Google Drive Visitor Sharing: Share Securely Outside Your Organization

One of the key advantages that Google Docs has over the competition is that users can share a document, spreadsheet, presentation, and other file types with any Google Workspace or consumer Gmail user outside of their own organization.

But what if a Google Workspace user needs to share a document with people outside their organization who do not have Google accounts?

Share a document or folder with an unlisted link

One option is for a user to create an unlisted link to a document — which lets anyone with the link view, edit, or comment on the doc.

This type of external sharing requires a Google Workspace administrative permission called “Allow users in [domain] to publish files on the web or make them visible to the world as public or unlisted files.”

The disadvantage to this is that the link can be used by anyone in the world, even though it’s unlikely to be discovered.

Visitor sharing

A more secure sharing option is called visitor sharing.

If you want to share a file or folder with someone who is not using Google Workspace at work and who does not have a Gmail account, you can send that person a link and a PIN (Personal Identification Number) code.

The PIN is automatically generated and sent to a recipient when Google detects that the email address is not part of a Google Account.

To use this feature, a Google Workspace administrator has to enable visitor sharing for your organization.

Files that you can share include Docs, Slides, Sheets, PDFs, video files, image files, and Office Docs such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

As of August 2022, visitor sharing allows non-Google users who have PIN access to Google Drive to upload or create files in shared drives owned by organizations and users on Google Workspace. 

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