Google Workspace is a set of productivity and collaboration tools for the workplace. Google offers plans for businesses and organizations of all sizes, from individual solopreneurs to large global enterprises. Google also offers Google Workspace for Education, a set of Google services and tools for K-12 schools, homeschool co-ops, and higher-education institutions.

Formerly G Suite, Google Workspace is Google’s version of Microsoft 365 Business. Google Takeout is a free tool that allows for data migration from Google to another platform like Microsoft 365 or from one Google Workspace account to another. It also offers the option to transfer data to a few other cloud storage services or download it directly to a computer.

What data can Google Takeout migrate or export?

Takeout can transfer data from 54 Google products directly to another cloud storage service, such as OneDrive, Box, or Dropbox. You can also transfer your data to a new account or your Google Drive associated with your personal Gmail account if you intend to continue using Google’s services. If you’d rather download your data, you can use the Create export option to archive the data into ZIP files and download them to your local storage.

While Google Workspace has a dedicated Data Export tool similar to Google Takeout, it can only be accessed by a super administrator through the admin console. An admin typically uses it to transfer a user’s data, such as a former employee, from one account to another existing account in the same organization. You can also accomplish this with Google Takeout through export and import.

Google Takeout also allows users to download or migrate their data directly, but the option to use the app needs to be allowed by an administrator. If you don’t see the option to export your data, ask your admin to change permissions and allow you access.

We focus on using Google Takeout to migrate your data out of Google Workspace rather than the Data Export tool.

How to start your Google Workspace migration

Before you start, make sure Google Takeout is the right choice for you. If you only want to transfer or download a small amount of data from one Google app like Google Drive, consider moving your drive files manually. It will be easier to prevent data loss and ensure you retain options like sharing permissions and revision history.

Google Takeout is the better option when you want to migrate Google Drive data stored in several folders or data from multiple Google products like Gmail, Google Photos, Google Chats, and Google Play Store. First, you’ll decide what data you want and the file format you want it in. Different Google-specific file types, like Google Sheets or Docs, allow you to export to another file format like Microsoft Excel and DOCS or to more universal formats like PDF and CSV.

  1. Sign in to your Google account using your Gmail or Google Workspace account and go to takeout.google.com.
  2. You may not want to download data from every Google product. Click Deselect all and then check the boxes next to the data you want to export or migrate.
  3. Services that offer it have a button that says Multiple formats. Click this to make sure your files are in the format you want. You can only choose one format for each file type. For example, Google Docs can be exported as PDF or DOCX, not both.
  4. When you’ve scrolled to the bottom of the list and chosen what data you want to export, make sure your data is prepared for transfer before clicking Next step.

If you only have a small amount of data or are confident your data is ready for export, skip to Choose to transfer or download your data in Google Takeout. Google Takeout isn’t perfect, and we recommend reading on to make sure your data is ready before you start the transfer. This is especially true for data you have in Google Drive.

How to prepare your Google Drive data for Google Workspace migration

Your Google Drive data export will likely be your biggest headache if you don’t take the time to prepare your data first. Although the original files stay in your Google Drive when you create an export, there are some things you’ll want to know before exporting.

  • Recent changes aren’t included in your download archive. Plan a day to export your data. Choose a time when you aren’t making changes between when you request your download and when the archive is created. This is typically within 24 to 48 hours but could take days to complete.
  • Create a folder in My Drive specifically for the data you are working on. This way, you can guarantee that you download all the changes you make later because they are in one place. After receiving your Google Takeout export archive, you can download the folder directly from Google Drive.
  • Take a screenshot of your folder structure. Large folders can be split across multiple ZIP files in your download, and you must put them together manually. Mapping your data and having your folder structure on hand makes the task easier.
  • Check your file and folder permissions. You are granted access to restricted shared files through the account that the person sharing used initially. This is not transferred to a new account, and you will lose access to a ton of data if you delete your Google account after migrating your data. If you can’t request access to your new account, check Shared with me and select your Shared drives, then manually download or transfer the files you want to keep access to.
  • Copy the files you want to export to My Drive. Before requesting the archive, make sure that everything you want to export is in My Drive. If a file is in Shared with me and not My Drive, it won’t be included in your archive.
  • If you can’t take ownership of a shared file and can’t request access again, you can keep the file by manually downloading it or exporting it in a different file format like PDF. Alternatively, you can make a copy of the file because the copied file will be owned by you and no longer be shared. If all else fails and it’s a document or spreadsheet, use the copy and paste function and copy it to a new Doc or Sheet.

