The best ways to share content in your Google Drive

G suite is my go-to for creating content, but you may have noticed it is more challenging to publicly share it. Google Drive lets you make a file publicly viewable (see this article for more details) and then each viewer must “Make a copy” to use it as shown below.

This option has its limitations. Sharing one document at a time is slow, and even if you share a folder, the user must still make a copy of each file to edit it. The good news is SharingTree and Teachers Pay Teachers have recently added the option to add shared files directly to your Google Drive. This article will cover the similarities and differences in these services.

SharingTree and TPT both request permission to access your Google Drive as shown below.

TPT is requesting to See and download all of your Google Drive files, and SharingTree asks to See, edit, create, and delete all of your Google Drive files. Both of these sound intrusive and need an explanation. Google requires a company that interacts with your Google Drive to request the highest level of access they will ever need. Both companies only use these privileges to add files directly to your Google Drive, but to accomplish this, they need to request this level of access. Hopefully, Google will improve its wording, but for now, take a deep breath and click the “Allow” button. If you are like me, you may want to use a Gmail account that only connects to services like these. Once the files are in this Google Drive account, you can easily share them with your regular Gmail account and breathe a little easier.

Publishing Content

Next, we will compare what files you can publish using SharingTree and TPT.

Currently, TPT only supports G Suite files (docs, sheets, forms, and slides) while SharingTree lets you publish ANYTHING in your Google Drive. Anything means all G Suite files but also Microsoft, PDF, Images and Video files. TPT does support a limited version of Folders (only G Suite and PDF files), and SharingTree enables you to build groups from your published content. The other difference is TPT requires published content to stay in your Google Drive while SharingTree does not.

Once you have selected the file from your Google Drive lets look at HOW these services allow it to be published.

Publishing Options

Both services support the standard FREE and for $ copyrighted content format. Also, SharingTree allows donations to any free content, and they support publishing using a Collaborative license that allows remixing and uploading using SharingTree as well as all Creative Commons licensing options for FREE content.

Lastly, let’s look at the payout rates on sales. TPT has two levels as shown below.

SharingTree has additional levels based on the number of published documents or shares but no fees. The initial tier payout rate for SharingTree is 75% vs 55% for TPT with lower transaction fees as well for publishers.

It is exciting to see platforms embrace Google Drive and eliminate the hassle of uploading and downloading files. We will update this article as more services provide Google Drive integration, and we would like to hear from you. SharingTree was started by two teachers who believe in the future of Google Drive, and our goal is to provide the best integration available. Try adding something today

How to allow others to “REMIX” your content

We call published content Leaves on SharingTree. All content published in SharingTree as Collaborative or most Creative Commons licenses can be “remixed” and become part of a COLLABORATION. Collabs allows other users to share their modified version of an original LEAF back to SharingTree using the “Add a Collab” option.

Collaborations receive the permissions of the original LEAF and SharingTree handles all appropriate attributions. Collaborations can modify the original content or extend the original to different formats (Docs, Slides, Sheets, videos, etc).

If you want to publish your content so others can remix it, then select “Collaborative” or “Creative Commons” in the “Add a Leaf” dialog box shown below.

License types

The Collaborative license allows for Remixing and Share-Alike only on SharingTree while selecting Creative Commons brings up options based on a combination of Requiring Attribution (BY), Share-Alike (SA), Prohibiting Commercial Use (NC) and No Derivatives (ND). Below is a table that compares the different Creative Commons and Copyrighted (©) licenses.

 CC BY Aaron McCollough (adapted from a table by Anita Walz)

If you are unfamiliar with these licenses, you can learn more from the Creative Commons website. Public Domain (PD) is the least restrictive and does not limit how the original content is adapted or redistributed. From the list above, we see that Public Domain (PD), Creative Commons Zero (Ø), CC-BYCC-BY-SACC-BY-NC, and CC-BY-NC-SA allow adapting/remixing and can be part of a collaboration. Any license with ND (No Derivatives) cannot be part of a collaboration or remixed. Copyrighted material is the most restrictive and cannot be adapted or redistributed except by the author.

To support others remixing your content SharingTree recommends publishing under our Collaborative license or using the CC-BY-NC-SA option. Only traditional Copyrighted(©) content can have a PRICE while Collaborative and all Creative Commons content must be FREE. We look forward to building this community with you. Head over to SharingTree and try publishing your first leaf or Add a Collab today!

