Google Drive and Shared Drives

Google Workspace is a set of online apps made by Google and hosted at Emerson, providing opportunities for collaboration and productivity. All community members are given 100GB of Google Workspace storage.

Here are some ways you can use Google Workspace to work, share, and publish with ease.

Sign in to Multiple Google Accounts

Many users have personal Gmail accounts in addition to their Emerson Gmail. To log into multiple accounts in the same browser, see Google's Sign in to multiple accounts at once guide.

Google Drive

Google Workspace features Google Drive, which allows you to create word-processing, spreadsheet, and presentation documents online. Drive will store your documents online, so you can access and work on them from anywhere. Documents can include embedded images, drawings, links, and charts. You can create online quizzes and surveys using the forms tool, which automatically records responses in a spreadsheet.

A screenshot of the menu on the left-hand side of Google Drive.

Editing in Google Drive documents is similar to using Microsoft Office, except that some familiar commands might be found under different menus. Office documents can be uploaded and converted to Google Drive documents, and they can be downloaded in many file formats, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

To begin using Drive, go to and log in with your Emerson username and password. To see files that you own, click My Drive. To see files that have been shared with you, click Shared with me.

Up to 200 users can view or collaborate on a single Google Drive document, and up to 10 people (50 for a spreadsheet) can view or edit a document at the same time. A built-in chat tool lets you communicate while doing so. A commenting feature allows users to discuss and track changes on a document, and a revision history feature lets you access older versions of a document.

Since documents are available through an online editor, you’ll never have to worry about distributing the latest versions to group members, nor will you have to worry about everyone having compatible software on their computers.

To invite others to view or edit a document click Share at the top-right of the document editing window. Drive will prompt you to enter the email addresses of the people you want to invite and to designate whether you want them the ability to edit or to view the document. Invitations need not be limited to Emerson email addresses.

The sharing settings panel of a Google document. Individual email addresses can be added with which to share the document.

Microsoft Office Files with Google Drive

You can upload Microsoft Office files to your Google Drive. To edit them, you can do one of the following:

  • Right-click the file and download it to your desktop and edit it with your Microsoft Office application, and re-upload it to Google Drive once done. When you overwrite the file in Google Drive, it will ask if you'd like to replace the existing file or keep both. If you choose Replace, you can see the former version by right-clicking the file and going to Manage Versions.
  • Open the file in Google Docs or Google Sheets by double-clicking the file. This will NOT convert the file to a Google Docs file - it will simply open your Microsoft Office file in Google Docs, where you can take full advantage of the collaboration tools (simultaneous editing, commenting, etc.) offered through Google Workspace. If you do want to convert the file to a Google file, click File > Save as Google Sheets.

Shared Drives

For department folders, we use Google Shared Drives. Unlike My Drive, Shared Drives are owned by Google Workspace rather than any individual, and therefore are better suited for departments and groups that require continuity in their data management. Shared Drives are great for maintaining access to files when employee turnover, as an example.

A screenshot of the menu on the left-hand side of Google Drive.

When logged into Google Drive, you will find a Shared Drives link on the left navigation. Unlike, My Drive, Shared Drives have "Managers" and "Content Managers." A Manager has complete access to all levels of the Shared Drive and can add/remove users at any folder level. Only Managers can see a Shared Drive under the Shared Drives menu. Users who have access to subfolders within a Shared Drive will simply see them under the Shared with me link. When designing the folder and permissions hierarchy for a Shared Drive, start with the least amount of access (VP and admin assistant, for instance) and then add additional users for subfolders. Unlike My Drive, you cannot remove a user from a subfolder who already has access at a higher level. Only Managers are able to adjust access at any level of a Shared Drive. Additionally, Managers can right-click the Shared Drive, click Manage Members, and click the Settings Gear to toggle options to disallow sharing to non-Emerson accounts. Additionally, users of Google Drive for Desktop will not see Shared Folders or Files (data under "Shared With Me") by default (not to be confused with Shared Drives). To see Shared Folders or Files, users must right-click the files or folders they want to see in the desktop application, click Add Shortcut to Drive, and choose a place for the shortcut under My Drive or Shared Drives.

It's common that individual users own departmental files in their My Drive, and it is often ideal that those be moved to Shared Drives. To do this, simply right-click the file, click Move, and navigate to the Shared Drive.

Exporting Google Drive Data

Often, departing students may choose to import their Emerson email or Google Drive data into an outside or personal Gmail account. To do this, see our Exporting Google Drive and Gmail (for departing students) guide.

Staff and Faculty may follow the same procedure for personal data only.

Canvas and Google Collaborations

To integrate Canvas and Google, see our Canvas and Google Collaborations article.

Learn More

Google offers a host of online documentation, tours, and videos about Google Workspace. Learn how to get the most out of Google Workspace, read the support section, or integrate Google Workspace at Emerson with Canvas.

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