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Google Drive represented the first user-friendly and free file storage system. This platform continues to add features to make it super easy to share and collaborate on the same document simultaneously. If spreadsheets represent the go-to document type for your team, then you’ll find the sharing and collaboration features in Google Sheets the most useful alternative.

For example, Google Sheets allows you to share only one tab, rather than the entire spreadsheet. You can also configure your Google Sheets permissions to restrict specific users from viewing, editing, or commenting. In this complete guide, you’ll learn how to make a Google Sheet public and how to create a Google Sheet to share with everyone. Additionally, you’ll find practical examples of how to share Google Sheets with all the available options; using links, via email, and depending on how many users you wish to grant access to.

How to share Google Sheets?

Many users choose Google Sheets as their preferred tool for online, simultaneous collaboration. Why? For the majority of cases, you simply need to click on the “Share” button.

However, it’s not always the case that you’ll share for collaborative purposes, so it’s important to understand the different sharing options in Google Sheets.

Google Sheets sharing options

There are two ways to share your Google Sheets: 

  1. 1. Via a shareable link.
  2. 2. Adding user emails. 

Since the second option will require further steps, let’s first see how to share your Google Sheet via a shareable link.

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  1. 1. Go to your Google Drive and right-click on the Google Sheets you’d like to share. Select “Get link” from the drop-down menu.
How to Share Google Sheets Complete Guide Right click
How to Share Google Sheets (Complete Guide) - Right-click
  1. 2. Alternatively, you can click on the “Share” button placed in the top-right corner.
How to Share Google Sheets Complete Guide Share button
How to Share Google Sheets (Complete Guide) - Share button
  1. 3. Go to the “Get link” box and click on “Copy link”.
How to Share Google Sheets Complete Guide Copy link
How to Share Google Sheets (Complete Guide) - Copy link

Once you have copied the link, you can paste it on any of the communication channels used with your team, whether it’s email or instant messaging. However, for them to be able to access the document, they need to have a Gmail account.

How to share your Google Sheet by adding the user email?

  1. 1. Click on the “Share” button placed in the top-right corner of your Google Sheets.
  2. 2. In the “Share with people and groups” setting box, click on the “Add people and groups” empty field. Start typing the email address of the user you’d like to share the file with. Click on the user email to add them to your permissions.
How to Share Google Sheets Complete Guide Add emails
How to Share Google Sheets (Complete Guide) - Add emails
  1. 3. Leave the “Notify people” box ticked, so they are notified via email about the shared Google Sheets.
How to Share Google Sheets Complete Guide Notify people
How to Share Google Sheets (Complete Guide) - Notify people
  1. 4. Enter a message in the “Message” space in case there is any additional information you’d like to add. Users will receive this message in the email body. Once you’re done, click “Send”.
How to Share Google Sheets Complete Guide Message
How to Share Google Sheets (Complete Guide) - Message

So far, you’ve seen the two ways of sharing a Google Sheet. Let’s now explore how it can be shared to allow for editing.

How to share Google Sheet and allow editing?

If you want to make your Google Sheets a fully collaborative spreadsheet, then you need to make sure that the shared document is editable. This is how you can share your Google Sheets and allow for editing.

  1. 1. Repeat steps 2-3 from How to share your Google Sheet by getting the link.
  2. 2. In the “Share with people and groups” setting window, click on the drop-down option next to each user email, then select “Editor” to grant editing rights to each user.
How to Share Google Sheets Complete Guide Drop down options
How to Share Google Sheets (Complete Guide) - Drop-down options

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How to share Google Sheets with everyone?

Note that “everyone” is usually understood as everyone within a group or organization. This sharing option is recommended for teams that have a workspace or shared Google Drive, where any document created in that shared Drive is accessible to everyone. This is how you can share your Google Sheets with everyone in your organization or group.

