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Going Pro with Google Docs’ Links

Understanding Google Docs and Drive Links helps you to make more efficient use of your tools.

Understanding Google Doc Links

When you use Google Docs on a daily basis you find yourself working with long Google Docs links very often. These links are your entry point to using any Google Docs file and enable fast and easy access to them. And with some advanced knowledge on how to use them you can enhance your productivity immensely (and look cool while doing so). This post shall help you understand the individual parts of these links and enable you to update them to fit individual use cases.

Basics

Let’s check the basic structure of a Google Drive link, shall we?

Following is the link to the document I have written this post in:

docs.google.com/document/d/1cf0Rh8_WJo4k0Ckg5C3N0MyS-qwOeXnwLDcPUqHiPYE/edit#heading=h.cg1ltxxbleyz
  • From the docs.google.com part you can see that we are talking about a document rather than a folder or a drive (those are under drive.google.com).
  • The /document/ part tells you that it is a Google Doc rather than a Slide (/presentation/) or Sheet (/spreadsheets/).
  • We can ignore the /d/.
  • Next we see 1cf0Rh8_WJo4k0Ckg5C3N0MyS-qwOeXnwLDcPUqHiPYE. The document's unique identifier (ID). This is where the file lives. This always stays the same, even if you move the file from one Folder or Drive to the next.
  • Now we are at the fun part. We see /edit. It tells you that you are in the edit mode for this document. Here you can start changing the URL. See below for a list of possible options for this.
  • Finally you have the #heading=h.cg1ltxxbleyz. An optional and very useful part for long documents. If share the document with the #heading=* part you can link directly to a certain headline within this document. It automatically appears in your URL bar when your cursor is in a line formatted using a Paragraph Style for a Heading (1-6). So you should always use these different default headlines instead of manually editing the text size and making it bold 😉.
    • This part can also be a #bookmark=id.9mfmnk9489s6. These show up after you created a bookmark using the “Insert > Bookmark” feature in Docs.
    • Or it can be a #slide=id.g869a1fd359_133_1962 to indicate the slide you are on in Slides.
    • Finally it can be a #gid=1938428159&range=F1213:F1431 a link to a specific range in a Spreadsheet. Here the gid= part refers to the tab in the sheet and the &range= to the range on that tab (denoted as the columnLine connection (F1213:F1431) similar to how you select a range in formula)

Editing the Link

Let’s get to the fun part. The part where you can adapt and change the URL to your will and needs. As we have seen above you can change the last part of the URL (the one after the last /). Here are our options:

  • /edit: the default link when you are able to edit the document
  • /view: has no real use, it will redirect you to /edit. You can use it to show that you are only sharing viewing permissions.
  • /template/preview: This one is super helpful if you want to share a document with your co-workers that they should be able to preview before allowing them to make a copy. It will show a blue “Use Template” Button in the top right corner of the document.
  • /copy: Similar to the above one, but it won’t show a preview of the document. But it can be adapted to have a custom title while making a copy. See below.

 

We recommend you default to /template/preview if you just want to share a file so people can make a copy of it as this will let the user preview the document before deciding to make a copy. They may already have it or really don’t need it and this way they have the ability to see that without creating an actual copy of the document which they may need to (and forget to) delete.

/copy details

Using /copy you can define a couple of parameters for the copy. These are based on the real Create a Copy dialog. To define these parameters, you would need to start the first parameter with a ? and string all other parameters behind it with a &.

  • title=Drive+|+New+Name+is+Awesome — Use title to rename the file in the process. You need to replace Spaces with a +
  • copyDestination= — Use this part to define a destination folder for the copied file. If it’s not defined it will default to the users MyDrive.
  • copyCollaborators=true/false — This one is a boolean (meaning a true/false choice). You can define, if the file should be shared with the same people again.
  • copyComments=true/false — This one is a boolean (meaning true/false choice). It defines if you want to copy all comments over or not.
  • userstoinvite=”” — this is a comma separated list of email addresses to invite on the new document. These people should get Edit access.

The entire link can look like this:

/copy?copyCollaborators=false&copyComments=false&title=New+Research+Report&copyDestination=

Conclusion

Make your workplace more productive by using Google Docs links to your advantage: save time by linking to certain parts in long documents, or let your colleagues quickly create new documents based on a template you linked to in an email. Have fun linking!

G-Suite

Dominik Kugelmann

Dominik Kugelmann is a German entrepreneur, founder, and Chief of Vision of 22d consulting; a consultancy specialised in helping customers adapt to the future of work by making digital transitions a seamless process. Dominik is also a board member of HERMINE e.V. and very involved in organizations helping with the European refugee crisis. In their free time they like to spend time in the Bavarian mountains and ski! https://22dconsulting.com/

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