How to Allow Access to Google Docs

It's as simple as clicking the Share button, but there are other ways, too

What to Know

  • Click Share. Enter the collaborator’s name or email and click Send.
  • If you don’t know the person’s email, click Copy link to share the document with them directly.
  • Collaborator permissions can be set to Viewer, Commenter, or Editor.

Google Docs is designed with sharing in mind, but you can set different levels of access to narrow or widen the number of collaborators on a given document. This article explains how to add collaborators to a document and how to use Google Docs' various sharing options to grant access permissions to each user.

How to Give Access to Google Docs

All access permissions are handled through the Google Docs share settings. You can access the sharing menu through either your Google Drive or in the document directly.

  1. Open the document you’d like to share and click the blue Share button near the top-right corner.

    Share button in Google Docs

    Alternatively, open Google Drive and locate the document you want to share. Right-click the thumbnail and select Share.

  2. To add an individual collaborator, type their name or email address into the text box.

    Email address field in Google Docs share menu.

    If the person you’re sharing the document with is already in your contacts, the text box should autofill their name. Otherwise, you’ll need to enter their full email address in order to send a share invitation.

  3. Select an access level for the collaborator from the dropdown menu. You can change this at any time. 

    Editor highlighted in setting collaborator permissions in Google Docs.

    Google Docs lets you assign three different permission levels:

    Viewer: the user will only be able to view the document.

    Commenter: the user can view the document and leave comments.

    Editor: the user can edit the document directly.

  4. Click Send.

    Send in share invitation in Google Docs.

How to Give General Access to Google Docs

If you don’t know someone’s email address or simply want your document to be more widely available, you can also allow access by sharing a link to your document.

You can share Google Doc access with up to 100 people. If more than 100 people access a document, only the owner and users with editing permissions will be able to edit it.

  1. Open the document you’d like to share and click the blue Share button near the top-right corner.

    Share button in Google Docs
  2. Click Copy link.

    Copy link in Google Docs share settings.
  3. Share the link with whomever you like. You can send the link by email, text message, and more. 

    By default, Google Docs sets General access to “Restricted.” Under this setting, you’ll need to approve access to anyone who clicks the link.

    Link copied in Google Docs share settings.
  4. To change a document’s accessibility, click the down arrow next to Restricted under General access.

    Restricted access dropdown in Google Docs share settings.
  5. Select Anyone with the link. Any user who clicks on the link will no longer need your permission to open the document.

    Anyone with the link share setting in Google Docs.
  6. Set General access permission levels by clicking the dropdown menu to the right of Anyone with the link. You can set roles to Viewer, Commenter, or Editor.

    Setting collaborator roles in Google Docs share settings.

    Since anyone on the internet can now access your document if they have the link, it’s recommended you don’t put any private or sensitive information in the document.

How to Change Permissions on Google Docs

After adding contributors, you can modify their permissions at any time in the Share menu. Select the arrow to the right of their name and use the drop-down menu to change the access level to Viewer, Commentor, or Editor.

Additional options can be found under Share Settings:

  1. Click Settings (gear icon) in the top-right of the Share menu.

    Settings menu in Google Docs Share options.
  2. Set whether collaborators can change permissions, share the document, or download, print, or copy it by selecting the corresponding checkbox.

    Checkbox in advanced collaborator permissions in Google Docs.
  3. Google Docs saves your changes as soon as you make them.

  • How do I allow offline access on Google Docs?

    To use Google Drive offline, download and install the Google Docs Offline extension. To download your files to your computer for editing, install Backup and Sync for Google Drive.

  • How do I allow shared access to a Google Docs folder?

    To share a folder in your Google Drive, create a folder and go to My Drive > your folder > down arrowShare. Enter the recipients' emails or select Get link.

  • How do I allow Google Docs to access my microphone?

    To use voice typing in Google Docs, go to Tools > Voice Typing. Select the Microphone icon and start speaking.

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