Monday, February 23, 2015

How To Force a Copy of a Google Doc

You probably know you can share a Google Doc with varying levels of privilege. The default setting is “Can Edit,” but there are two other settings, as well:


Those are great, but what if you need to share a Doc (or Sheet, or Slide) in a way that will let the other person(s) view only, but also optionally make a copy for themselves? You can tell them to click File > Make a Copy…




… but you know someone will eventually not understand that, and have issues with that step.


What if there was a way to force them to copy the Doc before they could even see it… maybe with a special link that will take them to a page that looks something like this:




Funny thing is, this little trick so so easy, you will wish you had thought of it first. All you need to do is:


  1. Share the Doc (via the button, in any context: editing, commenting, or just viewing) with the person on the other end, and then copy the link in your browser address bar.


  1. Look for the word “edit” at the end of the URL:


https://docs.google.com/document/d/11V9qEndTXVmnVEvtZMRk0cQefcdF5TxwqFQSvVlIcjE/edit


  1. Replace it with “copy,” and send that to them:


https://docs.google.com/document/d/11V9qEndTXVmnVEvtZMRk0cQefcdF5TxwqFQSvVlIcjE/copy


BOOM - it really is that easy!

NOTE: Have you ever seen a long URL link the ones above in an email message, and it didn't work when you clicked on it? That's usually because part of the URL was wrapped down to the line below it, breaking the valid link. A great way to avoid that is to shorten the URL via a tool like bitly.com.
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