Google Shared Drives (Team Drives) Best Practices

Google shared drives (formerly known as Team Drives) are a feature in Google's Workspace for Education that offers a shared space in Google Drive where teams can create, store, search, collaborate on, and have access to all their team-owned files. Below is a list of the best practices for using shared drives here at the University of Michigan.

Related: Review the shared drive limits and observe these technical limitations when migrating data or organizing content.

Plan Before You Create a Shared Drive

Take the time to plan out your shared drive structure before you create one. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • How many shared drives do I need? There is no limit to how many shared drives you can create.
  • How should we manage shared drive membership? Keep in mind that everyone at the shared drive-level will be able to see every file and folder in the shared drive.

Note: Everyone in a team (i.e., shared drive members) can at least view every file and folder in that shared drive. If you need a smaller group of people to have access to a particular set of documents, either share a folder with the specific subset of people or create a new shared drive. When you share at the folder-level, those individuals will only be able to see the contents of that folder (unless they are a member at the shared drive-level).

Establish Naming Conventions

There are currently no barriers set up in Google shared drives to prevent the same name for multiple shared drives, files, or folders. We recommend teams use the Active Directory prefix or a generally recognized prefix for your school, college, or unit.


  • ITS | All Staff
  • LSA | Leads
  • EAS | FIN | Upgrade
  • ITS | INF | Shared Drives Rollout

Migrate Data from Google My Drive to Shared Drives

Migrate your files instead of making copies. Making copies could cause confusion and will change links that could be bookmarked or posted elsewhere. When a file is migrated, the link remains the same and the collaborators who currently have Editor/Viewer/Commenter rights to that file will continue to have access even after the file is moved to a shared drive.

Note: Google shared drives can contain a maximum of 400,000 files and folders. For more information on limits, see shared drive limits.

Assign Permissions Accordingly

We recommend giving the Manager role to only a few people while giving MCommunity groups and other individuals the Content Manager or Contributor role. The Manager role permissions include the ability to delete files, manage team members, and change the name of the shared drive. For more information on shared drives membership and permissions, see Google Shared Drives (Team Drives) Overview.

Shared Drives Membership and Management

Membership can be managed individually or with MCommunity groups. We recommend using MCommunity groups so when a change is made in MCommunity, the change is also made automatically within the Google shared drive membership. When using an MCommunity group, we recommend giving the lowest appropriate permission level. Higher permission levels can be assigned to individuals in that group as needed.

Last Updated: 
Tuesday, April 19, 2022