GAT+ provides Google Workspace Super Admins or delegated auditors the functionality to transfer ownership of individual or multiple Google files across your organization, as long as the owner of the files is a user on your own domain.

Google Super Admins are often faced with the challenge of transferring ownership of Google files between local owners. In most cases, it’s usually transferring a folder which contains multiple subfolders or transferring multiple files to another domain user.

This is not doable with the Google Workspace Admin console. Currently, the only way to do this with the Google Workspace Admin console is to delete the local user account and, as part of deactivation of the account, transfer the ownership of the deleted user’s documents to another active account on the domain, typically the Super Admin’s account or a service account created for this purpose.

Transferring Document Ownership in Google Workspace 1

Scenario One

Transferring ownership of a folder and its subfolders. Find the folder by searching its title or file ID, then click on the drop-down menu next to its title. Select the option ‘Apply permission change to this folder (recursively)’.

When the new menu pop-up appears, enter the new owner. Note the owner must be from your own domain and not suspended.

Scenario Two

Transferring ownership of multiple files at once. Search the files you want to take action on, then select them by clicking on the toggle selectable button. Then use the Files operation > File Management functionality to input a new owner. The action will be carried out on all the files in the table you are viewing.

In both scenario one and two, when changing ownership of files the previous owner will be given editor privileges. If you don’t want this to occur, make sure to enter their email address in the field ‘Remove following users as Editors’.

Transferring Document Ownership in Google Workspace 2


There is a limitation for folders owned by an external user. You can’t change their ownership because you have administrative controls over files/folders owned by users on your own domain. In this circumstance, making a carbon copy of the folder and its contents is the only way forward.

Using a drop-down menu beside the folder name, the Admin can then select ‘Copy this Folder’. Once selected, using the secure workflow GAT ‘Unlock’ feature, the Admin can then select a user to transfer these documents to and also select a target folder.

Transferring Document Ownership in Google Workspace 3
Transferring Document Ownership in Google Workspace 4

The existing folder name will be preserved and the whole folder tree will be placed under the target folder. Admins can also specify a folder ID to have the contents moved directly into that folder.

For Copy Folder to work properly the following conditions have to be met: a user from your domain must be an editor or reader of the folder.

Using this functionality will result in locally owned copies being made of the external folders. Important: Files within the copied folder will lose event history and the existing shares will be lost.

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