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How To Download Shared With Me Google Drive

Quick! Someone just shared a Google Doc with your non-Gmail email address.What do you do?

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As Google Docs and Drive have become more and more popular for personal andbusiness use, it’s very common to share Google Drive files with non-Gmail emailaddresses.

Usually, this results in one of two outcomes.

Only show files that are shared with me. Instructs rclone to operate on your 'Shared with me' folder (where Google Drive lets you access the files and folders others have shared with you). This works both with the 'list' (lsd, lsl, etc.) and the 'copy' commands (copy, sync, etc.), and with all other commands too.

  1. The recipient attempts to follow the link in his email to the Google Driveitem and logs in with his personal Gmail account. He is greeted withthis dialog.When he clicks “Request access”, the sender gets an email requesting accessfor the recipient’s personal Gmail account.
  2. The recipient doesn’t have a Gmail account, so he asks the sender to exportthe Google Doc to Word or some other format he can read.

Neither of these outcomes are desirable.

  • You can put the shortcut inside your “My Drive” or any Drive that’s shared with you.Go to the left, click Shared with me.Select the files or folders to which you want to add a shortcut.Right click the files or folders you selected. Add shortcut to Drive.Choose a folder.Click Add shortcut.
  • The proper, updated answer as per today (2020-06-24) for activate the previous available now hidden functionality for saving a Shared with Me folder into your Google Drive as an active working link available at your computer or drive, is to press Shift+Z and then click on the Shared Folder.

The first outcome is not good because it requires the sender to take an extrastep for every recipient with whom she has shared the document, and it requiresthat the recipient share his personal Gmail address with the sender. Oftenpeople want to keep their personal and professional accounts separate.

The second outcome is not good because the sender has to change hertechnological choice arbitrarily. Also, if some recipients are collaborating inGoogle Docs and others require Word documents, then the sender’s life is gettingreally complicated.

But, don’t worry! It’s really easy for the recipient to use their non-Gmailaccount to access the document! But first, we need to make a choice.

The Choice

We need to know which kind of Google user you are. Let’s define some terms.There is a difference between having a Gmail Address and having aGoogle Account. All Gmail Address are Google Accounts, but not allGoogle Accounts require Gmail Addresses.


Depending on which situation you are in, you’ll want to use one of two differentsolutions.

  • I have a Personal Gmail Address ([email protected])
    • I have a Work non-Gmail Address ([email protected])
    • I have a Personal non-Gmail Address ([email protected])
      • I want to be able to open documents shared with [email protected] asthough they had been shared with [email protected]
      • I want to be able to open documents shared with [email protected] in acompletely separate and isolated Google Account.
  • I don’t have or want a Gmail Address
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Create a new Google Account

Sign up for a Google Account with your non-Gmail Address. Let’s pretend yournon-Gmail Address is [email protected] This solution works for any type of emailaddress. It could be an email you have through your ISP, work, school, oranywhere you can receive email.

Follow these steps:

  1. Go to
  2. Fill out the form (using [email protected]) and click “Next step”
  3. Accept the terms and conditions dialog
  4. Verify your email address. This may involve signing into your email accountand authorizing the Google Accounts application to know your email address,or it could be as easy as clicking a link in an email Google sends to youraccount.

That’s it. You now have a Google Account that you can sign in with yournon-Gmail email address and the password you set up in step 2. Now, wheneveryou get a request to collaborate on a Google Doc or Google Drive item at thataddress, you’ll be able to view it as long as you are logged into that account.

If you already had a Gmail Address or another Google Account, you may beinterested to know that you can be signed into both accounts at the same timeand switch between them on most Google applications. Learn more aboutMultiple Google Accounts.

Add an alternate email to your Google Account

If you only want to have one collection of Google Drive items, but you want tobe able to receive sharing requests an alternate email address, then this is theSolution for you.

  1. Login to your existing Google Account at
  2. Once logged in visit the Email Settings at
  3. Click “Advanced”
  5. You may be prompted to sign in again for security
  6. Fill in your non-Gmail address and click “ADD”
  7. You should see a pending verification page like this one
  8. Go check your non-Gmail email address and click on theverification link titled here.
  9. You may be prompted to sign in again for security
  10. When you are successful, you’ll see a page similar to step 7, but withoutthe (Pending verification) message.

Now, when you sign in on Google, you can use either your Gmail Address or yournew non-Gmail Address to login. And, more importantly, you will be able to openGoogle Docs and Drive files sent to either email address in the same account.Note: This process doesn’t require a separate password to sign in with yournon-Gmail Address. Just think of it as another name for the same Google Account.


Whether you create a separate Google Account, or add an Alternate Email Addressto your existing Google Account, you definitely can open Google Docs and Driveitems shared with any email address in the world. I hope you’ll share thisadvice anytime you share a Google Doc with collaborators and they respond byrequesting access for a different account.

