How Teachers Can Use Google Takeout to Save & Transfer Google Drive Files

Guest Post by Scott Winstead

It's the end of the school year, and you're moving on. Maybe you're headed to a new district, or you're taking a break while you figure out your next move. Whatever the case, the clock is ticking because you're about to lose access to all your files.

It's a bit anxiety inducing, really. After all, you've spent countless hours (and money) creating resources, compiling lessons you've found across the web, and saving resources other teachers have shared with you. You put them in your Google Drive because, well, it's cloud-based, which means both safe and convenient.

However, when you lose access to your school accounts, that includes your district Google account. Uh-oh.

So how can you ensure that you maintain access to all of those resources in your Google Drive once your district pulls the plug? Luckily, it's totally doable using Google Takeout.

What is Google Takeout?

In a nutshell, Google Takeout is a way to download your data from your Google products. This includes everything from your Gmail account to your documents in Google Drive.

Takeout allows you to download everything in zipped up folders. Unlike Google Transfer, where you have to have another Google account to send files too, Takeout lets you hold on to everything on your computer (or wherever you download the zipped files to) as long as you need them. So you can upload them later once you get your new Google account elsewhere.

How to use Google Takeout to download your data

Note: Before going any further, I suggest you consider what information you're about to download. Information regarding your students or anything else confidential that your school district doesn't want you to take with you should probably be avoided. If you're uncertain, you should talk to an administrator.

So you're ready to begin? No worries, the process is pretty straightforward. Just head to takeout.google.com and sign in with the Google account you want to download data from.

On the next page, select which product(s) you want data from. If you want everything in your Drive, for example, just check the box next to Drive. However, there's likely some options you never actually used, so you probably just want to select exactly what you want.

Some common options most teachers will likely want to save include:

  • Chrome bookmarks

  • Contacts

  • Drive

  • Google photos

  • Mail

When selecting what you'd like to export, you're able to choose from various options on what sort of files you'd like to download. For example, when downloading Drive, you can select to have documents downloaded as Word files or PDFs. Drawings can be JPG or PDFs, and so on.

When you're ready, click "next step" and you'll be taken to a screen where you can select how you want your files delivered. You can choose to have the file delivered via:

  • email link

  • Drive

  • Dropbox

  • Onedrive

  • Box

You also have options for file type and size. The default type is .zip, but you can also get them delivered as .tgz. File size defaults to 2 GB. if files are larger, they're split into multiple files.

Once you've made your selections, click the "create export" button at the bottom of the page. And Google will begin creating your export. Depending on how much data you're downloading, it might take a while for the files to be ready. You'll get an email from Google when it's done.

Once you have the files, you can upload them to your new Google account, or keep them stored on your computer, Dropbox account, etc. until you need them.

What if I don't want to download everything in my Drive?

If you only want to get certain files or folders out of your Drive, that's no problem. Just open up Drive in your web browser and select the files or folders you want.

Then, click the More button (it looks like three vertical dots) and select Download. The files will download to your computer as a zip file.

You can also use this method to download specific Gmail messages or Google Calendar events.

Does Google Takeout delete my data?

Nope! When you use Google Takeout to download data from your Google account, it doesn't delete anything.

Your data will still be available in the original location, whether that's Drive, Gmail, or wherever else. The only difference is that you'll also have a copy of it saved on your computer (or other chosen destination).

What if I need to download my data again?

If you need to download your data again (maybe you accidentally deleted the files or your computer crashed), you can always go back to takeout.google.com and sign in with your Google account.

On the next page, you'll see a list of all the archives you've created. Just select the one you want and click the Download button.

I use Google products with other people. Can they download my data too?

Nope! When you create an archive with Google Takeout, only you can download it. That's because you have to be signed in with the Google account associated with the data you're trying to download.

So if you're using Takeout to download data from a shared Google Drive folder, for example, only you will be able to download the files. The other people who have access to the folder will still have access in Drive, but they won't be able to download a copy for themselves.

What if I need help with Google Takeout?

If you have any questions about using Takeout or run into any problems, you can head to the Help Center for more information.

If you're leaving your current district, there's no need to lose all the resources you've stored in your Google account. Just plan ahead and use Google Takeout to save it all!

About the Guest Blogger:

Scott Winstead is the founder of MyElearningWorld.com, where he has covered online education for the last decade.