Visual Guide – Using ‘Add a Leaf’ to publish content

The “Add a Leaf” button on the top toolbar allows you to publish content in your Google Drive or Device to SharingTree. Start by clicking the ‘Add a Leaf button and then follow the steps below. Publishing should only take a few minutes and be sure you have the right to publish the content.

Click ‘Add a Leaf’
Add a Leaf screen, Red indicates a required field

One important choice is the type of COPYRIGHT to apply to your document. See our copyright guide to help you decide. Copyrighted content can always be converted to Collaborative or Creative Commons later. You can also revise most information later by going to Leaves -> Published. The exception is you can not change Creative Commons or Collaborative content you publish to Copyrighted later. The last page you will see for ‘Add a Leaf’ is below.

View your added Leaf and Sharing on Social Media

This page lets you click the link to view your published leaf. You can also change any information or add a custom image using Leaves -> Published or selecting Manage leaf.

Thanks for learning how to use ‘Add a Leaf‘ to share content with the world directly from G Suite. Please let us know if you have any ideas to improve collaborating from G Suite.


The table above summarizes the publishing options for content (Leaves) using SharingTree. The content you publish must be your original work, or you must have all required publishing and trademark rights to the content. SharingTree offers three license types when publishing content using ‘Add a Leaf‘. They are COPYRIGHTED, COLLABORATIVE or CREATIVE COMMONS as shown below.

The default option is COPYRIGHTED. Selecting COPYRIGHTED retains all your rights as the content creator. COPYRIGHTED content can be FREE ($0) or any price you select and it can only be used by others for personal use with no redistribution rights. Collaborations on COPYRIGHTED content is not possible. An author can change COPYRIGHTED published content to COLLABORATIVE or one of the CREATIVE COMMONS licenses at any time.

The second option is COLLABORATIVE. The COLLABORATIVE option is only available if you set the price to $0 (FREE). You also will see the following POP-UP warning you that you are choosing to make this content available for others to remix and share only on SharingTree (limited redistribution license). Collaborative content can be be changed to a Creative Commons license at any time or deleted. For more on Creative Commons licenses see this blog post.

Collaborative License Pop-up warning

Content that is designated as COLLABORATIVE can be part of a COLLABORATION where other users are able to remix and upload a modified version for others to use on SharingTree. No other redistribution of remixed content is allowed by this license, unlike all Creative Commons licenses which allow unlimited redistribution. For the full details of the COLLABORATIVE license see

You can easily identify remixed content (leaves) by the yellow Collab Banner in upper left of a leaf’s preview image.

Collab vs Leaf Content

The quick recap is select COPYRIGHTED is you are unsure or want to charge $ for your content. You can always change COPYRIGHTS content to any other license type later. Only select COLLABORATIVE or a CREATIVE COMMONS License if you want to allow others to remix and collaborate on your work through SharingTree using the “Add a Collab” feature.

For more information on collaborations see the article “What is a Collab?“.

What is G Suite?

G Suite is based around five core web applications:

  1. Drive (
  2. Docs (docs.
  3. Slides (
  4. Sheets (
  5. Forms (
Google Drive

Google Drive is where all your G Suite files are stored. In addition to storing G Suite files, you can store any file in your Google Drive. SharingTree allows you to publish any content in your Google Drive or device in under a minute! No more uploading, downloading or ZIP files!

Google Docs

Google Docs is the equivalent to Microsoft Word in G Suite. It is the perfect application to use to make primarily text based document.

G Suite also recently added Office editing, so you can now edit, comment, and collaborate on Microsoft Office files using Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. This feature brings the collaboration benefits of G Suite to Office files. This eliminates the need to convert from Office to G suite file types. See for more information on the handy new feature.

Google Slides

Google Slides replaces Microsoft PowerPoint and it provides excellent presentation capabilities from any modern browser. Users are also able to add YouTube videos to their presentations.

Google Sheets

Google Sheets replaces Microsoft Excel and can meet all your spreadsheets calculation needs in a web-friendly format.

Google Forms

Google Forms is a great survey, assessment (Quiz) and data collection tool. Information entered can easily be transferred to a Google Sheet or scored if the Quiz option is selected. Since this application does not have a Microsoft equivalent you may want to check out the video below for more information.

Google Drawing

Google Drawing (see ) allows you to edit and create images. This tool pairs well with Google Docs when you want to add text to an image or combine multiple images into one.

For more on G suite head on over to Google’s G suite training at .

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