Share Your Google Sheets

If you’re working on a collaborative project with other people, Google Sheets offers several ways to share your data online, even with people who do not own a Google account. When you create a new Sheet, its default setting is private, meaning only you can view or edit its contents. In this section, you’ll learn how to expand those options using the Share button.

  1. Log into your Google Drive account, click the New button, select Google Sheets, and create a blank spreadsheet. You will need to name your file to proceed with next steps.

  2. Click the Share button in the upper-right corner, and your options will appear on the Share with people and groups screen, as shown in Figure 3.7.

  3. In the top half of the screen, you can share access with specific individuals by typing their Google usernames into the Add people and groups field. For each person or group you add, on the next screen select the drop-down menu to assign them to be Viewer, Commenter, or Editor of the file. Decide if you wish to notify them with a link to the file and optional message.

  4. In the lower half of the screen, you can share access more widely by clicking on Change to anyone with the link. On the next screen, the default option is to allow anyone who has the link to View the file, but you can change this to allow anyone to Comment on or Edit it. Also, you can click Copy link to paste the web address to your data in an email or public website.

Click the Share button to grant access to individuals (top half) or anyone with the link (bottom half).

Figure 3.7: Click the Share button to grant access to individuals (top half) or anyone with the link (bottom half).

Tip: If you don’t want to send people a really long and ugly Google Sheet web address such as:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1egX_akJccnCSzdk1aaDdtrEGe5HcaTrlOW-Yf6mJ3Uo

then use a free link-shortening service. For example, by using our free Bitly.com account and its handy Chrome browser extension or Firefox browser extension, we can paste in a long URL and customize the back-end to something shorter, such as bit.ly/reader-survey, as shown in Figure 3.8. If someone else has already claimed your preferred custom name, you’ll need to think up a different one. Beware that bit.ly links are case-sensitive, so we prefer to customize the back-end in all lower-case to match the front-end.

Use a free link-shortening service, such as Bitly.com, and customize its back-end.

Figure 3.8: Use a free link-shortening service, such as Bitly.com, and customize its back-end.

Now that you have different options for sharing a Google Sheet, let’s learn how to upload and convert data from different formats.