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How to Block Users from Receiving Shared Files from Outside Organization in Google Workspace

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If you are a Google Workspace administrator, you might want to prevent your users from receiving files that are shared by external users who are not part of your organization. This can help you protect your organization’s data and comply with your security policies.

In this article, we will explain how you can block users from receiving shared files from outside your organization in Google Workspace, and what are the implications of this setting. We will also answer some frequently asked questions related to this topic.

Problem Description

By default, Google Workspace allows users to share files and folders with anyone who has a Google account, even if they are outside your organization. This means that your users can receive files from external users, such as clients, partners, vendors, or collaborators.

However, this also poses some risks and challenges for your organization, such as:

  • Data leakage: External users might share sensitive or confidential information with your users, which could compromise your organization’s data security and privacy.
  • Compliance issues: External sharing might violate your organization’s policies or regulations regarding data protection, retention, or access.
  • User confusion: External sharing might create confusion or inconsistency among your users, especially if they receive files from multiple sources or domains.

Therefore, you might want to block users from receiving shared files from outside your organization in Google Workspace, so that they can only access files that are owned or shared by internal users.

Solution Explanation

To block users from receiving shared files from outside your organization in Google Workspace, you need to change the Drive sharing settings in the Admin console. These settings apply to items from Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites project files, My Maps, folders, and anything else stored in Drive.

Here are the steps to change the Drive sharing settings:

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console using your administrator account (does not end in
  2. In the Admin console, go to Menu > Apps > Google Workspace > Drive and Docs.
  3. Click Sharing settings.
  4. To apply the setting to everyone, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit or a configuration group.
  5. Under Sharing outside of organization, click Off.
  6. To also prevent external content being shared with your users, including content in third-party storage systems, uncheck Allow users in organization to receive files from users outside of domain.
  7. Click Save.

By turning off external sharing for your organization, you will disable file sharing outside your organization. Users can’t invite people outside the organization to view, comment on, or edit their files.

Additionally, by unchecking the option to allow users to receive files from outside the domain, you will restrict external user access to content in shared drives. Users can’t access external Google files or third-party storage systems.

Note: If you need more granular control over sharing, you can use trust rules to manage sharing both outside and inside your organization.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What happens to the existing files that are shared with external users?

Answer: If you turn off external sharing for your organization, the existing files that are shared with external users will remain accessible to them until you change the individual file permissions or delete the files. However, you can use the [Transfer tool for unmanaged users] to identify and transfer ownership of these files to a managed user in your organization.

Question: How can I allow external sharing for specific groups or organizational units?

Answer: You can allow external sharing for specific groups or organizational units by using Drive sharing settings or trust rules. For example, you might want to allow only users in certain groups or organizational units to share content externally, and block external sharing for everyone else.

With Drive sharing settings:

  • If you haven’t already, put the users in organizational units or configuration groups.
  • Turn off external sharing for the top organizational unit.
  • At the left, click the group or organizational unit you want to allow to share externally.
  • Turn on external sharing.

Question: How can I share content with external users who don’t have Google Accounts?

Answer: You can let users share files and folders with external users who don’t have Google Accounts by turning on visitor sharing. You can choose to allow visitor sharing with anyone or only trusted domains. For instructions, see [Allow sharing to non-Google users with visitor sharing].


We hope this article has helped you understand how to block users from receiving shared files from outside your organization in Google Workspace. If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below. Thank you for reading!

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should consult with your own legal or technical experts before implementing any of the solutions described in this article. We are not responsible for any damages or losses caused by following the instructions in this article.

Alex Lim is a certified IT Technical Support Architect with over 15 years of experience in designing, implementing, and troubleshooting complex IT systems and networks. He has worked for leading IT companies, such as Microsoft, IBM, and Cisco, providing technical support and solutions to clients across various industries and sectors. Alex has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the National University of Singapore and a master’s degree in information security from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the author of several best-selling books on IT technical support, such as The IT Technical Support Handbook and Troubleshooting IT Systems and Networks. Alex lives in Bandar, Johore, Malaysia with his wife and two chilrdren. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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