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Collaboration - Team Drive vs Google Drive Folders

The ability to share and collaborate on files is what makes Google Drive such an incredible resource for teachers and students.

Google Classroom is a great way for a teacher to share files with students. What about working with a collaborative team of co-workers or students working in collaborative teams? What are the advantages/disadvantages of choosing a Team Drive Folder or a Google Drive Folder?

Right now, we recommend team drives for collaborative teacher teams and Google Drive Shared folders for student/parent shared resources.

We've created a document to help users navigate sharing folders using G Suite. This document is a work in progress and will continue to evolve as Google Drive updates. If you have suggestions or comments about this document, please share them in the comments below. 

Folder Options in Google Drive

Additional Details
  • Team Drive is great for sharing with a team of collaborators. Drive folders are better if you want to share view access to anyone with link or make them public.
  • The greatest advantage to Team Drives is the fact that editors cannot delete or move files.
  • The ability to quickly share files with viewers who are not part of the team drive is limited. You can not provide a View/Comment Link to folders in Team Drive. You can provide a view link to individual documents, but this needs to be set for each document. You cannot share files via email in Team Drive.
  • Some add-ons and drive features do not currently function in Team Drive.
  • In Team Drive the files and folders in trash are automatically deleted forever after 30 days. Only someone with Full Access can delete files permanently in trash.
  • We recommend team drives for collaborative teacher teams and Google Drive Shared folders for student/parent shared resources. (View access)

Additional Exploration

Team Drive Sharing Setup

Sharing Individual Documents in Team Drive

Advanced Sharing Settings in a Team Drive Documents

Drive Folder Sharing Setup

Advanced Drive Folder Sharing Setup

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