Sharing Google Drive and Alternate Addresses

Have you ever had somebody send you a link to a Google Drive file or folder that you couldn’t open because you didn’t have a Google account for that email address?

Usually, when that happens, you have to email the person back and give them a google email address that they can use instead, or sometimes you may just have NO IDEA what to do.

You CANNOT share Google Drive with a non-Google address.  BUT you can link your non-google address to a preferred google account (they have an easy way to do this – see below).  I did that for myself so if somebody shares a document with me at one of my personal non-gmail addresses like, it will automatically share to my personal gmail account.

These extra addresses that link to your Google account are called “alternate addresses.”  I recommend logging in to your primary google account and then adding your other non-Google email accounts to it as an alternate address.

You can try to set up your alternate email addresses by going to

This should solve your sharing problem.  Please note that once you add an alternate address, it will work going forward, but any sharing links you’ve previously been sent to an alternate address will still not work.  A new sharing link will have to be sent.  They may even have to remove your sharing from before and then re-share it with you.

But the beauty of this is that people don’t need to know your google account – they simply need to use your regular email address to share Google documents and folders with you.  As long as those addresses are set up as “alternate addresses” in your Google account, it will be as if they shared with your Google account directly.

Happy sharing!



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