10 Ways to Collaborate & Share in Google Sheets

Last Updated on January 9, 2024 by Jake Sheridan

In this guide, you will learn all about collaborating and sharing in Google Sheets.

Google Sheets makes sharing files pretty simple.

It also allows for multiple people editing the same file in real-time.

How to Share Google Sheets (Quick Method)

To share your spreadsheet with specific people, follow these five steps:

  1. Open the sheet you want to share (that you own or have edit access for).
  2. Click Share in the top right.
  3. Enter the email addresses you want to share with.
  4. Choose the kind of access you want to give (edit, comment, view).
  5. Click Send.

10 Ways to Collaborate & Share in Google Sheets

Looking for more ways to work as part of a team in Google Sheets?

Below you will find step-by-step instructions for sharing Google Sheets.

1. How to share a Google Sheets spreadsheet or workbook

When working on a Google Sheets document, you may find the need to share your work to collaborate with other users.

Google Sheets makes it easy for you to share spreadsheets for others to view, comment, and edit.

Here’s how you can share a Google Sheets spreadsheet that you own to other users.

Step 1

First, open the Google Sheets spreadsheet or workbook that you want to share.

You can do this by navigating to the Google Sheets homepage, and then searching for the specific spreadsheet you want to share.

Step 2

Once your spreadsheet is open, look for the Share button.

This is typically located in the top right corner of the screen.

Step 3

In the sharing settings dialog box that appears, you can type the email addresses of the people you want to share the spreadsheet with.

As you type, Google Sheets may suggest contacts from your Google contacts list.

Step 4

For each person you add, you can set specific permissions.

Choose whether each person can view, comment, or edit the spreadsheet.

This determines how much access they have to your spreadsheet.

Once you’ve added all the email addresses and set the permissions, click the “Send” button.

This will send an email to each person you’ve invited, providing them with a link to access the spreadsheet.

2. How to get a shareable link

If you prefer not to send invitations via email, you can also share the spreadsheet by generating a shareable link.

You can attach this shareable link to your own email drafts or through other communication channels.

Here’s how to get a shareable link of a Google Sheets document:

Step 1

Open the spreadsheet you want to share in Google Sheets.

Ensure you have the necessary editing permissions for this document.

Step 2

Click on the Share button on the top-right corner of the Google Sheets interface.

Step 3

In the Share dialog box, adjust the share settings by either adding emails in the provided input box or by editing the General access options.

Once you’ve adjusted the share settings, click on Copy link to copy a shareable link of your document to your clipboard.

Step 4

Hit Ctrl+V (Windows) or Cmd+V (Mac) to paste the shareable link to your preferred document.

The shareable link can be placed in any document that supports hyperlinks, such as emails, PDF, websites, or even another Google Sheets document.

3. How to share multiple Google Sheets files

Here’s how you can share multiple Google Sheets files to one or more users.

Step 1

Open Google Drive by going to drive.google.com in your web browser.

Sign in with your Google account if you’re not already logged in.

Step 2

Locate the folder containing the Google Sheets documents you want to share.

You can use the search bar at the top to find the file by name or browse through your folders.

Select all the files you want to share with other users.

Click on the first file you want to select. Hold down the ‘Ctrl’ key and click on each additional file you wish to select.

If you want to select a group of files that are listed consecutively, click on the first file, then hold down the ‘Shift’ key and click on the last file in the group.

Step 3

Right-click on the files and select Share > Share from the context menu.

Step 4

In the Share N files dialog box, enter the email addresses of the people you want to share the file with.

You can choose to notify these users through an email by checking the Notify people checkbox.

You may also assign the permission levels of these users by using the dropdown editor.

For this example, we’ll give them Editor access.

Click Share to proceed.

Step 5

After sharing, you can manage or revoke access at any time by selecting these files again, clicking the Share option, and then adjusting the settings in the pop-up dialog box.

We can click the Remove access option to revoke the user’s access to the document if needed.

4. How to amend sharing settings for a person or group for a Google Sheets spreadsheet

To amend sharing settings for a person or group for a Google Sheets spreadsheet, follow these steps:

Step 1

Open the Google Sheets file for which you want to change the sharing settings.

Step 2

Once your spreadsheet is open, click on the “Share” button, located in the top right corner of the screen.

This action opens the sharing settings for the spreadsheet.

Step 3

In the sharing settings panel, you will see a list of people and groups who currently have access to the spreadsheet.

