My company just changed its domain name, and we all moved our Google apps accounts (say, from [email protected] to [email protected]).

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 that they use daily.

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

  • 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, 2012 at 14:06

14 Answers 14


Answer in 2023 to a question asked 12 years ago:

The method of cross-domain transfer with preserving file IDs using Google Shared Drives is well described here.


  1. Create Google Shared Drive (@old-domain.com or @new-domain.com), do not confuse it with the shared folder.
  2. Add both accounts ([email protected] and [email protected]) to this Shared Drive as a Manager.
  3. Transfer your [email protected] files into Shared Drive.
  4. Transfer your files from the Shared Drive to [email protected] Google Drive.

You can also take advantage of ready-made solutions available in the Google Workspace Marketplace. Note: You can only transfer files that belong to you.


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".

  • 2
    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, 2013 at 20:45
  • 7
    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, 2014 at 16:17
  • 1
    Does the method proposed by Steeven retain individual document revision history and individual document sharing permissions?
    – balupton
    Jul 15, 2016 at 21:58
  • @Steeven, And does Make-A-Copy retain metadata like creation date?
    – Pacerier
    Dec 22, 2017 at 10:04
  • @user40687, Hmm, it seems to reset my document's font size. That's odd....
    – Pacerier
    Dec 22, 2017 at 10:06

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.


  • they actually changed this as described here: support.google.com/a/answer/1247799?hl=en. Instead of adding this as an answer, it is probably best that you update your answer.
    – Frank Rem
    Dec 9, 2016 at 10:36
  • Does this really work between different domains? If I click on transfer documents, I am supposed to enter the old and new user, but the part '@domainname.abc' is fixed and the same. OP wanted to move from '[email protected]' to '[email protected]' ...
    – EluciusFTW
    Jan 9, 2017 at 9:44
  • @Dan, admin.google.com is only for people who paid right? What about the normal user?
    – Pacerier
    Dec 22, 2017 at 9:02

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...'

  • But this screws up the metadata. Creation date, version history, etc.
    – Pacerier
    Dec 22, 2017 at 10:04

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/

  • 1
    new cyberduch does not support google drive anymore
    – john
    Jul 6, 2013 at 20:45
  • Get an older version then.
    – Stealth
    Jul 8, 2013 at 15:55
  • Any suggestions on how/where to get an older version? Can you tell us which version will still allow this? Jul 9, 2013 at 10:50

The only way I found to do it is by writing a script on my own. It will time out, and then you will need to restart the script. I wrote it so that it won't be a problem to restart the script.

  1. Copy this into Google Apps script (script.google.com), doesn't matter on which account.
  2. Click on the source folder, click Share, and then advanced. Copy the link's key into the "..." for the source.
  3. Do the same for the destination folder.
  4. Run it how many times you want.
function start() {

  var originFolder = DriveApp.getFolderById("...");
  var destination = DriveApp.getFolderById("...");

  copyFolder(originFolder, destination);


function copyFolder(source, target) {

  var folders = source.getFolders();
  var files   = source.getFiles();

  while(files.hasNext()) {
    var file = files.next();
    var dest = target.getFilesByName(file.getName());
    if (dest.hasNext()) {
      // skip because file exists
      Logger.log('skipping copy for ' + file.getName() + ' because it exists.');

    Logger.log("copying file: " + file.getName());
    file.makeCopy(file.getName(), target);

  while(folders.hasNext()) {
    var subFolder = folders.next();
    var folderName = subFolder.getName();

    var dest = target.getFoldersByName(folderName);
    var targetFolder;
    if (!dest.hasNext()) {
      Logger.log('creating folder ' + folderName);
      targetFolder = target.createFolder(folderName);
    } else {
      targetFolder = dest.next();

    copyFolder(subFolder, targetFolder);

  • I get the following error: Access denied: DriveApp. (line 25, file "copy")
    – Happy Bird
    Feb 5, 2019 at 3:12
  • @Happy Bird set the permission of the destination folder to write access.
    – Happy Bird
    Feb 5, 2019 at 3:15
  • Did I just talk to myself? Oh yes I did!
    – Happy Bird
    Feb 5, 2019 at 3:15

I was in a similar situation where I had an account in regular [email protected] 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 "[email protected]". 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 [email protected], 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.


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.


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.


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.

  • Yea, but all the google docs would be converted to Word if you try to export them. Is there anyway to export a google document "properly"?
    – Pacerier
    Dec 22, 2017 at 9:15

There are 3 scenarios:

  1. If your docs are simple (without vectorial graphics) you can just export them as docx/odt and re-import 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 [email protected] to [email protected]) then you can transfer ownership of the docs after sharing them with [email protected].
  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 [email protected] to [email protected]), then you first share the docs with [email protected]. Then you have to install the Google Drive desktop app, login with the [email protected] account, and make a personal copy of the shared folder inside the app as suggested here.

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.

  1. Visit the Google Drive (source) you'd like to migrate/transfer from
  2. Select all files/docs/folders you'd like to migrate/transfer
  3. Right-click any of the selected files
  4. Select Download which will create a zip file of all your files. Your gDocs will be converted to equivalent Microsoft Office docs
  5. Unzip the folder you just downloaded
  6. Open your destination Google Drive
  7. Drag and drop the files/folders you just unzipped onto the screen of the new Google Drive (destination) where you wanted to transfer from your other domain/account (source)
  8. All of the files will be added to your drive and disassociated with your other Google account.

Video Tutorial Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVbeEaRZUr4


you can duplicate all files on drive, download them, then unzip and rename the "Copy of" prefix to nothing.

Then re-up

This will download, copy, and re-up as new owner

On mac this is easy, there is a mouse menu option called "Rename x items". You fill in the first field "Copy of" and leave the 2nd field empty. This will rename everything to the original files names.

I just did this with about a 100 files in one go.

Should work with 1.000.000 files, if you are patient :)

  • It will not download Google Docs or sheets, just files, and you will lose all permissions associated with the files and directories.
    – Adam Matan
    Apr 8, 2018 at 12:54

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