Sharing documents with collaborators

This short tutorial shows how to share Google Documents, Spreadsheets and Presentations that you create on your Drive, with CGIAR and non-CGIAR account users (i.e. users with and non-CGIAR email accounts).

The Share button

Open the Google Document you wish to share from your Google Drive Web interface. 

Click on the Share button in the upper right corner.

In the Sharing settings, you set the visibility of the document. You can share privately with individual users, or set the visibility option in bulk.

Sharing with specific people

By default, visibility of a Google Document is private: only the people you invite can access. You have to invite collaborators and give them permission to Edit, Comment or View:

  • Edit gives them rights to edit the document content, add people and change visibility and permissions. 
  • Comment gives them rights to add and reply to comments without modifying the document content.
  • View gives them a simple right to view the document.

In the Invite people box, type the email addresses of the users you would like to access the document. As you type, you will get suggested contacts from the CGIAR directory of contacts. When you see the one you wish to add, just click on it to add it to the Invite box. If the collaborator you wish to add is not in the CGIAR directory, simply type the address or paste it in the box.

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 Google documents with a large 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.

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 document 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 document 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 document with 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 document.
  • CGXCHANGE: sign-in required. People on can find and access. Good when documents 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, Comment or ViewMore in Sharing settings overview.

Please note that Commenters have the rights to:

  • Comment on Google documents, spreadsheets, and presentations
  • View documents, spreadsheets, and presentations
  • Download or sync the document, spreadsheet, or presentation to another device
  • Make a copy of a document, spreadsheet, or presentation to save in Google Drive

Commenters can’t permanently delete a file or folder, nor can they change something’s sharing settings. 

Moreover, if you share a document for comments with anyone with the link, Commenters will be anonymous.

Notify your collaborators

You have two options to let your collaborators know about the Google Document you have just shared:

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 document straight from Drive.