How To Transfer Ownership of a Google Doc [Step-By-Step Guide]

If you plan to delete your Google account soon and move onto a different platform, you might ask yourself: How to transfer ownership of a Google Doc? The good news is you can transfer ownership of a Google Doc while keeping your files accessible even after the transfer.

Learn how to transfer ownership of a Google Doc as we discuss these two easy methods in this article.

Things To Consider Before Switching Owners in Google Docs

When transferring ownership of a Google Doc, it’s essential to know that certain controls will be relinquished to the new owner. These include:

  • Changing access permissions to the document
  • Adding and removing collaborators (Note: All collaborators will be able to remove your access from the document).
  • Permanently deleting the file

Therefore, it is crucial to consider the following factors before proceeding with the transfer:

  • Trusting the new owner: Ensure that the individual or entity you transfer ownership to can be trusted with the ownership responsibilities.
  • Informing others about the ownership change: It is essential to communicate the ownership change to all relevant parties and make them aware of the potential effects it may have.
  • Assessing the document’s contents and sensitivity: Evaluate the nature and sensitivity of the document’s content to determine if it aligns with the intended purposes of the new owner.

How To Transfer Ownership of a Google Docs Document

Have you decided to transfer ownership of your file? Follow the steps below to transfer ownership of Google documents:

Step 1: Add People to Your Google Document

You can only transfer your documents to people who already have access to them. If you haven’t previously shared the file with your recipient, follow the instructions below. Otherwise, skip to the next section.

  1. Go to and open the file that you want to share access with others.
  2. Click on the “Share” button at the top of your screen to view your sharing options.
How to transfer ownership of a Google Doc–where to find the Share button in Google Docs


  1. Enter the email addresses of your recipients in the ‘Add people and groups’ section.
Adding collaborators in Google Docs


  1. Configure their access level to “Editor” by choosing from the provided drop-down menu.
Making a collaborator an editor in Google Docs


  1. Hit the “Share” button to finish.
  2. Alternatively, you can click the “Copy link” button and send it to others using messaging apps.
Sharing a Google Doc by link or email


Note: You can also transfer ownership to users who aren’t editors of your document, providing they have access to view and comment on your file.

Would you like to explore the sharing features available in Google Docs further? Then, read our detailed tutorial on how to share Google Docs today.

Step 2: Transferring Ownership of Your Shared Document

Finished sharing your document? Here’s how you can transfer ownership of a Google Doc:

  1. Open the shared Google Docs document and locate the “Share” button at the top-right corner of your screen.
How to transfer ownership of a Google Doc–where to find the Share button in Google Docs


  1. Under “People with access,” find the account of the person to whom you want to transfer the document.
  2. Click on the drop-down menu beside their name, then select “Transfer ownership” from the displayed options.
Where to find the "Transfer ownership" option in Google Docs


  1. Select “Send invitation” from the panel that appears.
Using the "send invitation" to own the document in Google Docs

Confirming a Google Docs Transfer of Ownership

File ownership transfers in Google Docs don’t happen instantaneously. Instead, you are sending an “invitation to own” the document, which your recipient can either accept or reject. If you receive such an invitation, here’s how you confirm the transfer in two ways:

By Email Notification

  1. Go to your Gmail account and locate the subject “Invitation to own…” from your unread emails.
Searching for file ownership invitations in Gmail


  1. If you want to take ownership of the document, click the “Accept” button.
  2. Otherwise, click “Decline.”
Accept or decline a Google Doc ownership invite

In Google Drive

  1. Go to, then type “pendingowner:me” on the platform’s search bar.
Where to find files with pending ownership in Google Drive


  1. Right-click on the file you want to take over, then select “Share.”
Using the Share option in Google Drive


  1. Click on “Accept ownership?
Where to find the "accept ownership" button in Google Drive


  1. If you wish to own the document, click on “Accept.”
  2. Otherwise, choose “Decline.”
Accepting or declining a file ownership invite via Google Drive

How To Give Ownership of a Google Doc Using Google Drive

You can also switch owners directly from Google Drive. This allows you to transfer ownership of Google Sheets, Forms, and even folders in your Drive. Before proceeding with the steps below, ensure you have already shared your file with the individuals to whom you want to transfer file ownership.

Here’s how you can give ownership of a Google Doc using Google Drive:

  1. Go to, and navigate to the file you want to transfer.
  2. Right-click on the said document, then choose “Share” from the appearing menu.
How to share a file in Google Drive


  1. In the “People with access” section, click on the drop-down menu beside the name of your document’s soon-to-be owner.
  2. Choose “Transfer ownership” from the list.
Where to find the transfer ownership feature in Google Drive


  1. Click on the “Send invitation” button from the emerging panel to proceed, and you’re done!
Using the "send invitation" to own the document in Google Docs

Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens When the Google Doc Owner Leaves?

When the owner of a Google Doc leaves an organization, the files they own will be deleted unless they have been previously transferred to another user.

To transfer ownership, follow these steps: Click on “Share,” then add a user to your document. Next, click the drop-down list beside their name and select “Transfer ownership.”

Why Can’t I Transfer Ownership of a Google Doc?

If you attempt to transfer ownership from a personal account to a work or school account, you cannot do so. Work or school Google accounts can only transfer ownership of documents and files to individuals within their organization.

Can You Delete a Google Doc Owned by Someone Else?

No, you cannot delete a Google Doc owned by someone else unless you become the new file owner.

Final Thoughts

To safeguard your documents, one option available to you is to transfer their ownership. Simply follow the steps outlined in our guide on how to transfer ownership of a Google Doc, and you’ll be ready to proceed.

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Emma Collins

Emma Collins

Emma Collins is a tech writer for Spreadsheet Point. She's been writing tech tutorials & how-to guides on Windows, Android, iOS, Social Media, Data Recovery, Cybersecurity, Gaming, and more as a tech writer for over 6 years. You can find her work on many established tech websites, including Productivity Spot,, MakeUseOf, Help Desk Geek, Online Tech Tips, HandyRecovery, Cleverfiles, and more.
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