Modified 08 November 2019 by Ian Weatherhogg


Set folders to "View only" in Google Drive to ensure users don't accidentally remove sub-folders and files

Google Drive introduces the ability to create file server-like folder hierarchies that users can see within their own My Drive section. If you wish to create an overall company folder system within Google Drive though, we recommend taking some time to think about folder permissions.

If you give all users Edit permissions - ie you allow "people within can find and edit" - then all users will be able to "move" files and folders. See The difference between Add and Move in Google Drive for reasons why this may not be a smart idea. Instead, consider setting the top level folder to View only - ie you allow "people within can find and view" - and then decide on sub-level folder permissions by users or email groups.

A folder permission is set exactly like a document permission. Select the folder in Google Drive/Doc view and choose More --> Share. Under Who has access set the Edit / View permissions, and add any individuals or groups you need.

One word of caution if you have already set up a folder hierarchy - changing folder permissions will change the general permissions of any sub-folder and document that has not been specifically set. To clarify, if you have documents or sub-folders that have had general permissions changed from the default setting, the permissions will not change, and any individual sharing settings will be remain the same. But any sub-folders and documents that have not been specifically set will inherit the new higher level folder setting. If you are working on a folder hierarchy that is already in place, we recommend starting with the lowest level folder and working up so that permissions are specifically set before you set the top level.

Let us know your experiences with folders in Google Drive in the comments.