Google Docs Sharing: Group Emails Fail To Send

How To Fix Google Doc Sharing Notification Failures. Depending on your email settings this can be a common issue for students and teachers in schools. #techtips #School #elementary #highschool

If your email system is not Gmail (Google), you may run into this issue.

You want to share a Google Doc with all of the teachers in your school. It just so happens (thanks to your friendly IT staff) that you may have a group in your Google domain that contains all of your staff members in it. Let’s say it’s called XYZ Staff.

You share the document following these steps.

  1. Click the SHARE button in the top right hand corner of the Google Doc.
  2. You enter the name or email address of the Google Group you want to share the file with. In this case its XYZ Staff or XYZstaff@school.state.us


  3. Leave the check mark in Notify people
  4. Click Send

Easy! But wait…..you soon receive an email saying that the email message to the group failed to be delivered. Noooooooooo!

Don’t panic. Let’s take a look at what actually happened and how to avoid this in the future.

Was My Google Drive File Shared Successfully?

Yes, the file was shared with the group. Everyone in the XYZ Staff group now has access to it. However, no one received the email with the link to the file.

Users can get to it if they look inside their Shared With Me folder in Google Drive, but most people do not randomly check that folder.

Why Did The Email Fail?

By default, many email systems, including Office 365, block external email addresses from sending to your distribution groups. One reason for this is it helps cut down on spam.

Though your account shared the file with users in your organization, the actual notification isn’t received by the users in the group.

What To Do Now?

All you need to do now is share out the link manually. Here’s the easiest way:

  1. Open the Google Doc
  2. Copy the URL to the file (the website URL)
  3. Paste the URL into an new email
  4. Send the email to the same group you shared it with.

Users will be able to open the link because you already shared the file with the group originally. Since the email will be coming from your account the users of the group will receive it.

How to make Sharing go Smoother in the Future

Move to Google for email. 🙂
Since that’s probably not a possible solution. Here are 3 options to help avoid this problem when you share a file.

Option 1: Always send notification emails yourself

When sharing a Google Drive file or folder, uncheck the Notify people box. Instead, follow the steps in the previous “What To Do Now?” section to send a URL to the file from your email.

Option 2: Allow email accounts outside your organization to send to your distribution group(s)

You will need your IT staff to make this change. They may or may not allow this modification.

Option 3: Use Google Team Drives or a Shared Google Drive Folder

If you often share files with a group, rather then sharing files individually, store your files in a shared folder. This can be done by sharing a folder with a group or by creating a Google Team Drive that a group can access.

In both cases you can avoid having to share each file and instead just email your staff that the file is in the folder. This is similar to option 2, but cuts out the individual file sharing and can make finding shared files easier for your users. You can learn more about Google Team Drives here.

Hopefully, these tips will make sharing Google Drive files easier for you. If you found this post helpful please share it on your favorite social media platform.

Thanks for reading and sharing!

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