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Young toucans sharing food

My Drive vs. “Shared with Me”

Shared with Me

Recently, a number of people have asked me about the difference between My Drive and Shared with Me. While you can see files and folders that are in both sections, there are a few key differences that you should be aware of.

If you have the Google Drive application installed on your computer, items in My Drive will be automatically synced to your local machine. You will be able to see changes immediately (as long as you are online), and you can track activity for these items.  My Drive includes items you own, such as Google Docs, Presentations, Drawings, etc., and folders that you have created, as well as files and folders that you have synced or uploaded. It also contains any shared files or folders that you have added from Shared with Me.

Shared with Me shows files and folders that you do not own, but that have been shared with you. You may have permission to view them, comment on them, or edit them. By clicking on Shared with Me in the left sidebar, you will see these files and folders. By default, they are sorted with the most recent at the top. You can also see when the file was shared with you and who owns it.

Shared with Me only lists files and folders that are specifically shared with you, that is, files and folders that the owner has added your email address to in the Share settings. Files that are set to “Anyone with the link” or “Anyone in your organization” are not included.

If you want to sync a file or folder in Shared with Me to your local computer, or if you want to upload items to it, you need to add it to My Drive. This process is very simple:

  1. Log into Google Drive and click Shared with Me.
  2. Select the files or folders you want to add by clicking the box next to the name.
  3. Click the Add to My Drive button.

Add to Drive

When working with shared files and folders, it is important to remember to use the Add to My Drive button instead of dragging the file/folder to My Drive. Using the Add button does just that: it adds the item to your drive without changing the location of the file or folder for other users. Dragging the item moves it for everyone and some users may lose access. If you attempt to add something to your drive and see a pop-up warning that you are moving the item, take heed and do not continue unless you are sure that you want to move it out of the shared area.

If you are looking for a file or folder you have shared with someone else and can no longer find it, click on the information icon (the small i in a circle) on the upper right of your drive to see recent activity. You can see which items have been moved, removed (trashed), renamed, shared/unshared, edited, and more, so it may help you locate what you are looking for.

Activity/information icon

If you want to learn more about adding items to your Drive from the Shared with Me folder, take a look at this video from Google Gooru.

Toucan image by russavia.