive File Stream. This feature is currently available only to domains that are part of Drive File Stream Early Adopter Program (EAP). Apply here

Yes
Sharing All team members see the same file set. Different users might see different files in a folder, depending on their access to individual files.
How long do files I delete stay in Trash?
  • Each Team Drive has its own trash. 
  • Files and folders in the Trash are deleted forever after 30 days. 
  • Members can delete specific files sooner.
Files or folders in the Trash remain there until the user chooses "Delete Forever."
Can I restore files? Yes, if you have Edit access or full access. Yes, if you created it.

* Except Google Maps and existing documents with attached Apps Scripts

Best practices

As a G Suite customer, you can explore the many advantages available with Team Drives compared to My Drive. Consider how you want to organized your data when deciding on which one to use for your organization.
  • Use Team Drives to share material intended for public view by others. Keep personal files and files that others shouldn’t see in My Drive.
  • For improved collaboration, create a Team Drive for each project and assign the highest access level (such as full access) to all team members.
  • Train your managers and employees on how to use Team Drives, to increase usage throughout your organization. 
  • For users who need to move all of their content to Team Drives, encourage them to ask for your help. For example, you can can move their folders from My Drive to Team Drives. 
  • If your users don’t have the resources or time to migrate all of their files, ask them to start by migrating active projects or team documents. 
  • Sharing Team Drives content:
    • When users are added to a Team Drive, they can access everything in that Team Drive. You can’t restrict access to subfolders. When different permissions are needed, create a new Team Drive instead.  
    • Users can move any files they own from My Drive to a Team Drive. If the file is owned by someone else, ask them to move it.
    • Individual files within a Team Drive can be shared directly with non-Team Drive members. When this happens,  the file appears in ‘Shared with me’ and other views for that user, but can’t be added in My Drive or to another Team Drive.

When to create a new Team Drive

If users in your organization ask you when to create Team Drives, think about : 

  1. Are the files of interest to most or all members of a particular project team?
  2. Do the files share a consistent theme?

If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, creating a new Team Drive is a good idea. 

If the files are for a variety of projects, create multiple Team Drives. As the number of projects and teams increases, it can become difficult to find and manage content.

When to reorganize  a Team Drive

If your users have difficulty using a Team Drives over time, you may need to reorganize the content. Here are a few warning signs when this may be necessary. 
Too many files at the root level

If a Team Drive has a large number of files at the root level, one of the following issues can exist:

  • The purpose of the Team Drive is vague; multiple projects are using it as a bucket for arbitrary files.
  • The Team Drive membership list is too extensive—there are too many project teams or organizations assigned as members.

The Team Drive should be reorganized into several new Team Drives representing individual projects and functional (or cross-functional) teams. 

Trying to map folders to projects

Your users may try to create a Team Drive to represent a portfolio of projects or programs, and then create individual folders for each project. They might ask you about setting different access permissions for each of the folders in the Team Drive. This can indicate that the Team Drive is being oversubscribed. 

Each of the folders in this scenario should be reorganized into its own individual Team Drive. Note: To better support this reorganization, the G Suite team may look into providing more powerful controls for organizing large numbers of Team Drives in the future. 

Teams debate how folders or files should be organized

If multiple teams are having extended debates around how files and folders in a Team Drive should be organized, it can indicate that there are too many projects and teams represented in the Team Drive. The Team Drive should be reorganized into 2–3 new ones:

  • One Team Drive solely containing the “shared” content, representing a cross-functional project team
  • One (or more) Team Drives for the specific content for each of the functional teams
Include only group content in a Team Drive Users should avoid adding their personal content or notes into a Team Drive. Team Drives are meant for shared project artifacts that would be of interest to an entire team or group. 
Who should be members of a Team Drive

Avoiding adding an entire organization to a Team Drive, unless the content is highly focused. 

For example, a Team Drive containing U.S. benefits information for employees of a U.S.-based company could make for a good Team Drive. Alternatively, creating a single Team Drive for the entire company and then adding a folder called US Benefits  can lead to issues with organizing and searching the Team Drive.

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