How to Transfer Ownership of a Document on Google Docs

365385 How to Transfer Ownership of a Document on Google Docs

Google Docs allows easy collaboration between multiple people on documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more. By default, the person who creates a document owns it and has full control over its sharing settings. However, you may sometimes need to transfer ownership of a Google Doc to someone else. Here is a step-by-step guide.

When You Might Want To Transfer Ownership

There are a few common scenarios when transferring ownership of a Google Doc makes sense:

  • Leaving a company or team: If you own files related to work/team projects and you are changing jobs or teams, you will want to transfer ownership to someone who is staying so the team still has access.
  • Sharing administration: If you created a document but someone else now manages the content more actively, it makes sense for them to become the owner.
  • Limited editing access: Free Google accounts cannot directly transfer ownership to Workspace/G Suite accounts and vice versa. Transferring ownership allows indirect transfer.

Prerequisites for Transferring Ownership

Before you can transfer ownership of a Google Doc, keep these requirements in mind:

  • You must be the current owner of the document.
  • The person receiving ownership must already have editing access to the document.
  • Both you and the recipient must have free personal Google accounts. Workspace/G Suite accounts can only transfer ownership internally.

How To Transfer Ownership in Google Docs

On desktop:

  1. Open the Google Docs document you want to transfer ownership of.
  2. Click the Share button in the top right.
  3. Next to the recipient’s email address, click the drop-down arrow.
  4. Select Transfer ownership.
  5. Click OK to confirm.

The recipient will receive an email notification that they now own the document.

On mobile:

The Google Docs mobile app does not have an option to directly transfer ownership. However, you can still do it by:

  1. On your computer, go to in a web browser.
  2. Open the Google Doc you want to transfer.
  3. Follow steps 2-5 from the instructions above.

Transferring Ownership of Multiple Files

To transfer ownership of multiple Google Drive files at once:

  1. On, check the boxes next to all files you want to transfer.
  2. Click the Share icon.
  3. Select Transfer ownership and pick the recipient.
  4. Click Yes, transfer to confirm.

If you transfer ownership of a parent folder, you will still remain the owner of the files within it by default. To transfer ownership of the folder contents:

  1. Open the parent folder that was transferred.
  2. Check the boxes next to all subfolders/files inside it.
  3. Click Share > Transfer ownership, and select the same recipient again.

What Happens When You Transfer Ownership

When you transfer ownership of a Google Doc or Drive file:

  • You lose all ownership abilities like being able to delete files or remove people’s access.
  • The recipient gains your previous owner permissions to share, edit, delete and manage access.
  • If you still need access, the new owner can remove your access or change your permission level.
  • You can request access again, but the new owner controls the sharing settings.
  • If the recipient rejects the transfer or doesn’t accept it within 7 days, the transfer is cancelled and you remain the owner.

Tips for Smooth Transfer of Ownership

Follow these tips to ensure a smooth transition when transferring ownership:

  • Set sharing permissions correctly before starting the transfer so the new owner has appropriate access.
  • Transfer ownership in batches instead of hundreds of files at once to allow time for the changes to process.
  • Tell the recipient to expect transfer notifications to avoid confusion over sudden ownership of many documents.
  • Make sure you no longer need access before transferring ownership because you lose admin control.
  • Ask the new owner to grant you editor access if you still need to collaborate on the document after transferring ownership.

Transferring ownership of Google Docs properly is important when you are changing jobs, sharing administration, or allowing indirect sharing between different Google account types. Follow the steps outlined to ensure a smooth transition of ownership.

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