Google Docs allows the document owner to have full access, including editing. But you might get concerned when you want to share it with others and whether they would or be able to edit it. Here’s how to make Google Docs view only.
Google Docs works online. In order to collaborate, you have to share it through links or attach their email addresses to share with. There’s no option to save the document and make it view only like Microsoft Word, although you can actually do it by doing more steps that are also explained in this post.
Thus, sharing the document is a practical way to collaborate. Others will simply get notified that you shared a document. When they open, they have access to the document in any way you want: view only, or edit.
You can also create a link to share the document view only as well. So there’s no need to manually type someone’s email to share the document with.
How to make Google Docs view only
Open the Google Docs document you want to make view only for others. Click the Share button at the top-right of your PC screen. By default, the document is private.
To make a view-only link, simply select Change at the Get link section.
Here, you can then select who can open the link, and what they can do with the Google Docs document you share. By default, it already selected Viewer. If not, select it to make it view-only. Click Copy link then click Done.
When you paste the link, anyone can open the link but only can view it. No one other than you can edit or comment.
Sharing the Google Docs document but view only
Other than through making links, you can attach their email addresses. To do that, click the Share button at the top-right. Type the email address you want to share the document with on the “Add people and groups” textbox.
Select Viewer to make it view only. Select Send to finally share the Google Docs document with that person. You can also add a message and choose whether you want to notify them.
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Now, you can see that person has access to view the document you share. Select Done.
When the person you share the Google Docs document with opens the document, they would see the Request edit access button, meaning they have to manually request to you if they want to edit the document.
You can then allow them to edit the document to approve their request or simply ignore it.
Another method: save it as DOCX, then make it read-only using Microsoft Word
This takes more effort, but perhaps worth it if you want to continue work and share the document using Microsoft Word.
To do that, simply select File. Select Download > Microsoft Word (.docx). Open Microsoft Word and open the document that has been downloaded.
Select Review and then Restrict Editing.
Check the “Allow only this type of editing in the document” on the Editing restrictions. Select No changes (read-only).
Select Yes, start enforcing protection. Enter a password so no one can switch this setting and make it editable.
Google Docs allows you to share documents but making them view only. This can protect your document from unwanted changes while allowing others to read it.