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 and go anonymous on Google Docs.

How to view Google docs anonymously? You can follow the below steps to go anonymous on Google Docs in an easy way

  1. Open the incognito window.
  2. You can also press Ctrl+Shift+N or Ctrl+Shift+P keyboard shortcuts to open the incognito window.
  3. Open the document in the same incognito window and you should able to see yourself as Anonymous now.

Or, you can also follow the below steps

  1. If you are using Mozilla Firefox: You can Right-click on the document link -> then, Open Link in New Private Window.
  2. In case you are using Google Chrome: You can Right-click on the document link -> then, Open Link in New Incognito Window.

Still, there are multiple ways to go anonymous on Google Docs or to appear as an “anonymous animal” on Google Drive which we will discuss below in detail.

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 or Google Docs anonymous animals or even you can be called Google Docs anonymous.

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 are trying to edit a shared Google Docs document, the other collaborators can find your profile or even your name by hovering over your Profile icon. 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 trying to edit a publicly shared Google Docs document, any person can find who are you and your profile information as well which could be quite uncomfortable and lead to problems. To hide yourself on Google Docs, you have to edit and share documents anonymously.

How to Edit Google Docs anonymously

You can edit your Google Docs document anonymously. 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?

To find you and show your profile icon in the editor’s list at the top of the Google Docs document, Google does it by using the information about your Google account. Google won’t be able to find you and show your profile information when you will log out from your Google account and then open up the Google Docs shared link, and now, in this scenario, you will find yourself as an anonymous animal icon.

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

Google Docs Incognito

For this, you can simply use an incognito window to access the Google Docs document as the incognito window doesn’t use cookies and won’t carry the details of your current browsing session. If you open the shared Google Docs document link, Incognito mode opens your Google Docs document without logging in to your Google account or Gmail 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.

How to share Google Docs anonymously

  • You can share your Google Docs document without revealing your Google account details and even name thus go anonymous. 
  • Open your Google Docs document and then click on the “Share” button that is present at the top-right corner.
  • When you click on the “Share” button, the “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 able to see that specific Person’s name who has done the last edit. So choose the “Viewer” option next t the “Anyone with Link” option.
How to view Google docs anonymously
how to be anonymous on google docs

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 their 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.

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 a “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, the “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
how to make yourself anonymous on google docs
  • 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 the intrusion of anonymous users for your shared Google Docs file. To prevent others from sharing Google Docs files you own,

  • Click on the “settings icon” at the right corner of the “Share with people and groups” screen.
  • The “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
how to go anonymous on google docs
  • 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
how to appear anonymous on google docs
  • 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.

How do I know if I am anonymous on Google Docs?

You will have to follow the below steps

Open the document in a private or incognito browser session and if you are using Mozilla Firefox then Right-click the document link and then Open the Link in a Private window.

Why do I show up as anonymous on Google Docs?

The main point here is, if you are editing a document, Behind the scene, Google Docs keeps a history of all the edits made to the document. If you are logged in with your Google account then Google Docs will register your name and if you are not logged in then Google Docs will register your comments and suggestions under “Anonymous”.

How do you not show up as anonymous on Google Docs?

You need to share the document only with the people those are having Google accounts and then you will their avatars instead of anonymous.

Can you see who viewed your Google Doc?

Yes, you can see when your file was viewed last time and by whom. The first thing to note down here is you must have Edit access for the document or file to see the Activity Dashboard data details. You need to click on the Tools and then click on the Activity dashboard option.

How do I view history in Google Docs?

You need to follow the below steps to view history in Google Docs.

Open the Docs and then navigate to the Settings and now find the Activity Dashboard and then toggle off the “Show your view history.” option.

How can I see who edited a Google Doc?

Follow the below steps to see who edited a Google Doc.

Open the Document. Click on the File version See version history at the top. In the right panel click a timestamp to see an earlier version of a file. You can see who has edited and the changes they made.

Can you see how many times a Google Doc has been viewed?

You need to click on the Discussions button. Once you click on that, you can able to see a Document Stats link, which will open up graphs stating exactly the number of views over the last seven days. In fact, It’s a new feature rolled out by Google recently.

Can you see edit history on Google Docs?

You can check the edit history on Google Docs by following the below steps.

To check the edit history on Google Docs, Open the document and then navigate to the “Version History” menu.

Can you delete edit history on Google Docs?

The way to delete the version history is to make a copy of the document or the sheet. But for a very old document or if there are many changes to the document the version may be combined with the version history but they won’t disappear or removed.

How to view Google docs anonymously from the Docs App

Well, it’s quite easy to view Google Docs anonymously from the Google Docs App using the below simple steps.

  1. Open the Docs app on your mobile.
  2. Tap on the Google Docs document that you want to open and then tap on the Edit (pencil) icon that is present at the bottom right of your mobile screen.
how to view Google docs anonymously on Android

3. Tap on the three dots from the top right corner.

how to be anonymous on google doc app

4. Now, tap on the Share & Export option.

how to be anonymous in google docs from the docs app

5. Tap on the + Share option.

how to view a google doc anonymously from the app

6. Select someone who has access section.

how to view a google doc anonymously from the Google Docs app

7. Tap on the Change option from the Link Settings section.

how to edit google docs anonymously from docs app

8. Change the option to the “Anyone on the internet with the link can view” option.

how to edit google docs anonymously from Google docs app

9. Tap on the back arrow to go back to the previous screen.

how to edit google docs anonymously from the Google docs app

10. Then tap on the Cross (X) option as shown below.

how to edit anonymously on google docs from the app

11. Now tap on the three dots from the top right –> then tap Share & Export option –> tap on the Copy link option.

how to change anonymous on google doc app

12. Now, open your browser on your mobile and make sure that you have not logged in to your Google account on the browser –> Paste the link to open on your browser, to paste the link on your browser tap and hold –> then tap on the Paste option.

how to change anonymous on google docs app

Now, you can able to view and edit the document anonymously by tapping on the Pencil icon on your mobile.

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Wrapping Up

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. So as part of this article, you have learned the topics i.e how to view Google docs anonymously, the instruction that needs to be followed to be anonymous in Google Docs and now you are ready to hide yourself on Google Docs.