Someone has shared a Google Drive document with me (through shared link). I don't know the exact location of that document in folder system. I need to be able to locate this document not only via shared link, but also by "clicking the way" to it through folders.

If I have read-write privileges to a file then I can simply click document's title:

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Location will appear a moment later:

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I can also click on "Move" icon next to title / star to achieve the same.

But... How can I learn location of a file when I have read-only access privilege:

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And neither rename nor move operations are allowed for me?

1 Answer 1


You might find the location of a file owned by someone else only if that location is shared with you i.e. a folder or Shared Drive.

There are several ways to find the location. If you have opened the file, click on File > Document Details.

If the location was not shared with you, - will be displayed, otherwise a link with the name of the folder will be shown.

It was said that you have "read-only access" but on the Google Drive / Google Sheets jargon the file was shared with you as viewer. You can find the file in "Shared with me" and you could add a file shortcut to your drive or to a Shared Drive. You could only move a file from folder or Shared Drive only if that location is shared with you as editor / manager / content manager.

Contrary as occurs on other file systems, Google Drive doesn't use file paths to "physically " store files, actually a file could be an orphan (no parent folder / root folder but still count against the file owner quota.

To learn the file the whole path of a file in Google Drive, first you have to find the folder / root folder where the file is "located", then recursively get the parent folder until to get the whole path but

  1. you should have access to all the folders (you will not be able to get the root folder of another user)
  2. for orphanated files that is imposible, first the file should be moved into a folder.


  • I think that it is a good idea to extend your otherwise great answer with the information on how to trigger / see path to the document. Suppose that I have a location shared with me, but I still have only "Viewer" rights for particular file. Then -- if I am correct -- I will still won't be able to rename the document or change its location. And therefore the methods described by me in my question won't work. How will I get the location of a file in this case?
    – trejder
    Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 9:56
  • @trejder from my answer: "You might find the location of a file owned by someone else only if that location is shared with you i.e. a folder or Shared Drive." Is the file location shared with you? Is there any folder or Shared Drive shared with you? Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 14:55
  • yes! In my company many people shared with me a 100+ folders and a 1000+ documents. I've deleted emails telling me about each share and I am little bit lost in "My Shares". I have a link to a document (with "viewer" rights), I click it and open that document or sheet in Google Docs or Google Sheets. I want to know (directly from that document view / screen) in which folder that document sits. I have access to that folder only I don't know which one of those 100+ it is.
    – trejder
    Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 19:47
  • As I said in my answer and the previous comment, a viewer/commenter/editor only might be able to see the file location if that location is shared with them. If looks that the location of the file was not shared with you. If you would like that Google Drive / Google Workspace editors behave differently please consider to submit your feedback directly to Google. One way to do this is from the Help menu of one the Google Workspace editors. In the mean time you could ask the file owner to confirm if the file location was shared with you. Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 21:25
  • Let me put it in points for maybe better clarity and understanding: (1) File X sits in Projects/Boomba/Docs/PMM/Initial. (2) Folder Projects/Boomba/Docs/PMM/Initial is shared with me. (3) File X is shared with me (viewer right). (4) I forgot file's location. (5) I've lost email with a link to shared folder. (6) I only have link to shared file. (7) I can click that link and open up the file. (8) As a viewer, I cannot rename file or move it. Thus method described by my in my question doesn't work -- "Move" icon does not appear and clicking document's title brings no effect.
    – trejder
    Commented Aug 15, 2021 at 19:41

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