How to Copy a Shared Folder in Google Drive

Google Drive is a great cloud-based storage system. It provides up to 15GB of free storage to organize and share your documents or images. You can import files from your device, including Gmail attachments, and organize them all in folders.

A direct option to copy or duplicate folders in Google Drive is not available, but there are ways to work around and get the job done.

This article discusses the various steps you can work around to copy a folder’s file in Google Drive. 

Moving Files from Drive Shared Folders

Transferring documents or files from a shared folder can best be described as a move and not a copy as the moved content becomes unavailable in the shared folder.

Moving a shared folder with many files or subfolders may take some time to move to the new location. Permissions that apply to the items and the people that can see them also alter and change.

Ensure the items are shared with “can edit” access and enable the “editors can change” permission for the folder before moving it to your Drive.

Remember, you cannot move a read-only file or folder as these settings prevent you from making changes to the content, hence the need to have different file permissions to facilitate a move.

After moving the folder, any permissions enabled from the shared folder are removed, and new ones are inherited from the destination folder.

How to Copy a Shared Folder in Google Drive?

The following steps illustrate how to copy a shared folder in Google Drive from one place to another

  • Open Google Drive on your browser, then select to open the folder you want to copy.
  • Suppose you want to copy all the files in the folder, press Ctrl+A or drag your mouse cursor from top to bottom to select. After all the files in the folder are selected, you can now copy the entire folder files.
  • To copy the selected files, press Ctrl+C or right-click on your mouse and press “make a copy” for the Drive to create a new copy of the folder’s files.
copy a shared folder in google drive
  • Copies of the selected files will appear in the same folder, with “copy of” before their original file name.
  • Go to my Drive and create a new folder in the Drive.
  • Next, click on “my Drive,” and on the menu bar, select the “new folder” option.
  • Rename the new folder where the copied files will be pasted.
  • Now, select the “Copy of” the files from the recent menu and make a right-click.
  • Tap on Move To.
How to Copy Google Drive Folders
  • Select the folder you have created on My Drive.
move shared folder to my drive

How To Copy a Shared Folder in Google Drive Using Backup and Sync

If your computer has Backup and Sync installed, you can easily copy Google drive folders from the desktop application without firing your web browser. Moreover, the approach is more straightforward compared to the first method, as you can copy the folder with all its contents all at one go.

The Backup and Sync approach works identically for both Windows and macOS.

  • On your desktop, launch the Backup and Sync app and sync all your folders and files to the cloud before getting started.
  • After completing the Sync, open File Explorer for the windows users or Finder for the Mac users.
  • Click open your Google Drive folder.
  • Identify the folder you want to copy and right-click on it, then select “copy.”

You can also single-click on your folder then Ctrl+C for Windows or Command+C on Mac to copy.

  • Go to your destination folder or wherever you want your folder copied and right-click, then select paste. You can also press Ctrl+V on Windows or Command+V on Mac to paste the content.

Your folder and all its content automatically get pasted on your destination of choice. Backup and Sync also sync the folder immediately to Google Drive, and the content becomes accessible to you from anywhere.

To use the Backup and Sync option to copy your folders, ensure the application is installed and configured correctly on your desktop.

Read- How to Unshare a Folder in Google Drive

How to copy a Shared Folder in Google Drive using Colab

Google Drive allows you only to copy files and not directories, and that can be an annoying feature. Making a copy of individual or multiple files to your Drive works just fine, unlike folders where that option is unavailable.

Right-clicking on a folder only gives you an option to “Add to My Drive”. It only creates a shortcut and doesn’t copy the folder.

Opening a Google Colab Notebook is a solution to this problem. Follow the following simple steps;

copy files from one folder to another colab
  • Enter the code below to Mount your Drive and then tap on Play button.
move file from colab to drive
  • Click on the URL to connect your drive and copy the code to enter in the space.
download folder from google drive in colab
  • Press Enter to initiate and now wait for your Drive to Mount.
how to move data from colab to drive
  • Now, click on the folder icon and copy the folder as required.
google colab mount shared folder

Downloading using Colab is one of the most effective ways to copy your large folders on Google Drive efficiently.

How to Copy files from Google Drive to Phone?

To copy files from Google Drive on your phone, you must have a Google account. Otherwise, you are required to create one by following the Google account set-up procedure. You can then sign in to exchange files between google drive and your phone.

  • Set up a Google account on your android phone and sign in to it.
  • Open the drive app or google drive on your browser
  • Select the files you want to be downloaded to your android phone
  • Long press on the file for a drop-down menu to appear.
  •  Select the copy option, and your file/files will be copied
  • Proceed to the desired place to paste the copied file/ files on your android phone.
  • Long press on the destination for a drop-down menu and  select the paste option in the menu to paste your files

Files from google drive can also be transferred to your android phone by downloading. 

  • Open your Google drive app and long press on the files
  • Select download from the drop-down menu to download the file to your phone storage
  • Store the downloaded files wherever you wish on your phone.

Read How to Edit a PDF in Google Drive

What is the Difference Between “Add to My Drive” and “Make a Copy”

When a file is shared with you on google drive, you have the option to “Add to My Drive”. This option makes it easier for you to access the document. If the owner makes any changes to the document, they are updated in the file on your google drive.

Any changes on the document by the owner are updated automatically to the document you added to your Drive. If the source decided to delete the file from their Drive, it gets deleted from your google drive.

The downside of using “add to my drive” on a shared folder is that you risk losing access to the document. It is mainly because you are creating a link to someone else’s content.

 When making a copy of a shared document, you are simply duplicating the original document. You can make changes to the document and share it with others as you wish.

In addition, any changes made on the duplicate copy will not reflect on the original document shared with you. If the owner makes changes to the original document, they also don’t reflect on your manuscript.

Read How to Request Edit Access in the Google Drive Folder

When may you want to use “make a copy”?

  • You can opt for “make a copy” when you want to add your notes to a file/ folder you cannot edit
  • When you want to make changes to a file or document but want to keep the original version as well, creating a copy comes in handy
  • If you do not want to lose access to a file shared with you, you may want to make a copy compared to adding it to your Drive.
  • When you want to keep a copy of the file even after the owner deletes it, make a copy.

The only downside to having a copy of a shared folder is that the manuscript does not get updated with any changes made by the owner on the original document.