Public Relations Today
Jayne Miller By Jayne Miller • December 17, 2015

Demystifying Those Sharing Settings: Everything You Want to Know About Google Permissions



You’ve created a Google Doc that you want to share with your class for their next assignment. But before you can give your students the green light, you must soldier through the permission settings.

Your sharing settings range from totally private, to “view only,” to 100% public. Some of these settings require a Google login for users to comment and edit your shared document, while others do not.

Why do we bring this all up? Because today we’re going to walk through the specifics of Google Drive permissions, highlighting areas we know have been snags for educators sharing documents with their class and/or requiring submissions from Google Drive.

And then we’re going to show you why you don’t actually need to worry about permission settings at all. :-)

Basic Permission Settings

There are three basic permission settings for any item or folder in Google Drive that you should know:

  • Specific People Can Access Based on Your Parameters - You own the document or folder and share it with specific people or groups of people. You control whether or not these people may edit or comment on the document.

    • It’s important to remember that with this setting, you must check that you’ve not only granted access to others, but you've granted them the ability to edit or comment, if desired. It looks a little like this:

  • Anyone With the Link Can Access - You send someone a link to the document and they can access it.

    • Similarly, you’ll decide if they can edit and comment, or just view.

  • Public - This doc is totally out there, totally searchable, and available to all through a url.

    • As always, level of access is up to you.

I Gave My Students a Link and They Can’t Edit. What’s the Deal?

If you generated a link from the “share” button in the top right of your Google Doc, you still need to check on what level of access you’re providing. Click the dropdown menu to the right of the “copy link” button to reveal your link sharing options. Note the access level listed at the bottom, which you can control to ensure recipients may edit your document.


I Need Students to Copy the Doc, Not Edit the Original I Created. What Then?

This happens a lot. When the contents of the Google Doc is the contents of the assignment, you might not want everyone working in the same space. The goal is to have students copy the doc to their Drive and get to work before sending it back to you (and ensuring they’ve set all of their permission settings so you can view/edit/comment).

To do this a student would open your assignment, navigate to “File” and select “Make a copy” to create a fresh draft in their own Drive.


Why You Don’t Need to Worry About Any of This in Chalkup

We just gave you the whole overview of permissions and settings and where to change everything, and now we’re going to tell you there’s a way you’ll never need to think about any of this again. I know, I know. A little mean, but we think you’ll like this.

So if you’re using Google Drive, you can create an assignment in Chalkup and attach a file from your Google Drive. (We connect seamlessly with Drive so it’s really easy, we promise.)


When the assignment is sent to all of your students, Chalkup takes care of all the permissions on the backend, copying the assignment and making your doc available to each student. We ensure each recipient has full access to view, copy, and submit the assignment via Google Drive when they’re finished.

In short: huge time saver. No permissions to navigate for teachers or students.


And, because it deserves a shout-out, you can also attach a rubric to your assignment. Anything you assign can be assessed with a digital rubric, hitting a huge pain point for Google Drive-loving educators who have created complicated workarounds to attach rubrics to their beloved assignments housed in Drive.


Getting Googly With It