How to upload and share large documents on Google Drive

Google Drive lets you store, share and access your files on the web, on your hard drive, or on mobile devices. Check supported formats.

Each file that you upload can be up to 10 GB. Usage information is displayed when you upload a document. All other size limits apply.

To get started, follow these five recommended steps:

  1. Sign in to Drive 
  2. Create a folder 
  3. Upload files 
  4. Share the folder 
  5. Notify your collaborators

There are more ways to organize and access your Drive: check this extended tutorial.

Sign in to Drive on the web

Go to and sign-in with your CGIAR username and password. 

Create a folder

Click the Create  button at the top left of your Drive and select Folder from the menu.

In the box that appears, place your cursor over the field labeled New Folder and enter a name.

The folder you created now appears in My Drive both on the left navigation menu and the central pane.

Upload a file or more to the folder

To add files, open the folder and drag and drop one or more files from your PC to the central pane of the screen.

Alternatively, click on the Upload button and select Files… to open a dialog box that lets you select files for upload.


You will be asked to confirm your upload settings. Certain file formats, e.g. MS Word, can be converted to the corresponding Google Docs format and made editable online. You have the option to convert or not convert the files you upload. To preserve the original format, uncheck the first box and click on Start upload. Follow the progress on screen.

Note: you can also upload folders from your computer, which is handy when you need to share a large collection of files.

Share the folder

Sharing a folder with one or more users is an easy way to give them access to the files in the folder.

  1. Locate the folder in My Drive and right-click on it, 
  2. select Share… 
  3. and then Share… again

In the Sharing settings, you set the visibility of the folder and its contents. You can share privately with individual users, or set the visibility option in bulk at the folder level.

Sharing with specific people

By default, visibility of folders and files is private: only the people you invite can access. You have to invite collaborators and give them permission to Edit or View:
  • Edit gives them rights to add more files, create subfolders, add people and change visibility and permissions. 
  • View gives them a simple right to view and browse the folder.

In the Invite people box, type the email addresses of the users you would like to access the folder and all the files in it.

Note about inviting users: all the people you wish to invite are required to have a Google account.

  • CGIAR staff can be invited with their or accounts: make sure they can sign in to if this is the first time you are sharing files with them; to invite colleagues from IRRI,  use their addresses.

  • Non-CGIAR staff: contact them to obtain their email addresses associated to a Google account. It is always best to check beforehand so that they can safely receive the invitation. If they do not have a Google account yet, they may wish to create one or associate their current email to Google Account.

  •  Google Group: when you need to share several folders (or Calendars, Sites, individual documents) with the same group of collaborators on a regular basis, collect all their Google accounts and create a Google Group on This will create a handy mailing list address that you can use to Invite people, instead of you entering several email addresses each time.

Bulk visibility options

If the information is not confidential or you would like to avoid collaborators to sign in, you can change the visibility of the folder and its files in bulk. Locate the Private line and click on Change… to display the available options:

  • Public on the Web: no sign-in required. Anybody on the Internet can find and access. Good when you wish to publish a collection of documents with a simple link from a Web page.

  • Anyone with the link: no sign-in required. Only people who receive the link will be able to access. Good when you wish to share a collection to a team or group of people on an occasional basis or just for reference. If this link is published on the Web, people not originally invited can access the files.

  • CGXCHANGE: sign-in required. People on can find and access. Good when files are not restricted access within CGIAR, but are not for circulation outside.

  • People at CGXCHANGE with the link: sign-in required. Good when you want simply to distribute a link to a group of users that you have identified.

Remember that in any of the above cases, you can give users permission to Edit or View. Morein Sharing settings overview.

Notify your collaborators

You have two options to let your collaborators know about the shared folder and its contents:

1. Send a link by mail (safe option): at the top of the Sharing settings box, locate the Link to share: select, copy and paste it in an email message that you will send to your collaborators.  

2. Send a notification from Drive (conditions apply): On the Sharing settings box, you can select Notify people via email – Add a message. By choosing this option, you will be sending a notification with the link to the folder straight from Drive. Use this option when you are sure that your CGIAR colleagues have set up the mail forwarding in CGXchange. This ensures that they will receive the notification in their mail.

Shared folders will appear in your collaborators’ Drive in the navigation menu under Shared with me.

For quicker access and to have the folder synchronized in their Drive application, collaborators can 
1. select the shared folder and 
2. Click on Add to My Drive