Google drive can be a very convenient way to share and access course files, but there are a number of common issues that can prevent us from sharing files, or accessing files that have been shared with us, which we will be covering in this article:

Logging in with the right account

The first step to ensuring that you have access to material that has been shared with you is to ensure that you are logged in with your SHU account. Due to the nature of Google Drive's sharing permissions (which will be explored more in the next section), some of your learning material will need to be accessed using your SHU Google account. Follow the instructions here to make sure you are logged in properly.

Sharing Permissions

When we want to share a Google Drive file it is easy to assume that because the file is saved online, all that you would need to do to share it is send a link. But there is an important step that we first need to complete whenever we want to give someone access to our files, and that is changing the sharing permissions settings.

By default, any file that you create in or upload to Google Drive is set as Restricted, so only you can access it, and only when you're logged in with the same account that created/uploaded it. This is to make sure that you have control over who can access your information. If you want someone else to be able to access a file on your drive you need to manually change the sharing permission settings, which you can get to by pressing the Share button on any file in your drive.

In these settings you can make your file available either to Anyone with the link, or only to users logged in with a Sheffield Hallam University account. Because of this, it is important to make sure you are logged into your university account when trying to access shared files, because if the owner of the file has chosen the Sheffield Hallam University option, you will not be able to access the file from a non-university account.

If you are logged into your SHU Google account, and still cannot access a shared file that you think you should be able to, contact the owner of that file, as their sharing permissions may be set to restricted, and they will need to change this in order to give you access.


To share a file using Google Drive, you first need to create it or upload it to the drive. When it appears within the list of files, you can share it by right-clicking on the file and selecting the 'Share' icon. You can search by name for individuals within SHU, or insert email addresses of those outside the organisation. Files can be shared with individuals, multiple people or groups set up in your Google account.

When sharing a file you can decide on the level of access provided to those you are sharing it with; for example, they could view, comment on, or edit the file. You can also edit the sharing Privacy Settings, ranging from Public (visibility to anyone who has the share link) to Private (only those who have been specifically granted permission and have logged into Google can access the file).