Allow sharing to non-Google users with visitor sharing

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

With visitor sharing, you can let your users invite users without a Google Account to collaborate on files and folders. Visitors use a PIN to verify their identity. You can allow anyone or only visitors in trusted domains that you specify. You can always review who has access to your organization's files and folders.

How it works

Users share with visitors in the same way that they share with Google users. Visitors get an email invitation to collaborate and a PIN to verify their identity. They can edit, comment on, or view an item for 7 days after they verify their identity. If the visitor needs to collaborate longer than 7 days, they can use the original link to verify their identity again.

When visitor sharing is turned on…

You and your users can add visitors to shared drives and folders, but not as members. A visitor:

  • Can view, comment on, suggest edits to, and directly edit files and folders that are in My Drive and shared drives on the web, including items in Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Sites, images, such as JPEG, PDF, and Microsoft Office files, including video files
  • Added to a shared drive folder can create files and upload files within that folder
  • Who has edit access, can share the file with another Google user but not with another visitor
  • Can’t access documents in downloaded clients, including Google Drive for desktop
  • Can delete their session
  • Sessions in a shared file can be seen and changed or their access can be revoked, just like any other collaborator

Turn on visitor sharing

  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 Appsand thenGoogle Workspaceand thenDrive and Docs.
  3. Click Sharing settingsand thenSharing options.
  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:
    To allow visitor sharing only to trusted domains:

    1. Add those domains to your organization’s trusted domains list, if they aren’t there already. For details, go to Allow external sharing with only trusted domains.
    2. Follow the instructions to Restrict sharing to certain domains. Make sure to check the Allow users in your organization to send invitations to non-Google accounts outside your organization box.

      Known issue: You can safely ignore the "Incompatible with whitelisted domains" message. Your users can still share with people in the trusted domain.
    To allow visitor sharing to anyone:
    1. Select On. 
    2. (Optional) To warn users who share outside of your organization, check the Warn before sharing box.
    3. Check the Allow users in your organization to send invitations to non-Google accounts outside your organization box.
    4. Check the When sharing outside of your organization is allowed, users in your organization can make files and published web content visible to anyone with the link box.
  6. For Access Checker, select Recipients only, suggested target audience, or public (no Google account required).
  7. Click Save. If you configured an organizational unit or group, you might be able to Inherit or Override a parent organizational unit, or Unset a group.

Upgrade a visitor session to a Google Workspace account

As an admin, you can upgrade a user’s visitor session to a Google Workspace account by creating a Google Workspace account with the same email address as the visitor session. Upgrading to a Google Workspace account retains the visitor session's collaboration history, including document comments and edits. For more information, go to Options for adding users.

How a visitor upgrades to a Google Account

To upgrade from a visitor session to a Google Account with the same email address, a visitor must first delete their visitor session. Then, they can either create a Google Account or sign up for Google Workspace.

Known issues and limitations

  • Some sites that use a Google sign-in might show the visitor’s account in the account switcher. However, even if they’re signed in, visitors can only access Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Sites.
  • There are limits on the number of visitors that you can share a file or folder with over a period of time. If a user reaches the visitor-sharing limit, they get a notice with details on when they can start sharing with visitors again.
  • When sharing a folder in a shared drive with a visitor account, the highest permission the visitor can be given is contributor access. They can’t access the root folder of a shared drive.
  • Visitors can't be added to a group in Google Groups or edit in Sites. However, they can be Published Viewers of a site.
  • If you restrict sharing with personal Google Accounts in your organization, visitor sharing is also restricted. If you (or one of your users) try to share with these accounts, you'll get an error message.

Related topics


Google, Google Workspace, and related marks and logos are trademarks of Google LLC. All other company and product names are trademarks of the companies with which they are associated.

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