How to Set an Expire Date When Sharing in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides

90730 How to Set an Expire Date When Sharing in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides

Sharing files and folders is an essential collaboration feature in Google Workspace apps like Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides. However, you may not always want collaborators to have indefinite access to the content you share.

Setting expiration dates on shared files allows you to:

  • Give temporary access to external partners or freelancers
  • Limit internal access to sensitive documents
  • Encourage timely feedback on shared content

Fortunately, Google makes it easy to set expire dates when you share Drive files or create shareable links.

When to Set Expiration Dates

Here are some common scenarios where setting access expiration dates makes sense:

Working With External Partners

If you share files with contractors, vendors, or clients, you likely want to revoke access when the project finishes. Setting an expiration date ensures access automatically expires by a predetermined date.

For example, you can share an employee list with an HR consulting firm and set the access to expire at the end of their contract term.

Collaboration With an Internal Deadline

Sharing files with an expiration date is helpful for soliciting internal feedback, especially when you have a deadline. For example, you can share a policy draft with stakeholders and set it to expire in two weeks, giving them a firm date to provide comments.

Temporary Access to Sensitive Information

For sensitive documents like financial reports or legal documents, you may want to limit access to a short defined period. Setting an expiration date when you share the file allows you to limit access without having to manually revoke it later.

How to Set an Expiration Date in Google Drive

Setting an expiration date for access is easy in both Google Drive and the Drive integration within G Suite apps like Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Here are the basic steps:

When Sharing From Google Drive

  1. Right-click on the file in Drive and select Share
  2. Enter the email addresses for who you want to share with
  3. Click Share and edit next to the recipient’s email address
  4. Select Set expiration > choose a date from the dropdown calendar
  5. Click Done

The shareable link or access for that recipient will automatically expire at 11:59 pm on the date you selected.

When Sharing From Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides

The process for setting an expiration date is the same whether sharing directly from Drive or from within one of the Google Workspace apps:

  1. Open the Doc, Sheet, or Slide file
  2. Click the Share button in the top right
  3. Enter the email addresses to share with
  4. Click the down arrow next to the recipient’s email > Set expiration
  5. Pick a date from the calendar when access should expire
  6. Click Send or Share to finish

After you share, you can always edit or remove the expiration date if plans change. But by default, access to that file will expire at the end of the day you selected.

Best Practices For Setting Expire Dates

Here are some tips to make the most of access expiration when collaborating:

Give Reasonable Timelines

Balance limiting exposure of sensitive data with giving collaborators enough time. For example, allow at least two weeks for feedback but don’t leave access open indefinitely.

Align Expiration With Project Timelines

Match the access expiration date with logical project milestones, such as completion target dates or contract end dates.

Notify Recipients in Advance

Let collaborators know in advance that access will expire on a certain date, so it doesn’t catch them by surprise.

Use Views, Comments, and Suggest Access For Wider Collaboration

For documents requiring input from wider audiences, use comment access instead of edit access. This allows feedback while limiting changes to the original.

Additionally, use view access or the Suggesting feature to collect feedback from larger groups. This allows access without granting full editing rights.

Revoking Access Manually

In addition to setting automatic expiration dates, Google Drive does allow you to manually revoke access when needed:

From Google Drive

  1. Right-click on the shared file
  2. Select Share from the context menu
  3. Point to the user’s email address
  4. Click the trash can icon to revoke access

From Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides

  1. Open the file in the editor
  2. Click the Share button
  3. Point to the user’s email address
  4. Click Revoke access

Manually revoking access instantly cuts off access to the file. This is useful if plans change for collaboration or if links have been compromised.

Conclusion

Using access expiration dates for Google Drive sharing provides more control over sensitive documents and encourages timely external collaboration.

The flexibility to set automatic expiration or manually revoke makes it easy to limit exposure based on project needs and adjust on the fly.

As you support more remote work and external partnerships, take advantage of expiration dates to securely collaborate while keeping your organization’s data protected.

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