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My company just changed its domain name, and we all moved our Google apps accounts (say, from adam@old-domain.com to adam@new-domain.com).

We have found sufficient solutions for transferring emails, filters, contacts and calendars. However, we failed to find a proper way to bulk-copy our Google Docs. This is a huge problem for many users who have hundreds of Google Docs used daily.

Is there any workaround? I couldn't find any proper solution in Google's discussion group.

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If both domains old and new are google-apps why not just added one as an alias? I think that would have sorted most issues – Saariko Sep 11 '12 at 14:06

11 Answers 11

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Put every thing into one folder, right click that folder, press share, then add the person you want as the owner. After sharing it with them press the little tab beside their name and click "Is Owner".

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This doesn't work recursively so it's a slow method if someone has a lot of files in a lot of folders – john Jul 6 '13 at 20:45
The new Google Docs version does not allow you to give ownership to a user on another domain. So now, after you have shared the folder with your new user, your new user must also create a copy of the folder. This folder will be owned by the new user. Because of this extra step, it seems this method is tough with many files. For a few files it is a fine solution. – Steeven Jul 3 '14 at 16:17
Does the method proposed by Steeven retain individual document revision history and individual document sharing permissions? – balupton Jul 15 at 21:58

To transfer ownership of all documents from one user to another:

  1. Sign in to the Google Admin panel.
  2. Click the Settings tab, and then click Drive and Docs in the left column.
  3. Click the Tools tab and complete the Document ownership transfer section:
    • In the From field, enter the user name of the current owner and select the user’s domain.
    • In the To field, enter the user name of the new owner and select the user’s domain.

      Tip: If the transfer involves a very large number of documents, you may want to notify the new owner and check that they have enough storage capacity to accommodate the transferred documents. (In the new owner's Google Drive on the web, click the Upload button to see the amount of storage used/available).
  4. Click Transfer documents to save.

    All of the transferred documents are automatically organized in a single new folder — titled with the previous owner’s email address — in the new owner’s Drive.

    The administrator and the new and previous owners receive email about the transfer as soon as the process completes.

    If there were any problems with the transfer (e.g. the new owner's quota is exceeded, which prevents the transfer of some documents), the email notification describes what happened. To fix the problem, you might purchase more storage for Google Drive for the new owner, transfer ownership of the documents to a different user, or redistribute ownership of documents one at a time to different users.

Note, this only works if both users are in the same domain. You cannot transfer ownership between domains, which is what the original poster asked for.


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In order to move my files from my school account to my personal Google account, I first share the folders to my personal account, then select all of the files and 'Make a Copy' from the 'More actions' tab.

I then log into my personal account and move the copies into a folder on that account. I can then remove the ownership from the original account and modify them or share them otherwise.

The main issue here is having to rename all the files to remove 'Copy of...'

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Have you looked at Cyberduck? It is available for both Mac and Windows and it allows you to bulk download all of your docs from Google Docs. After that, all you have to do is bulk upload them to your new account.

version 4.2.1 in changelog: http://cyberduck.ch/changelog/

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new cyberduch does not support google drive anymore – john Jul 6 '13 at 20:45
Get an older version then. – Stealth Jul 8 '13 at 15:55
Any suggestions on how/where to get an older version? Can you tell us which version will still allow this? – Andrew Lott Jul 9 '13 at 10:50

This isn't ideal but it appears that you have already exhausted the solutions that can be found within Google Groups:

What about bulk download and bulk upload of files?

This article explains how to bulk download all your Google Documents and this one explains how to batch upload Google Documents

As I said it's not ideal but this rather important feature seems to be severely lacking in Google Docs.

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I was in a similar situation where I had an account in regular my_name@gmail.com and bought an account in Google Apps to have a new account in the new domain. I successfully moved Ownership from my old account to the new one.

First of all I gave Editor permissions to all my files to the my new account "my_name@example.com". Then I installed Google Drive for Mac (desktop application) and signed in with my old account. I waited until all my files synchronized then signed out from the application (Preferences... -> Disconnect account ...).

After this I had a folder called Google Drive in my home directory with all my files from Google Drive.

Then I created a new empty folder and called it New Google Drive. I opened the Google Drive application, clicked "Sign in" and logged in with my new account my_name@example.com, on the second step while I was signing in and changed the folder where the application should store synchronized files to the folder New Google Drive.

After the Google Drive application was ready, I copied all files (by COMMAND+C ) from Google Drive folder and put them (with COMMAND+V) in the New Google Drive folder.

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You might want to keep an eye on http://www.migrationbox.com/. They supposedly are close to releasing a new tool that will perform an automated docs migration for you.

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See this Lifehacker article: How to Migrate Your Entire Google Account to a New One

Some of the details are old, but should all still work.

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The only way is to either upload the files again to the Google Apps account or share the files with the Google Apps email address of yours. You cannot transfer the Ownership of the files yet (if you have upgraded Google Docs to Google Drive)- this feature will be coming shortly. If you are still using Google Docs, the owner can be changed to the Google Apps Account.

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There are 3 scenarios:

  1. If your docs are simple (without vectorial graphs) you can just export them as docx/odt an reimport the docs. Then right-click each imported doc and select "open with Google Docs" to make them editable again.
  2. If your docs contain vectorial graphics that you want to keep editable, and if the target account is in the same domain (eg. transfer from user1@gmail.com to user2@gmail.com) then you can trasfer ownership of the docs after sharing them with user2@gmail.com.
  3. If your docs contain vectorial graphics that you want to keep editable, and if the target account is in another domain (eg. transfer from user1@custom.com to user2@gmail.com), then you first share the docs with user2@gmail.com. Then you have to install the Google Drive desktop app, login with the user2@gmail.com account, and make a personal copy of the shared folder inside the app as suggested here.
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One option is to export a folder to your desktop as a zip file (default), decompress it then use folder import to import to the new drive.

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