How to Transfer Ownership of a Google Doc [2023]

While working on Google Docs, you are the owner of all the documents that you’ve created. With ownership, you have full control over who can access a document or make changes to a document. Sometimes, you might need to transfer ownership to another user.

How do you transfer ownership of a Google Doc? You can only transfer ownership of a document to a user who already has access to that document. We have broken the process down into simpler steps so that you can easily transfer ownership of a Google Doc to other users. Check it out.

How to Transfer Ownership of a Google Doc: Step-by-Step Process

As we have already stated, transferring ownership of a document requires prior access of the user to that document. If you didn’t share that document with that user yet, the following steps will guide you throughout the process.

Step 1: Open the document you want to transfer ownership of. Click the Share button at the top right corner of the screen. This will have a lock icon beside it as you haven’t shared the document with anyone yet.

Share button in a Google Doc

Step 2: A new window will pop up. You can see who has access to that document under ‘People with access’. As you haven’t shared your document, your name will be under this tab and mark you as the owner at the right. The General access option will be Restricted by default. 

See who owns a document in Google Docs

Step 3: Click the ‘Add people and groups’ textbox and type the Gmail address of the user you want to share the document with. As you type, a list of contacts will appear, and select your desired contact from the list. 

Share a document with a Google user

Step 4: A new window will appear. Click the drop-down menu at the top and select the role of the user from three options. You can give them access as a Viewer, Commenter, and Editor. If you select Viewer, the target user will only be able to view your document with your shared link. If you select a Commenter, they will be able to add comments to your document, but can’t edit that document. Finally, choosing the Editor option will allow them to make any changes to that document.

Set user as editor in Google Docs

Step 5: Make sure the ‘Notify people’ checkbox is ticked so that they receive an email notification about the shared access. You can also add any message to this notification by entering your note in the Message box. Then, click Send to share access with the target user.

Set option to notify the new document editor

Step 6: The user will now get an email notification about the access. You need to go to the Share option again to transfer ownership.

Step 7: In the Share window, the name of the user you shared access with will appear below your name. Their role will be mentioned on the right side. Click the drop-down arrow beside the role. 

Click the dropdown to transfer ownership

Step 8: Two new options will appear under the roles. The first one is ‘Transfer ownership’. Click on this to transfer the ownership of the document to that user. If you want to remove their access to that document, you can select ‘Remove access’. For now, we will click Transfer ownership.

Select the Transfer Ownership option

Step 9: A confirmation prompt will appear stating that the ownership will only be transferred after the user accepts the invitation. Click Send Invitation to confirm. The user will get an email notification about the invitation to become the owner of this document.

Send invitation to transfer ownership in Google Docs

Once that user accepts the invitation, the ownership will be transferred to that user and you will lose your role as the owner. You won’t be able to change their role or remove their access from the document anymore. 

What Should You Remember While Transferring Ownership of a Google Doc?

Remember the following caveats while transferring ownership of a Google Doc.

  • You will be the owner of a document until your target user accepts the email invitation. Till then, you can change user roles or remove access to that document of other users.
  • Transferring ownership of a Google Doc isn’t possible on smartphones. You must need a PC or a laptop to transfer ownership.
  • The target user should be in the same organization as you. As you need your Gmail to use Google Docs, you can only transfer the ownership to users with a Gmail address. 


Google Docs is a popular word-processing tool for collaboration. You can define the role and control access of other users in the documents you own. The ownership transfer feature is also there so that you can make someone else the owner of a document.

From sharing your document with a target user to sending ownership invitations, we showed how to transfer ownership of a Google Doc. You should also learn some crucial factors regarding ownership transfer to keep the process smooth and effortless.

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