Google Hangouts is being currently replaced by the newer messaging service Google Chat. Google Chat, part of Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), is a communication and collaboration tool that offers direct messaging and chat rooms, along with group conversation functions. It allows you to chat, share content, collaborate, and more with friends, family, and colleagues. It is now available to anyone with a Gmail account, for free as both an integrated service in Gmail and a Chat standalone app.

If you are still using Google Hangouts, Google will migrate all your chats, conversation, contacts, and saved history to Google Chat. Google Chat also comes with cool new features such as file sharing, document creation, video meeting, and more, all these without ever leaving the app.

Unlike Hangouts, which only let you share images, Google Chat allows you to share various kind of files such as documents, spreadsheets, slides, images, videos, and much more all in one place. Let us see how to share files from Google Chat.

Sharing Files in Google Chat

Google Chat allows users to share documents and files with individuals, groups, and chat rooms. You can share photos, spreadsheets, text documents, presentation slides, videos, audio files, Docs, Slides, Sheets, and various other kinds of files quickly and easily. These files can be either from Google Drive or from the local drive of your devices such as computers, mobiles, and tablets. And you can only share files that are less than 200 MB in size.

You can share files with a group or chat room in which the members can view and edit the same files whilst still chatting, allowing for real-time collaboration.

First, sign in to in your browser or open Google Chat standalone app. Then, select the person with whom you want to share files.

Or, to share files with a group or chat room, open an open chat room where you want to share files.

Share Files from your Computer

To share a file from your computer or mobile, click on the ‘Upload file’ button in the right corner of the text box.

Navigate to the file you want to share in the ‘Open’ file chooser window. Then, select the file and click ‘Open’.

The chosen file will be added to Google Chat with a preview of the file, but it’s not sent yet. To send it, click the blue ‘Send Message’ button outside the text box.

The attached file will be sent out instantly.

When you highlight the message, you would have options to add a reaction to the message or forward the message with the attachment to your Gmail inbox.

Share Files from Google Drive

To share a file from Google Drive, click the ‘Add Google Drive file’ button in the right corner of the text box.

Search through your Google Drive account to find the file you want to send. Then, choose the file and click the ‘Select’ button.

Click the blue ‘Send Message’ button to send the file.

When you click on the ‘Send message’ button, Google Drive will ask you to grant permission to access the file you are sharing.

If you’re sharing a file with an individual, Google will prompt you with this dialog window:

Or, if you are sharing a file with a group or chat room, Google will prompt you with this dialog window:

In the prompt window, click on the ‘Comment’ drop-down and choose what kind of permission you want to give to the file you are sharing.

  • If you select ‘View’, the room members in your chat room or the person would only able to view the shared file.
  • Or, if you select ‘Comment’, the users can only comment on the file.
  • Or if you choose the ‘Edit’ option, users can view and edit the file.

Once you selected the permission, click ‘SEND’ to share the file with the chat room/person. And the file will be shared.

When you share a file in a chat room, every current and future room member will be able to access the file with the given permission. And if a member leaves the room, they will lose access to that file.

If you select the ‘Turn link sharing on’ option and send the file, anyone with the link of the file can only view and comment on the file.

Sometimes, when you are sharing a sensitive file in a group or a chat room, you may not want every room member to have access to the file. In such cases, check the ‘Don’t give access’ option and click ‘SEND’.

Everyone in the chat room will receive the file, but they won’t be able to access them unless you grant them permission. This way you can prevent any unwanted members from accessing the file.

Sometimes you may also receive a file with no access. When you try to open a file with no access, Google Drive will show you an access denied page and tell you to request access to the file. Click the ‘Request access’ button to send an email to the owner of the file, to ask for access.

The owner of the file will get an email from the user, requesting access as shown below. If someone is requesting access to the file you shared, you can see who is requesting access. You can choose the permission in the drop-down under the file name and click ‘Share’ to grant access.

And you’ll see the ‘You shared this file’ message. If you don’t want to give permission to someone, you can just ignore their request.

Note: You can only give permission to the files you share from your Google Drive. If you share files from your local computer or mobile, anyone who receives the file can access it with no restrictions.

You can also copy and paste the URL of the Google Drive file directly in the Google Chat to share files. But the users can only open these files in the ‘View mode’.

Unable to Share Files in Google Chat?

There may be times when you may not be able to share files or get an upload error in Google Chat. If you have a bad internet connection or no internet connection, you won’t be able to share files. When that happens, check your internet connection and try sending it again.

Another reason you won’t able to share files is that certain file types are blocked in Google Chat. Google Chat blocks certain files to prevent users from sharing malicious programs or malware.

The files types that are blocked in Google Chat includes:


Google Chat also blacks certain Microsoft Office files that might contain Macro malware and password-protected archives with another archive inside.

When you try to share any of these files types, Chat will show you an ‘Upload failed’ error.