How to export data from Google Drive - information for students

Before you start

We strongly recommend that you:

  • use a laptop or desktop to download your files from Google Drive as you may lose data if you try to do it on a mobile device.
  • clean your Google Drive by deleting, removing or re-organising your files and folders.
  • add to your My Drive (within Google Drive) the files or folders in Shared with me that you want to keep (see Find files shared with you for further information).

Use one of the following methods to export your content from your University Google Account. You may also find this Epigram article (opens in new tab) useful for further guidance.

Use this method to export content to your University of Bristol OneDrive.

1. Create an archive of your University Google Drive data

Google's online Takeout tool will make it quick and easy for you to archive your files and export them to your University OneDrive for Business, or a personal file storage (e.g. OneDrive, Dropbox).

  1. Sign in to Google Takeout (opens in new tab) with your University Google account (i.e.
  2. In the Select data to include screen, click SELECT NONE to deselect all options and then select Drive from the list (feel free to select other products if relevant, e.g. Contacts, Google Photos).
    Takeout screenshot 1, select data to include
  3. Change the default settings to your preference if you want:
    Takeout screenshot 2, set export preferences
    1. Historical versions: select this option to keep the version history of all exported files.
    2. Files and folders: by default all files and folders will be exported, but you can pick and choose which you want to export and exclude others.
    3. File formats: by default Google Docs, Sheets and Slides files will be converted to Microsoft Office formats (i.e. Word, Excel and PowerPoint) and Drawings to JPEG. You can change to a different format (e.g. PDF, OpenDocument, RTF, PNG) if you want.
      NOTE: to export Forms responses, you must make sure that they have been saved in a Google Sheets spreadsheet first.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and select Next.
  5. In the Customise archive format screen, change the default settings if you want:
    Takeout screenshot 3, customise archive format
    1. File type: the default .zip is the recommended format.
    2. Archive size (max): we recommend you set it to 50GB to avoid your archive being split into multiple files below this size.
    3. Delivery method: to export your files to your University OneDrive, keep the default delivery method Send download link via email - unfortunately the Add to OneDrive option does not work for OneDrive for Business users. You can also export to a non-University file store using one of the other options (i.e. Add to Drive, Add to Dropbox and Add to Box).
  6. Click CREATE ARCHIVE – wait while your archive is being created; depending on the amount of data in your account, this may take anything from a few minutes to several hours:
    Takeout screenshot 4, preparing the archive
  7. Once your archive has been successfully created, click on DOWNLOAD – you may be prompted to enter your password again.
    Note that a link to the archive will also be sent to your email address.
    Takeout screenshot 5, download the archive
  8. When prompted to save your archive file, make a note of the name – it begins with takeout-yyyymmdd and has the extension .zip (e.g, make sure Save File is selected and press OK. Normally it will be saved in your Downloads folder.

2. Extract the archive

  1. Open File Explorer > Downloads, locate the file, right-click on it and select Extract All... > Extract - by default it will also be extracted in the Downloads folder as takeout-xxx.
    NOTE for Mac users: the archive is saved as Takeout in the Downloads folder.
    Takout screenshot, Extract Takeout archive in File Explorer
  2. Open the Takeout folder to find the Drive sub-folder containing all your converted Google Drive files.
  3. Upload Drive to your University of Bristol OneDrive. Either:
    • sign in to your UoB OneDrive online and upload it - select Upload > Folder > in File Explorer, select Downloads > Takeout-xxx > Takeout > Drive > Upload; alternatively, drag and drop it from File Explorer.
    • if you are on Windows 10, open File Explorer, and drag and drop it to OneDrive – University of Bristol.
    • if you use a Mac computer and have the OneDrive sync client for Mac, open Finder and drag and drop the Drive folder (in Downloads > Takeout) to OneDrive - University of Bristol.
    NOTE: Depending on the size of your Google Drive, this may take anything between a few minutes and a few hours or more.
  4. Optionally, you may want to rename Drive to something more meaningful, like Google Drive - Migrated, or Google Drive Archive.

See Download your data (opens in new tab) for more information.

3. Sync your OneDrive files to your device

The new OneDrive sync client lets you sync files from your OneDrive for Business in the cloud and your device.

This means you can access your synced files directly from File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac). In addition, OneDrive Files On-Demand makes it easy to download files locally as and when you need them (e.g. when you are planning to work on a document while offline) without having to download all of them and use storage space on your device.

Note that if you are using Windows 10, the OneDrive sync client is pre-installed, otherwise you will need to install it manually. Refer to the links below for further guidance.



Use this method to transfer your Google Drive content to another Google Account. If you want to export anything else (e.g. photos, contacts, etc.) create a downloadable archive of your data using Google Takeout and upload it to your other Google Account.

  1. Sign in to Google Transfer (opens in new tab) with your University Google account (i.e. and follow the steps in the form.
    Google Transfer screen
  2. Step 1 Enter a destination account: enter the email address of the Google Account to which you want to move the data (or create a new one if needed), and click SEND CODE.
  3. Using a different browser (or a private browser window), log in to your destination Gmail account and open the Verifying your account email. Click the Get confirmation code button. A new tab will open with the code: select and copy it.
  4. Step 2 Verify the destination account: go back to your University Google Account Transfer window and paste it. Click Verify.
  5. Step 3 Select content to copy and transfer: check the the details are correct (note that the option to transfer emails is disabled) and click START TRANSFER.

See Copy content from your school account to another account (opens in new tab) for further information.