Find the person or group whose settings you want to amend.

Step 4

Next to the person or group’s name, you will see a dropdown menu indicating their current permission level (e.g., Viewer, Commenter, Editor).

Click on this dropdown to change their permission level.

You can choose to give them more or less access depending on your needs.

Step 5

After adjusting permission levels, click the Save button to apply these changes to your document.

The individuals or groups will now have the amended access you set.

5. How to provide a link to a specific sheet (tab) in your Google Sheets workbook

When sharing a Google Sheets document with multiple tabs, you may want to create a shareable link that opens a specific tab in the document.

This can help prevent confusion and lead users to the relevant sheets.

Here’s how you can provide a link to a specific sheet tab to other users.

Step 1

Open the Google Sheets workbook that contains the sheet you want to share.

Step 2

Click on the sheet (tab) at the bottom of the workbook that you want to link to.

This action makes the chosen sheet the active one.

Step 3

Once the sheet is active, take a look at your browser’s address bar.

You will see a URL that looks something like https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/[DOCUMENT_ID]/edit#gid=[SHEET_ID].

The SHEET_ID at the end of the URL is a unique identifier for the active sheet.

Copy the entire URL from the address bar.

This URL now points directly to the active sheet in your Google Sheets workbook.

Share the copied URL with others.

When someone clicks on this link, it will open the Google Sheets workbook directly on the sheet (tab) you linked, provided they have the necessary permissions to view the workbook.

This technique can also help you give users quick access to certain tabs within the same document.

6. How to share only one tab without giving access to the whole spreadsheet

Sharing just one tab from a Google Sheets spreadsheet without giving access to the entire spreadsheet can be achieved by using the IMPORTRANGE function.

This function allows you to import a range of cells from a specified spreadsheet into another spreadsheet.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1

Open the Google Sheets file that contains the tab you want to share.

Step 2

Click on the tab at the bottom that you wish to share.

Note the name of this tab as you will need it for a formula.

Step 3

In the address bar of your web browser, note the URL of the spreadsheet.

It will look something like https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/[SPREADSHEET_ID]/edit.

Copy the [SPREADSHEET_ID] part of the URL.

Step 4

Create a new Google Sheets file by clicking File > New > Spreadsheet.

Step 5

In the new spreadsheet, select the cell where you want to start displaying the data from the original tab.

Enter the IMPORTRANGE function in the selected cell.

The syntax is =IMPORTRANGE(“spreadsheet_url”, “range_string”).

Replace spreadsheet_url with the [SPREADSHEET_ID] you copied earlier, and range_string with the name of the tab and the range you want to import.

Step 6

After entering the formula, press Enter.

A prompt may appear asking for permission to access the other spreadsheet.

Click Allow Access to grant permission to connect the two spreadsheets.

Step 7

You should now see the data selected from the original sheet.

Changes made to the original sheet will reflect in the output for IMPORTRANGE.

You may now share the new spreadsheet with others.

These users will only have access to the data you’ve imported, not the entire original spreadsheet.

7. Share a Google sheet with one user

To share a Google Sheet with one specific user, follow these steps:

Step 1

Open the Google Sheets file you want to share.

Make sure you’re logged into your Google account and have the necessary permissions to share the file.

Step 2

Click on the “Share” button located in the top right corner of the Google Sheets interface.

Step 3

In the “Share with people and groups” input box that appears, type the email address of the user you want to share the sheet with.

As you type, Google may suggest contacts; you can select the correct one if it appears.

Step 4

Decide on the access level for this user.

You can choose between “Viewer,” “Commenter,” or “Editor.”

A viewer can only see the file, a commenter can add comments but not edit the content, and an editor can make changes to the file.

Click the “Send” button.

The user will receive an email notification containing a link to the Google Sheet, along with any message you added.

8. Share a single sheet of a Google spreadsheet with multiple users

Sharing a single sheet of a Google Spreadsheet with multiple users requires a workaround.

Google Sheets doesn’t natively allow sharing individual sheets within a spreadsheet.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to accomplish this:

Step 1

Open the Google Sheets file containing the sheet you wish to share.

Step 2

Select the sheet you want to share.

Click on the sheet’s tab at the bottom of the screen to ensure it’s active.

Step 3

Right-click on the sheet tab and select Copy to > New Spreadsheet in the context menu.

Google Sheets will notify you that your data has been copied successfully to a new sheet.

Click Open spreadsheet to access this new Google Sheets document.