    Other issues to consider when using Google Takeout

    Labels in Gmail are not exported in a format header that other mail clients recognize. They are saved as X-Gmail-Labels headers, which can look messy even if you import your emails into a different Gmail account. If you have a lot of labels and sub-labels, you may want to consolidate them and get rid of the sub-labels. Another option is to use the Forwarding and POP/IMAP options in your Gmail Settings menu.

    Google Sites, Google Forms, Google Analytics, and other Google products can not be migrated using Google Takeout. For example, you’ll need to move your Google Analytics property from one account to another. Some features within Google products that Takeout supports don’t transfer, like Google Meet links, Video and audio conferencing links in events, and reminders in Google Calendar. You may lose metadata for some files created with Google products.

    The file size you choose for your archive export is important to understand. Exports larger than the selected file size are split into multiple files. For example, if you export 50GB of Google Drive data and have 2GB selected, you will receive 25 ZIP files. If you have folders in Google Drive that are larger than 2GB, the files within that folder will be split across multiple ZIP files, and you’ll have to piece them back together.

    If you have files larger than 2GB (like 4k videos, for example), select a larger file size. A few things to consider with larger file sizes is that some external drives have limitations on the size of the files you can transfer to them. This could be a concern if you plan to store your data on an external drive and leave it compressed in the format you downloaded it. Some older external hard drives, flash drives, and SD cards also have a file size limitation of 4GB when formatted in Fat32.

    Choose to transfer or download your data in Google Takeout

    Your data is set and ready to be exported, and you’re ready to take the next step, so click that Next step button. This is where you choose what you want to do with that data.

    1. Google Takeout asks you to Choose file type, frequency & destination. The default destination is Send download link via email. With this option, you’ll download your files and upload them to their destination.
    2. You can also have Google transfer your data to a different Google Drive or a cloud storage service like Dropbox, OneDrive, or Box on your behalf. If the destination is one of these services, click the drop-down menu to select it.
    3. Leave Export once selected for your Frequency, or choose automated exports every two months for a year.
    4. Choose your File type & size. Unless you are familiar with TGZ files, you can leave the default zip file selected. Click the drop-down menu that says 2GB to select a file size. We’ll choose 10GB to cover large files like 4K video.
    5. Click the Create export button. You’ll see an export progress message from Google and receive a confirmation email when your export is done.

    The file type and file size options are limited, and you may want to use the default ZIP archive file type unless you are familiar with TGZ file archives. Additional software is required to open TGZ files on Windows computers, but larger file sizes don’t have additional limitations like ZIP files.

    ZIP file archives have the advantage that they can be opened on almost any computer without additional software. When you choose a file size larger than 2GB, it is compressed using zip64, which may not work natively with older operating systems. Some third-party apps can be used to uncompress them, but it’s not built into the operating system.

    A data migration solution for small businesses (and big ones, too!)

    Google Takeout can be a decent solution to migrate your data out of Google Workspace if you don’t have a large business or institution. But if you have many employees and lots of data to store in Google products, you’ll need to use the admin export tools. Google Takeout can be incredibly helpful for individuals or small businesses that don’t have IT professionals.

    As long as you prepare before starting your export, you’ll be glad Google Takeout is straightforward. While downloading or transferring your data is easy, the hard part is putting it back together.

    Conclusion on How to use Google Takeout to migrate your data out of Google Workspace

    If you have any query let me know in comment section.