Leaving Well with Google – updated!


[Editor note: We have updated this very important post from our previous 2013 version! The information below is current as of 6 May 2016.]

This is always a difficult time of year as we say “see ya later” to colleagues, students and families who are leaving our school. To make the transition a little easier, here are some ideas on taking your Google items with you.

The first step to make the transition is to create a personal Google account for yourself. This will become the new home for all the things you’d like to transfer from your account at UWCSEA.

To take things with you, we will use Google Takeout, but first it’s important to separate the things you want to leave behind from the things you want to take with you.

Google Drive

If you have any items you need to leave behind because they are needed by colleagues or friends, you’ll need to make sure that your department account is added as an editor of the document. An easy way to do this is to create a new folder and add the department account as editor to the folder. Then, Add (hold down Option+drag) documents to this folder. They will automatically be editable by the department account.

For really important documents, you might consider transferring ownership over to the department account.

You’ll also need to think about those files that you will want to take with you when you leave. One systematic way to do this is to create a separate folder in your My Drive where you collect these files (e.g. “Take Out” folder). As you go through documents in other parts of your Drive, add them to this “Take Out” folder — be sure you add and not move by holding down the Option key when you drag to your new folder.

Cleaning your digital debris can be a daunting task, but it’s necessary to make sure documents are left with those who depend on them, and that you have the documents you need when you depart.


Just like with Drive, you should take this opportunity to sort through your email. If there are emails that people in your department or team need that they have not been cc’d on, please take some time to filter these and forward them to the relevant people.

Similar to how you organized your Drive, in GMail you can create a label for all the email you intend to take with you. When you go to use Google Takeout later, you can then choose if you want to bundle all of your email into that archive, or if you’d just like to take email with a particular label.


    Before you leave, it’s important to make sure that the Google Sites you’ve created for UWCSEA that need to remain behind — e.g. event sites, curriculum pages, etc. — have ownership changed to your department account. 

    1. Go to the site you wish to transfer and click the Settings icon, then choose “Manage Site.”
    2. Click “Sharing and Permissions” and add the department account an “owner” of the site (you can have multiple owners of a site). Click “OK.”

    You may want to preserve some of the Google Sites you’ve created in the college and keep copies for yourself later. To do this, the steps are similar: 

    1. Go to the site you wish to transfer and click the Settings icon, then choose “Manage Site.”
    2. Click on “Sharing and Permissions” and make your personal Google account an “owner” of the site.
    3. Log in to your personal Google account and go to the address of the site you’re transferring. Again, go to “Manage Site” and from the “General” section, press the “Copy this Site” button. 
    This will make a copy of your UWCSEA site in your personal Google account space. 
    WARNING: linked or embedded assets like YouTube videos, Google Drive content, or images may be broken and need to be re-linked, embedded or uploaded.

    GMail, Blogger, Photos, YouTube, Google Drive, and more

    Content from a variety of Google services can be transferred using Google Takeout. This utility allows you to select what services you’d like to take data from and bundles them into open and portable formats that you can then transfer to your personal Google account. 
    For example, Takeout lets you download the original video from things you’ve uploaded to YouTube.
    Takeout allows you to specify folders you’d like to export from your Google Drive (you don’t have to take the whole thing). Note that you cannot export folders and documents from Drive where you are not the owner.

    Once you’ve selected all the services and specific data, you can click “Next” and Google will tell you it is preparing your archive and will email you when it is ready. It might take a few hours or a few days, depending on how much data you have, but eventually you will get a .zip folder with all of the files.  Double click the downloaded .zip folder to uncompress them. Using Google Chrome, log into your personal Google account and upload the entire folder to your new account.

    If you want more detail about this archive, or have questions about how to use Google Takeout, see this useful site from Google’s Data Liberation Front.

    We’re sad to see you go, but wish you all the best. Hopefully this will make it a little easier to enjoy your last few moments here and not worry so much about your Google goodies.

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    1. Seán McHugh says:

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