Google Sheets has recently improved the options for collaboration, making it possible for multiple users to edit in real time. What’s more, Google Sheets permissions offer further customization within your files, allowing users to share only one tab or share data at the cell level. While this allows for greater flexibility, it can also lead to confusion, as there are multiple options to keep in mind when you share data in Google Sheets.
In this article, you will learn how to make your Google spreadsheets editable by multiple users, as well as how to add editors to specific sheets and ranges. As an alternative solution, Layer offers automated workflows that you can apply to your specific collaboration and sharing needs.
Google Sheets Edit permissions
There are three levels of permission that can be assigned to multiple users: “Viewer”, “Commenter”, and “Editor”. The “Viewer” role is the most limited in terms of permissions, as it only allows users to view the file. “Commentor” users can add and reply to comments, but it does not allow them to edit any of the content.
This article will focus on the “Editor” role, which allows users to add, modify, and delete the contents of the file. By default, editors can also change permissions and share the file, but this option can be unchecked in the Share settings (go to Add editors to file for more information).
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How to make Google Sheets editable?
There are many ways to allow others to edit your Google Sheets. Let’s begin by exploring how to add editors to your file.
Add editors to file
- 1. Click on the “Share” button, on the top-right corner of your Google Sheets.
- 2. As it is still a private file, you will be listed as the only user. Type in the names or email addresses of the people you want to add as editors.
- 3. You can select the “Edit” option from the drop-down menu, placed to the right of each user. Additionally, you can “Notify people” with default or a personalized message.
- 4. Click on the settings gear on the top-right corner of the pop-up shown above. You can also limit the “Editor” role by removing their ability to change permissions and share the file.
Add editors by creating a link
An alternative way to add editors is by creating a shareable link.
- 1. Click on the “Share” button, placed on the top-right corner of your spreadsheet.
- 2. At the bottom of the pop-up, click on the section “Get link”.
- 3. As shown below, the link is “Restricted” by default. Only people you have added to the file will be able to access this document using the link. Click on “Copy link” to share it.
- 4. You can also make your spreadsheet editable by anyone who has the link. Click on “Restricted” to display the options and choose “Anyone with the link”. By default, Google creates a link with permission to view. Click on the “Viewer” drop-down option.
- 5. From the drop-down menu, select “Editor”. When you share the link, any user set to “Editor” will be able to edit. This is not usually recommended as it could lead to unwanted changes or loss of data.
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Add editing permissions to specific sheets
In some cases, you may need a colleague to help you with a specific sheet, but they don't need to edit the whole spreadsheet. Let's have a look at how to editors to specific sheets.
- 1. Go to Data > Protected sheets and ranges.
- 2. In the “Protect sheets & ranges” pane, click on “+ Add a sheet or range”.
- 3. To protect a sheet, click on the tab to select it. Once you have selected the sheet, click on “Set permissions” to add the users who can edit your sheet.
- 4. Select “Show a warning when editing this range” to notify any user who attempts to edit the sheet. Select “Restrict who can edit this range” and “Custom” to select the users from the current spreadsheet. You can also add more editors by entering their names or emails. Click “Done” to save your changes.
Add editing permissions to specific ranges
In some cases, you may want to give editing access only for specific ranges, instead of a whole sheet. Let’s take a look at how to set permissions for a range of cells.
- 1. Go to Data > Protect sheets and ranges > Range > Add a sheet or range.
- 2. In the “Range” tab, select the cells you want and click on “Set permissions.”
- 3. You can choose whether to show a warning or restrict editing.
- 4. You can restrict editing to “Only you”, as above, or to a “Custom” list of users. With the “Custom” option, you can select users with existing access, or you can add more editors at the bottom.
More and more, spreadsheet users need to work collaboratively in real-time. This makes assigning and managing permissions in your spreadsheet more important than ever. As different editors will need to work in different areas, you will need to ensure that they have access only to what they need to edit.
As you have seen, it is now possible to make your Google Sheets editable in multiple ways. From adding editors to the entire spreadsheet to adding editors to specific cells, real-time collaboration in Google Sheets has certainly improved.
While this flexibility is very welcome, let's not forget it adds some complexity to managing access and permissions, which can lead to mistakes. If your spreadsheet contains sensitive information, make sure you test your permissions setup before sharing.
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