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Transfer Ownership of Google Documents - Knowledgebase / Accounts and Passwords / Leaving Brown - OIT Service Center

Transfer Ownership of Google Documents

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If your affiliation with Brown is ending or changing, we recommend transfering ownership of important documents in advance of the termination of your account.

Recommendation for Departments

If your department has a shared mailbox (e.g.,, a good practice is to make this account the owner of all important department documents. This way, they will not be dependent upon an individual's account.

Transfer Ownership of a Single Document

In the document's sharing settings:

  1. Go to the document's sharing settings
  2. First make the desired owner an Editor (if they are not already)
  3. Save
  4. Change their role to Owner

Detailed Instructions are available in the Google support article: Transfer File Ownership

Transfer Ownership of Multiple Documents

From your document list at, select multiple documents you'd like to transfer. You can do this the same way as you'd select multiple files on your computer:

  • To select several documents in a row, click the first, then hold down Shift, and click the last one in the list.
  • To select documents that are not adjacent to one another, click the first, then hold down Control (Windows) or Command (Mac) as you select additional documents.

Once you've selected the desired documents, click the share icon at the top (person with a plus sign) or right click the files and choose Share. As with an individual document, first make your colleague an Editor, and then you will be able to switch their role to Owner as described in the Single Document section above.

To more easily find all files YOU own, use the advanced search in Drive by clicking on the little triangle on the right inside corner of the search box. You will see an option "owned by me".

Transfer Ownership from an Employee No Longer at Brown

Within a limited time, CIS can reassign ownership of documents from an ex-employee to a supervisor in the same department. For request instructions, see the Emergency Access Policy. After the employee leaves Brown:

  • Immediately, their Google account is marked as 'suspended' so they can no longer log into it
  • After six months, their Google account is renamed to qdelete-(email address), e.g.
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