Skip to main content

How to lock down Google Drive files

How to lock down Google Drive files
(Image credit: monticello/Shutterstock)

Knowing how to lock down Google Drive files allows you to maintain control of the content you share with other people. Although sharing and collaboration are part of what makes Google Drive such a great service, there are times when you want to protect your files even after you've shared them.

Perhaps you've sent someone a document or spreadsheet that contains private or sensitive information intended for their eyes only, or you don't trust someone not to pass off your hard work as their own.

The good news is that Google Drive lets you lock down your files, so that nobody can copy, download or print them without your permission. You can also prevent unauthorized people from editing your work.

To enable this feature, which Google calls "Information Rights Management," you'll need to access Google Drive through your desktop web browser — it can't be turned on via a Google mobile app.

Here's how to turn on Information Rights Management to lock down your files in Google Drive, and control what people can and can't do with the content you share.

How to lock down Google Drive files

1. Open, create or upload a Google Docs document, Google Sheets spreadsheet, or Google Slides presentation in Google Drive.

how to lock down google drive files - open

(Image credit: Google)

2. Click the Share button in the upper-right corner of the screen.

how to lock down google drive files

(Image credit: Google)

3. Click the "Share with people settings" gear icon in the top-right corner of the resulting pop-up dialogue box.

how to lock down Google Drive - gear icon

(Image credit: Google)

4. Uncheck the box labeled "Viewers and commenters can see the option to download, print, and copy."

You'll see a confirmation message that the setting has been updated.

how to lock down Google Drive files - viewers

(Image credit: Google)

5. Click back to the previous box and click Change in the "Get link" section. 

how to lock down Google Drive files - change

(Image credit: Google)

6. Click the first drop-down menu to specify who can open the file. Select "Restricted" to stop unauthorized people accessing the file.

If you want to let others view the file but not edit it, select "Anyone with this link" from the menu, then choose Viewer from the second drop-down. 

how to lock down Google Drive files - anyone

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

7. You can now either click Done to save your changes and exit, or enter the email addresses of the people you want to share the file with. 

These should appear automatically as you type them, if Google already has the users' details. 

how to lock down google drive files - done

(Image credit: Google)

8. Enter a message if you want, then click Send to share the file. This will have your new permissions applied, so that nobody can copy, download, print or change its contents.

how to lock down google drive files - send

(Image credit: Google)
  • Nasir Hazary
    really helpful post.
    thanks & regards,
    Nasir
    Reply
  • ggcmtoffice
    I have our employees log into a mutual email to get a Google Drive, they then edit the drive after saving it and then send it to a different email address. Sometimes though, they forget to save as before editing the document and overwrite it. Is there any way to set up the Google Document to only be able to save before editing. Thank you
    Reply