How to view Google docs anonymously

Google Docs is the pioneer of collaborators that ensures content never lost, changes always tracked, access it from anywhere and anytime. When you open any Google Docs document, your presence is marked by a little icon of your Google account at the top right corner of the document. But what if you want to view any shared Google Docs document anonymously? Even though there is no straight way to view Google Docs anonymously, you can try certain workarounds to go anonymous with an animal icon. Let’s see some of the ways to view Google docs anonymously.

Anonymous users Google Docs

Google Docs usually maintains a history of all edits made to a Google Docs document. But when users edit the document via public sharing, their identity remains anonymous, nevertheless of whether they’ve signed in to their Google Account or not. These users are called Anonymous users or Anonymous animals.

If anyone shares or opens your Google Docs document’s public sharing link, you may not track or see the names of people who view it.

  • People who you didn’t invite individually and just came up and viewing Google Docs document with public sharing link will show as anonymous animals.
  • People who you invite individually will show by name when they view or edit in your Google Docs document.

Anonymous animals 

If you are using Google docs, people within your domain will always show up by name when they view your Google Docs file. When you edit a shared Google Docs document, other collaborators can easily hover over your profile icon to see your name or profile. If you view Google Docs anonymously, then the icon displayed at the right of the Google Docs document will be “random animals”.

How to hide yourself on google docs?

If you are editing a publicly shared Google Docs document, anyone can see who you are and your profile information as well that could be quite uncomfortable and lead to problems. To hide yourself on Google Docs, you have to edit and share documents anonymously.

Edit Google Docs anonymously

You can anonymously edit your Google Docs document. There is no built-in option to hide yourself on Google Docs, but there are certain workarounds you can try to hide yourself on Google Docs.

How to hide name on google docs?

Google usually uses your Google account information to recognize you and show your profile icon in the list of editors at the top of the Google Docs document. If you log out of your Google account and then open up the shared Google Docs link, then Google won’t be able to recognize and attribute your profile information, and then you will appear as an anonymous animal icon instead.

Logging out from your Google account bridges a simple way to view Google Docs anonymously.

Google Docs Incognito

However, an easier way to do this is to simply use an incognito window to access the document. Google Docs incognito window is isolated by default from your current browsing session and does not use any stored cookies. If you open the shared Google Docs document link, Incognito mode will open the document without logging in with your Google account. In this way, you can hide yourself and go anonymous.

To go incognito,

  • Press Ctrl + Shift + n for Windows, Linux, or Chrome OS. 
  • Press ⌘ + Shift + n for Mac.

This is the most simple and efficient way to view Google Docs anonymously.

Share Google Docs anonymously

  • You can share your Google Docs document without revealing your Google account name and information and thus go anonymous. 
  • Open your Google Docs document and click on the “Share” button at the top-right corner.
  • When you click on the “Share” button, “Share with people and groups” screen appears.
  • Head over to the “Get link” section. Now you have to choose “Anyone with link” from the Visibility options.
  • To turn on the Link Sharing option, click on the inverted triangle “dropdown” icon next to the restricted option. Click on “Anyone with link”.
  • If you will give editing rights to the collaborators, then they can see the name of the person who made the last edit. So choose the “Viewer” option next t the “Anyone with Link” option.
How to view Google docs anonymously

You can now share the link by clicking “copy link” and share it with people. Now other people will be able to access your Google Docs document without the knowledge of who created the document.

Why does Google Docs Show anonymous?

Google docs show anonymous users of your Google Docs files. This means that someone you don’t know might be looking at your Google Docs file. Some of the predicted reasons are 

  • Your Google Docs file may be shared with a mailing list.
  • Your Google Docs file may be shared with someone who doesn’t have a Google Account or isn’t signed into thier Google account yet.
  • Someone who can edit your Google Docs file or has the link shared it with other people.
  • Someone who changed their Google Account name.

How to get rid of anonymous users on google docs?

The anonymous animals are simply people who are viewing your Google Docs without your permission. You can limit how people can view your Google Docs file. To remove them, just disable sharing via links and only share with specific people. 

To get rid of anonymous users on google docs, you have to stop sharing your Google Docs file in public to edit. You can do this in two ways.

  • Restrict link sharing for a file.
  • Prevent others from sharing files you own.

Restrict link sharing for a file

You can restrict the Google Docs link to only people added can open with this link using the “Restricted” option.

  • To do this, open your Google Docs document.
  • You can see “Private to only me” pop-over showing that your current Google Docs document is private by default when you hover over the blue colored “Share” button at the top right corner of your Google Docs document.
  • When you click on the “Share” button, “Share with people and groups” screen appears.
  • You can type the names of people from your contact list or the email addresses of people to share your Google Docs document.
view Google docs anonymously
  • Head over to Get link section. You have to change the “Anyone with link” option to “restricted” to change the visibility options.
  • To do this, Click change and select the inverted triangle “dropdown” option.
  • Select the “Restricted” option.
Anonymous users Google Docs

When you change the “Get link” setting to “Restricted”, the only people who can still see the file are those you have directly shared within the ‘Share with people and groups’ screen.

How to turn off anonymous on Google Docs?

From the above context, it is crystal clear that to turn off anonymous on Google Docs, all you have to do is change the sharing settings of your Google Docs documents from “Restricted” to either “Anyone with the link” or “Anyone on the web”.

Prevent others from sharing files you own

If you are sharing your Google Docs file with editing permissions, then anyone with edit permissions can change the sharing settings for the file that may lead to intrusion of anonymous users for your shared Google Docs file. To prevent others from sharing Google Docs files you own,

  • Click on “settings icon” at the right corner of the “Share with people and groups” screen.
  • “Share with people settings” screen appears that allows you to change people sharing settings. The two options are
    • Editors can change permissions and share
    • Viewers and commenters can see the option to download, print, and copy
Edit Google Docs anonymously
  • These two options are checked by default. To make Google Docs view only option, check out the two options.
Restrict link sharing for a file
  • This restricts your editors to change permissions and share. And the viewers and commenters can’t able to see the option to download, print and copy. This ensures to make Google Docs view only.

Here you go! You can now view any Google Docs documents anonymously published on the web as a “public sharing link” by simply following the above mentions workarounds.

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