How to Transfer Ownership of Google Docs?

All the documents that you make on Google Docs are saved under your account and are owned by you. These settings are by default as you signed in to your Gmail when creating the document. But if you want to make someone else the owner of that file, you can do that on Google Docs. The only requirement is that the person you want to give the ownership for this specific document must have a Gmail address.

Follow the instructions below to transfer the ownership of a document to someone else within your domain.

  1. Once you have logged in to your Gmail account, you need to open your Google Drive. Here is how you can do that.
  • Open the settings tab on your Gmail.
    Access the Settings Grid on your Gmail account. Make sure you are signed in with your Email Address
  • Click on the icon for ‘Drive’.
    Drive icon, where all your Google documents are automatically saved in.
  • This is how your Google Drive will look like. All the documents that you have ever made on Google Docs, Google Sheets, or any other Google-related product, all the files will be saved here.
    Your Google Drive. All your Sheets, docs and other documents that you uploaded are here.
  1. Now to share the file with someone else on Google, or change the ownership, you can click right on the file you want to make these changes for. Clicking right on any file or folder will show you these options.
    Find the Share option for sharing the file with a new ID

    You need to click on the tab for ‘Share…’

    Click on this to add an email ID
  2. This is the dialogue box that appears as soon as you click share. This is the first step in transferring ownership of a document to someone else. You cannot make someone else the owner of a document until and unless they have access to your document which can only be done by sharing the file with them at first.
    The empty space where it says Email Addresses is where you will add the email ID for the person you want to give its ownership to. You can share the file with as many people. And for this, you will have to add their Email IDs in the same space.
  3. Add the Gmail ID of the person you want to share the file with.
    I added my own ID for this example. Once I click the send button after sharing it, the email address that I entered will receive an email about being given access to a file.

    You can share the file with more than one person at a time. Keep adding the emails in the bar given for email addresses.

    The drop-down list shows an option for ‘Is Owner’ for a file which was created on Google products like Google Docs or Google Sheets.

    The drop-down arrow which appears right in front of the name of the email ID that you just added is where you need to click next. Here, you will find the option for ‘Is owner’ to transfer the ownership of the file to someone else. Once all of this is done, press the send button and you have transferred the ownership successfully.

Here are a few things that you must be sure of when transferring a document’s ownership to someone else.

  1. Make sure that the other person has a Gmail ID. If the person you want to share the file with is on another emailing network, then this transfer of ownership might not be possible.
  2. You cannot transfer the ownership of a file that was originally not created on Google Docs or Sheets, or any of its products. This means, that say, for example, you created a document on MS Word and uploaded it on your drive, you can share the file with others. But you cannot give someone else the ownership of such a file as it was not originally made on Google. When you try to share such a file, you will only find the following options on the drop-down list for it, which doesn’t give you an option for ‘is the owner’.
    When a file that is not made on Google products, will only show these options when sharing the link with others.

They can edit the file, they can comment on it since you have uploaded it on your Drive, but they cannot take its ownership because the file was originally created on MS Word of your computer. In such a case, you either make the file again on Google Docs or Google Sheets depending on the format of the file from scratch, or send the file to the person you want to give the ownership to through other transferring options like using a USB device and handing them over the file.


Habiba Rehman

Major love for reading, but writing is what keeps me going. Dream to publish my own novels someday.
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