8 min read

Admin's guide to managing doc transfers

Admin best practices to keep docs alive after someone leaves your company.

Some features mentioned are only available on the Enterprise plan.

Avoid disruptions when changes occur.

As an Org admin, one of your responsibilities is to ensure that when doc owners leave the organization, their docs get quickly transferred to a new maker. This is important because when a maker is deactivated, their docs will become read-only and inoperable for everyone at your company until they are transferred to a new owner.
What you’ll get:
  • Options for handling transfers.
  • Considerations that impact transferring docs.
  • Steps to transfer docs.
What you'll use:
  • Org admin settings (Enterprise only)
  • SCIM (Enterprise only)
  • Workspace admin settings

What you need to know.

  • Docs will become read-only after a user is deactivated or de-provisioned via SCIM.
    • Read-only means that the doc becomes unusable for anything other than viewing. If updating the doc is a key part of a team’s process, a read-only doc can severely impact team execution.
    • Even better, you should have the owner transfer docs before they leave.
  • All public docs (docs in public folders) or docs that were shared with at least one other person will be available to be transferred.
    • Non-transferrable are docs owned by this removed user that are not shared with anyone. These docs will be deleted instead of transferred. Please reach out to support if you are on an Enterprise plan and want to transfer instead of deleting these private docs.
  • When you are transferring a doc to a new owner they will need to be (or will become) a Doc Maker.
  • Refresh yourself on our best practices for managing makers

A walkthrough from our Customer Success Team

1. Two effective options for handling document transfers.

When choosing who to transfer docs to, admins have two options: transferring the docs in bulk, or transferring the docs one by one. Each option has pros and cons. Let's dive in.

Transfer in bulk.

This is the option most admins opt for. If transferring in bulk, we typically recommend transferring to a team lead or manager who can then find the appropriate permanent owner for the doc (if it’s not them). Learn how.


  • Quickest method.
  • A team lead or manager is likely to be familiar with the doc and it’s processes, and so they should be able to determine the appropriate long-term doc owner.


  • There may be docs with sensitive information that shouldn’t be made visible to the team lead or manager.
  • If the team lead or manager is not familiar with Coda, there may be a learning curve for them to properly own the doc.

Transfer one by one

If no single point of contact makes sense to own all of the docs or some docs shouldn’t be transferred, you can transfer docs one by one as the admin. With this method, you will decide on the appropriate new owner(s) by looking at member roles/activity or reviewing doc ownership requests via the org admin settings. This is a good option if you are familiar with the team or process the doc is about. If not, we recommend option #1. Learn how.


  • More discrepancy in what docs and information get transferred, and to whom. This is important if there is sensitive information within the docs.


  • Can take a longer time to go through every doc, leaving docs in a read-only state for longer.
  • If you aren’t familiar with the individual or team, you may be uncertain as to who the best owner is.
Coda Tip
If you (the admin) are a Doc Maker, you can first make yourself the doc owner to prevent the docs from being read-only. Then, you can take your time in making the appropriate transfer.

2. Checklist for transferring docs.

  1. If the current doc owner is still with the company, we recommend they transfer the docs themselves, as they will be most knowledgeable as to who the doc should be transferred to. Doc owners should follow these steps to prepare the doc for transfer and execute the transfer.
  2. If the current doc owner has already left, you as the admin will need to transfer docs on their behalf. You can transfer docs one by one or do a bulk transfer following the steps mentioned above.
  3. Send the New doc owner checklist to the new doc owner(s). This checklist will guide them through becoming familiar with the doc, and reconfiguring any potentially broken integrations and/or automations.

3. Managing doc transfer requests

If a user departs without transferring their docs, Doc Makers on their team can request to become the doc owner. As an admin, you have the ability to approve or deny these requests. Learn more here.

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