Thursday, April 21, 2016

Force a Copy of a Google Doc

There are times when you need to give your students - or maybe even your colleagues - a copy of a Google Doc.  Perhaps it is a template they need to fill out or some other type of assignment or plan that they need their own copy of so they can edit it and make it their own.  Rather than asking them to go in and go to File-->Make a copy, you can edit your link so that it will prompt them to make a copy as soon as they click on the link.

All you need to do is change your sharing settings so that the person will be able to have "view" access to the file.  You can do this by clicking on the blue "Share" button on the top right corner of your document.

If you are doing this for just a few people, type their names in and their accounts will pop up for you.  Here is the difference - be sure to click on the "Advanced" link at the bottom of the sharing settings window.

Clicking on "Advanced" will add some new options to the window.  Be sure to uncheck the box that says to "Notify people" - you don't want them to get an email letting them know you shared the file with them.  You want them to click on the link you are going to send them separately.  Once you've unchecked the box, you can click on the blue "OK" button to save the changes.

​If you are sharing with a whole class or a large group of people - the easiest way to accomplish the correct sharing privileges is to click on the blue "Share" button and then click "Advanced" just like I showed above.  You'll notice it says the access is set to Private - Only you can access.  You'll see a blue "Change" link just to the right.  Click on that.

Change the link sharing to be "Anyone at [your organization] with the link" and be sure the access level is set to "Can view".  (This will only work if you are sharing with people who all have email addresses belonging to your organization.  If you are sharing outside your organization, choose "Anyone with the link" instead.) Then click the blue "Save" button.  Sharing this way won't notify anyone via email.  It will just allow anyone with an organization email address to have view only access to the file - but only if they have the link.

Whether you shared with a few specific people, or anyone at your organization, once you click "Save" it will go back to the general sharing options window.  You will see that it now shows the access you just selected.  At the top of the window will be the URL link you need to copy and paste to give to whomever you wish to share the file.  Once you have copied the URL you can click the blue "Done" button.

Now is where we edit the link so that it will prompt people to make a copy instead of taking them into the file.  You'll want to make a hyperlink for your students or colleagues to click on so they can see a phrase of your choice as the link instead of the ugly URL - if you need instructions on making a hyperlink - click here to see how.

When you paste your URL into the hyperlink it will look something like this:

Near the end of the URL you will see "/edit" with some other text after it.

Delete everything after the / and change it to say "copy".

That's it!  Now when some one clicks on the link - it will take them to this screen - prompting them to make a copy of your document.  When they click "Make a copy", it will make a copy, save the file to their Google Drive, and allow them to begin editing their own copy of the document.

This can come in very handy to avoid any confusion when people need a copy of your Google Docs.

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