Whenever I facilitate training sessions for people who are already using Google Drive, I know for sure that I’ll always be asked how do I organise Shared with me? Typically this is accompanied by comments about how messy and confusing Shared with me is. In this post you’ll find my strategies for dealing with your Shared with me frustration.

Before we start, there is one important thing to understand. There is no way to organise Shared with me. You can’t create folders in it, you can’t move items around. Now some of you might be feeling a sense of despair at this point, but just stick with me and read on!

I agree with you, Shared with me is chaotic and stressful for those of us that like things ordered and neatly filed away. The key to dealing with this is actually not to organise it (because, as we know, you can’t!), but to spend the least amount of time there as possible.

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But how you ask?

Strategy 1: Add shared files & folders to My Drive

This strategy is for shared files and folders that you need to access frequently on an ongoing basis.

Unlike Shared with me, you can organise your My Drive. So, one of the easiest ways to avoid spending too much time in Shared with me is by adding the shared files and folders you use regularly to your My Drive. In doing so, you can organise them within your own folder structure.

But before you get too excited, please be very careful about how you do this!! If you don’t do it the right way, you risk removing other people’s access (which, I might add, would require you to ignore the big warning that Google Drive will display, so make sure you pay attention to warnings!).

The best and safest way to add a file or folder to your My Drive is:
1. Select it in the Shared with me list (by clicking on it).
2. Press Shift-z on your keyboard. This will open the Add-to dialog box (notice the terminology here, add – not move).
3. Choose a location in My Drive to add the file or folder too.

After you do this, the file/folder will remain in Shared with me but also be in your My Drive. This means you will no longer have to visit Shared with me to access it. However, note that this method does not work for files that are stored in Shared Drives (Team Drives), even if you see them in Shared with me. Shared Drive files cannot be added to My Drive. If you’re using list view to display your files, you can see which ones are in Shared Drives by the little padlock icon shown on the right of the file name.

How To Download Shared With Me Google Drive Movie

Here’s some strategies for dealing with the chaos of Google Drive’s Shared with me. Click To Tweet

Strategy 2: Star files & folders in Google Drive

This strategy is for shared files and folders that you need to access frequently for a short period of time.

If you only need to access a shared file or folder for a short period of time, you might not want to add it to your My Drive. That’s where stars come in.

I think of stars as a way of bookmarking or favouriting a file or folder – similar to how we bookmark websites we want to return to.

To add a star to a file or folder in Google Drive:
1. Select it in the Shared with me list (by clicking on it).
2. Press s on your keyboard. This will add the star.
Tip: You can also right-click the file/folder and choose Add star.

How To Download Shared With Me Google Drive

3. Open the Starred view in Google Drive. All your starred files and folders will be shown.

Strategy 3: Searching

This strategy is for shared files and folders that you don’t access very often.

So what about shared files and folders that you just need to find every so often? The answer is to search for them, not hunt back through the long list of files trying to find them!

The key to this is using advanced search operators to make your search as efficient as possible.

Frustrated with Google Drive’s Shared with me? Here’s some useful strategies Click To Tweet

Here’s how to use advanced search in Google Drive:
1. Click on the little grey arrow on the right of the search box.
2. Choose the Type of file you are looking for (e.g. document, spreadsheet etc.). If you’re not sure, leave this blank.
3. In the Owner field, choose ‘Not owned by me’. Even better, if you know who does own it, click ‘Specific person’ and enter their name or email address.
4. In the Includes the words field, put a keyword that is likely to be in the file. Google will use this to search through both the title and the contents of the file (even PDFs).

5. Click Search.

With this search strategy, you’ll quickly be able to locate the file or folder you’re after.

Here’s a search strategy for finding files in Google Drive’s Shared with me Click To Tweet

Should I delete files from Shared with me?

I’m almost always asked this question too!

You can remove files and folders from Shared with me. This doesn’t delete them for everyone, just removes them from your view. But I don’t recommend it.

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Why? Two reasons:
1. It is a never ending task – similar to managing your emails! I am yet to meet a person who has enough time in their day to continually be removing files from Shared with me. If I do, I’ll probably suggest they could find a more worthwhile task to occupy them.
2. You may not think you need them now, but you may need them later.

Yes, having lots of files in Shared with me can seem contradictory to everything we’ve been told about being organised. It may cause you some stress. But rather than trying to fight the tide, embrace the strategies I’ve shown you and make Shared with me a place you only visit occasionally!

Organising Shared with Me is a part of our Get Efficient with Google Workspace for Education course. Take this course and learn how to manage your Gmail, Google Drive, Calendar and more.

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In 2018, Using Technology Better designed and delivered a two phase post-migration training program for this New Zealand based graphic design firm. The initial goal of the training program was to reduce frustration with G Suite, with the long term aim of facilitating a change in culture and collaboration that can lead to transformative practices