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Get Started: Transition from CommonView to Google Sites

This tutorial walks you through creating and editing a Google Site and sharing that site with people you choose. Google Sites is a part of Google Drive. You can review Google Drive best practices here.

Should I create a new or classic Google Site?

screenshot of user interface in Google Sites where you choose to create a classic or new site


Classic Google site New Google site
UW-IT recommends using a Shared UW NetID for ownership of classic Google sites. Can be created using a Shared UW NetID or located within a Google Team Drive for shared ownership.

Security and Access

Both the “Classic” and “New” Google Sites allow you to limit access to the site and share content with only people you choose based on email address or UW Group. This allows you to create a limited group of participants who can access materials, without being granted editing access to the site.

Classic Google site  New Google site
permission settings by group types


There are technical differences between the two platforms that may be of interest to advanced users. The following article describes those key differences:

Create a Classic Google Site

  1. To access Google Sites, open a new tab in your browser and go to (If you have multiple Google accounts, make sure you are logged into your UW Google account.)
  2. In the upper right corner of the screen, click the gray grid and then click Sites.
    Google tools that appear after you click the gray grid on the top right of the screen of a Google page
  3. This opens a new screen where you can create a Google Site. Near the top left of the screen, click Create and then click classic Sites.
    After you click Create, click in classic Sites
  4. By default, Blank Template is selected. To proceed with the default blank template, under Name Your Site, enter a name for your site. The name you enter will be added to the URL for the site location. This is the URL you will share with others to give them access to your site.
    Optional. To explore templates, browse the gallery, which includes shared templates from users at the UW and around the world.
  5. Optional. To add a pre-made color/style design to your site, select a theme. To the left of Select a theme, click the arrow.
  6. When you are ready to create your site, near the top left of the screen, click Create.
  7. When you have created the site, it will appear in your list of sites. To return to your site at any time, click the gray grid and then click Sites (as you did in step 2, above). You will see a page similar to this one:
    list of Google Sites created by or shared with user, including newly created site

Edit a Classic Google Site

Now that you have created a site, you can add pages, written content, files, images and more.

  1. To navigate to your site to edit it, click the gray grid, and then click Sites. This takes you to your list of Google sites. (If you have multiple Google accounts, make sure you are logged into your UW Google account.)
  2. Click the name of the site you want to edit.
  3. To edit your site, in the upper right corner, click the pencil icon.
    Google site home page, with edit button (pencil icon) highlighted.
    Clicking the pencil icon opens the text editor and makes available the Insert, Format, Table and Layout menus.text editor and Insert, Edit, Layout and Formatting menus
  4. Remember to click Save frequently as you add content and design your site layout.

Share a Classic Google Site

When you are creating your site, you are the only person who can see it. Once you have created and edited your site, you can share it with others. You can grant access to the entire site or set page-level permissions.

Grant access to the entire site

  1. In the upper right corner of the screen, click Save.
    Google site home page with Share button highlighted
  2. To share access to the entire site with specific UW NetIDs, under Link to share, copy the highlighted link and send to collaborators that you choose. Sharing screen, with URL field and other options for sharing a Google site
  3. If you prefer, you can set availability in a more global fashion. In the Who has access section of the screen, to the right of Private – Only you can access, click Change. The following screen appears:
    permission settings by group types

Set page-level permissions

  1. If necessary, repeat steps 1 and 2 in the previous procedure.
  2. Near the top of the screen, click Enable page-level permissions. The following dialog box appears:
    page level permissions dialog box
    Note: We recommend following Google’s advice to read their getting started guide before using page-level permissions.
  3. Click Turn on Page-Level Permissions. This image shows the settings available for the page called “Cruelty-Free Zone.”
    dialog box for setting page-level permissions