(This question is related to Can't access Google Docs with different email?, which starts with the same difficulty. But that question does not address the workaround I present here, and thus does not answer any questions about the workaround presented here. Therefore this question is not a duplicate of that question.)

I have a Google account in the form [email protected]. I would prefer not to share my [email protected] address.

I have another address [email protected]. I have added [email protected] both 1) as an alternate email to my Google account, and 2) as an additional "About Me" email to my Google account. In my experience this has allowed others to share Google Docs with [email protected], and I have been able to access those Google Docs without sharing my [email protected] email and without creating any new accounts. I want to do the same thing with Google Drive.

Today someone shared a Google Drive folder with my [email protected] email address using "contribute to" permissions. I clicked on the link, and Google showed that I was signed in with my [email protected] account, saying:

You need access

Ask for access, or switch to an account with access.

My Objective: I want someone to be able to share a Google Drive folder with [email protected], and I want to be able to access those files 1) without changing the primary email address of the [email protected] Google Account and 2) without creating a new Google Account.

How can I do this? If you say "it can't be done", then the follow up question is: Why can it be done for Google Docs, but not for Google Drive?

I have searched for "access shared google drive folder from alternate email address". I found:


1 Answer 1


Tl;Dr: If someone share a file with your alternate email address you should be able to access those files with your Google account. If you can't access you should ask the user who shared the file that review the sharing settings. That person might see your the Gmail email address of you Google account.

It doesn't exist such thing as "Google Drive account". To access Google Drive you need a Google account. As of March 11, 2023 it might be a consumer account or Google Workspace account.

  • A consumer account might have or not a gmail.com email address.
  • A Workspace account might have or not a mailbox in the Gmail platform but will have email address from a different domain than gmail.com.

According to Sign in to your Google Account with another email address

When people might see your Gmail address instead of your alternate email address

When people share things with your alternate email address, they will sometimes see your primary Google Account email (Gmail) address listed instead. Some examples include:

  • Google Docs: When someone shares content, like a document, with your alternate email address, your Gmail address will show instead of the alternate address.

A Google account, might be a consumer account or "managed" account (Google have changed the name: Google Apps, GSuite, Google Workspace). Managed accounts have an administrator and are managed from https://admin.google.com.

Consumer and managed accounts should have a primary email address.

Consumer accounts might have a secondary email address.


In your case the use of "alternate email address" looks to be used correctly. For other readers, please be careful the terms used to identify the different email addresses used with a Google account. Always review the official resources from Google in the same language that you use your account. Better to use English - US in stuff related to Google Accounts and Gmail.

Help article about secondary email address: Sign in to your Google Account with another email address | Google Account Help

There shouldn't be two Google accounts with the same primary email address as this cause problems. Under certain conditions when a managed account is created using the email address used by a consumer account, the consumer account will be tagged as a conflicting account and might be assigned a temporary email address. Your mileage might vary. This means that user experience might be different. Usually a user having a conflicting account might get on screen instructions when trying to signin. Also the administrator of the conflicting managed account might get instructions.

Help article about conflict accounts: How a conflicting account is created


  • "It doesn't exist such thing as 'Google Drive account'. To access Google Drive you need a Google account." Ah, so the other article still created a Google account, just a Google account without a GMail address. OK, so if there is there any way to make the [email protected] Google account able to access a shared Google Drive folder from an invitation sent to `[email protected] without creating a separate Google account? That's the objective here. Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 14:37
  • @GarretWilson Please edit the question to make it clear what is being asked (it's confusing what you have tried, what worked, what are the "requirements"). Also add show what you found the from the Drive Help Center and why it didn't meet your needs. Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 20:38
  • Rubén, I have updated the question to clarify it. I marked my objective in bold. Furthermore I can't share what I "found the from the Drive Help Center" because I did not find anything relevant from the Drive Help Center. Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 20:39
  • I added information about two relevant pages I found in a web search. Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 20:46
  • @GarretWilson I edited my answer. Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 4:10

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