  1. 1. Repeat steps 2-3 from How to share your Google Sheet by getting the link.
  2. 2. In the “Get link” settings box click on the hyperlinked text, “Share with [name of your organization or group]”.
How to Share Google Sheets Complete Guide Hyperlinked text
How to Share Google Sheets (Complete Guide) - Hyperlinked text
  1. 3. Google will now prompt you to select among three options: “Restricted”, “[Your organization or group]”, and “Anyone with the link”. Select the “[Your organization or group]” option.
How to Share Google Sheets Complete Guide Select your organization
How to Share Google Sheets (Complete Guide) - Select your organization
  1. 4. At this point, you can change the editing permission for everyone in the organization by clicking on the drop-down menu option. Click on “Editor”.
How to Share Google Sheets Complete Guide Select Editor
How to Share Google Sheets (Complete Guide) - Select Editor
  1. 5. Now, everyone in your group can edit. To update the permission, click “Done”.
How to Share Google Sheets Complete Guide Click Done
How to Share Google Sheets (Complete Guide) - Click Done

If you’d like to change the permission back to restricted access to specific users, then change the option to “Restricted” in the “Share with people and groups” pop-up window where you added the emails.

How to make a Google Sheet public?

This sharing option is especially recommended in case you would like to make your Google Sheet public for users who don’t have a Google account. However, it’s recommended to set the Google Sheets to view-only or read-only to avoid unwanted changes and maintain data privacy. This is how to make a Google Sheet fully public.

  1. 1. Repeat steps 1-2 from the previous section.
  2. 2. Select “Anyone with the link” from the drop-down menu.
How to Share Google Sheets Complete Guide Anyone with the link
How to Share Google Sheets (Complete Guide) - Anyone with the link
  1. 3. Click on the permissions drop-down menu. Google displays the three options “Viewer”, “Commentor”, and “Editor”. Click on “Viewer” to only grant viewing or read-only rights.
How to Share Google Sheets Complete Guide Select editing rights
How to Share Google Sheets (Complete Guide) - Select editing rights
  1. 4. Once you finish, click “Done” to update the sharing permissions.
How to Share Google Sheets Complete Guide Click Done 2
How to Share Google Sheets (Complete Guide) - Click Done

How to share Google Sheets with Layer?

Layer is an add-on that equips finance teams with the tools to increase efficiency and data quality in their FP&A processes on top of Google Sheets. Share parts of your Google Sheets, monitor, review and approve changes, and sync data from different sources – all within seconds.

Using Layer, you can:

  • Share & Collaborate: Automate your data collection and validation through user controls.
  • Automate & Schedule: Schedule recurring data collection and distribution tasks.
  • Integrate & Sync: Connect to your tech stack and sync all your data in one place.
  • Visualize & Report: Generate and share reports with real-time data and actionable decisions.

Limited Time Offer: Sign up today and get free access to Layer, including all the paid features, so you can start managing, automating, and scaling your FP&A processes on top of Google Sheets!

Conclusion

Google Sheets provides possibly the fastest and easiest ways to share a file with others. This is precisely why it’s crucial to understand all the options available to optimize collaboration. Unless you don’t mind making your Google Sheets fully public and editable, it’s critical to be aware of what goes on in every step.

You should now know how to share a Google Sheet using any of the options, by getting the link and copying it to your preferred communication channel, or directly adding the users’ email in the Google Sheets sharing options. You have also seen the range of permissions available, from viewing to editing, depending on whether you wish to make the document fully public or restrict it to the email accounts in your organization.

Alternatively, you’ve seen how Layer can be used as a sharing and collaboration tool for Google Sheets and Excel. To learn more about Google Sheets and Excel collaboration features, these blog articles will be useful:

Hady ElHady
Hady is Content Lead at Layer.

Hady has a passion for tech, marketing, and spreadsheets. Besides his Computer Science degree, he has vast experience in developing, launching, and scaling content marketing processes at SaaS startups.

Originally published Jun 15 2022, Updated Sep 23 2022