How to Transfer Ownership of a Google Doc: 2 Easy Steps

Wondering how to transfer ownership of a Google Doc? It’s incredibly easy to change the owner of Google Docs and Sheets. Best of all, you can keep files accessible – even after the transfer! 

Here, I’ll show you how to transfer and accept ownership of a Google Doc with two easy methods. 

2 Steps: How to Transfer Ownership of a Google Doc

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

Step 1: Add More People to Your Google Document 

Documents can only be transferred to people who already have access. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll first need to share Google Docs with at least one recipient. 

  1. Open the Docs file. Click the “Share” button (top-right corner of your screen) to view your sharing options. transfer ownership google docs with share button
  2. Enter the email addresses of your recipients in the ‘Add people and groups’ section.
    transferring ownership of google docs via collaborators
  3. Configure their access level to “Editor” by choosing from the provided drop-down menu.
    how to share google docs change access to editor
  4. Hit the “Share” button to finish. You can also click the “Copy link” button, then send it to others directly via 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 (as long as they have access to view/comment on your file). 

Step 2: Transfer Ownership of Your Shared Document

If you’ve already shared your document, it’s easy to transfer ownership of a Google Doc:

  1. Open the shared document and click the “Share” button in the top-right corner of your screen.
clicking share button google docs to transfer ownership


  1. Under “People with access,” locate the account of the person you’re transferring the document to.
  2. In the drop-down menu beside their name, select “Transfer ownership” from the displayed options.
how to give ownership of a google doc


  1. Select “Send invitation” from the panel that appears.
"send invitation" to new google docs owner

Related: Udemy courses are a great way to boost your GSuite productivity!

How to Accept Ownership of a Google Doc

File ownership transfers in Google Docs don’t happen instantaneously. Recipients will be sent an “invitation to own” the document, which they can either accept or reject. 

If you receive such an invitation, you can confirm the transfer in two ways:

Step 1. By Email Notification

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


  1. To take ownership of the document, click the “Accept” button. Otherwise, click “Decline.”
Accept or decline a Google Doc ownership invite

In Google Drive

  1. Go to your Google Drive, then type “pendingowner:me” on the platform’s search bar.
files with pending ownership in Google Drive
  1. Right-click on the file you want ownership rights to, then select “Share.”
Using the Share option to grant ownership google docs
  1. Click on “Accept ownership?” and choose to accept or decline.
"accept ownership" button in Google Drive

How To Give Ownership of a Google Doc Using Google Drive

Switching owners directly from Google Drive will transfer ownership of Google Sheets, Forms, and even specific folders. Before proceeding with the following steps, ensure you’ve already shared your file with the individuals you’re transferring file ownership.

To give ownership of a Google Doc using Google Drive:

  1. Right-click on the document and choose “Share” from the appearing menu. How to share a file in Google Drive
  2. In the “People with access” section, click next to the name of your document’s soon-to-be owner.
  3. Choose “Transfer ownership” from the list. Where to find the transfer ownership feature in Google Drive
  4. Click on the “Send invitation” button from the emerging panel to proceed. You’re all set!
Using the "send invitation" to own the document in Google Docs

What to Consider Before Changing Owners of Google Docs

When transferring ownership of a Google Doc, certain controls will be relinquished to the new owner:

  • Access permissions to the document
  • Adding and removing collaborators (Note: Any collaborators can remove your access from the document).
  • Permanently deleting the file

Before proceeding with the transfer, be sure that you:

  • Trust the new owner: The individual/entity should be trustworthy with the ownership responsibilities.
  • Inform others about the ownership change: Communicate ownership changes to the relevant parties and alert them to potential effects.
  • Assess the document’s contents and sensitivity: Does the document’s content align with the intended purposes of the new owner? 

Can I Cancel the Transfer of My Google Doc Ownership? 

Unfortunately, once the new owner accepts a request, you can’t cancel the ownership transfer. If you act quickly, however, you can click the “Share” button, click the down arrow next to the recipient name, and select “cancel ownership transfer.” 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Transfer Ownership of a Google Doc to Someone Outside My Organization? 

Unfortunately, you can only change ownership within the same GSuite organization (e.g., school, company). 

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’ve previously transferred to another user.

To transfer ownership, 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?

You cannot transfer ownership from a personal account to a work or school account. 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?

Unless you become the new file owner, you cannot delete a Google Doc owned by someone else.

Can You Transfer Ownership of a Google Docs Document Using a Mobile Phone?

According to Google, you cannot transfer ownership of a Google Doc via iPhone or Android device. 

Can the Owner of a Google Doc See Who Copied It?

No, the Docs owner can’t see who makes copies of an original document. 

Final Thoughts

Whatever the situation, as long as you follow the steps to transfer ownership of a Google Doc, you’ll be all set. 

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