Step 4

Once you’ve opened the new spreadsheet, you can now click on the “Share” button in the top-right corner of the screen to start sharing your data.

Since you’ve only copied data from a single sheet, users you share it to will only see the copied data.

9. How to share Google Sheets with non-Gmail users

Users without a Google account can be invited to collaborate on Google Sheets documents through the visitor sharing feature.

Visitors can get access for 7 days after they get an invitation and verify their identity.

If your Google account is part of an organization, you may encounter issues when trying to share with non-Gmail users or users who do not have a Google Account.

If you would like to share a document with non-Gmail users through the visitor sharing feature, please request the administrator of your Google account to allow this option.

Once visitor sharing is activated, you can follow the following steps to invite non-Gmail users:

Step 1

Open the Google Sheets document you want to share.

Step 2

Click the Share button on the top-right corner of the Google Sheets interface.

Step 3

In the provided text box , enter the email address of the user you want to share with and press Enter.

Click on the dropdown menu to determine what the user can do with the document.

Google will confirm if you are sure that you want to share to a non-Google account.

Click Share anyway to proceed.

Step 4

Click Send to invite the non-Gmail user.

The recipient will receive an invitation to your document where they must verify their email address through a verification code to be able to access the document for 7 days.

If they must collaborate longer, they can use the link from the original sharing email to verify their identity again.

10. How do I share a Google Sheet between accounts?

To share a Google Sheet between different accounts, follow these steps:

Step 1

First, open the Google Sheet you want to share.

Step 2

In the top-right corner of the screen, look for a button labeled “Share.”

This may also be represented by an icon that looks like a person with a ‘+’ symbol.

Step 3

In the sharing settings window that opens, you can enter the email addresses of the people you want to share the sheet with.

Type in the email addresses in the provided field.

For each email address, you can set specific permissions.

Choose whether each person can view, comment on, or edit the sheet.

This step is crucial for controlling how others can interact with your sheet.

After adding the email addresses and setting permissions, click “Send.”

This will send an email to each person with a link to the sheet and your optional message.

Step 5

Copy this link and send it to those with whom you want to share the sheet.

Ways to pull data from one Google sheet to another sheet or spreadsheet

There are several different methods you can use to pull data from one Google Sheets sheet to another sheet or spreadsheet.

Here are some of the most widely-used ways to pull data across sheets or spreadsheet:

Method #1 – Copy-Paste

The Copy-Paste method is the easiest way to move data from one sheet to another.

To pull data from one sheet to another in Google Sheets using the copy-paste method, follow these steps:

Step 1

Open the Google Sheets file that contains the data you want to copy.

Select the data range you want to copy.

If you want to copy the entire sheet, you can press Ctrl+A (Cmd+A on Mac) to select the entire sheet or table.

Step 2

Next, you’ll need to copy the selected data to your device’s clipboard.

You can do this by right-clicking the selected area and choosing ‘Copy’, or by pressing Ctrl+C (Cmd+C on Mac) on your keyboard.

Step 3

Now, navigate to the Google Sheets file where you want to paste this data.

Open the specific sheet within this file where the data should be placed.

In this example, we’ll create a new empty sheet within the same spreadsheet.

Select the cell where you want the copied data to begin.

This will typically be the top-left cell of the pasted data.

Step 4

Paste the data. Right-click on the selected cell and choose ‘Paste’, or press Ctrl+V (Cmd+V on Mac) on your keyboard.

The data you copied will be pasted starting from the selected cell.

Method #2 – QUERY Function

To pull data from one sheet to another in Google Sheets using the QUERY function, follow these steps:

Step 1

Open the Google Sheets file that contains the source data.

Identify the sheet and the range of cells that contain the data you want to query.

In this example, we want to pull data from the range A1:F101 in a sheet labeled Sheet1.

Step 2

Open the destination sheet where you want to display the pulled data.

Click on the cell in the destination sheet where you want the queried data to begin.

This cell will serve as the top-left corner of the imported data range.

Step 3

Enter the QUERY function formula. The basic syntax of the QUERY function is =QUERY(data, query, [headers]).

In this example:

  • data is the range of cells that contain the data you want to query
  • query is the query you want to run on this data written in Google Visualization API Query Language
  • [headers] is an optional argument specifying the number of header rows at the top of the data.

Step 4

Specify the data range in the formula.

Next, write your query within quotation marks.

To select all columns in the source range, we’ll use the query “SELECT *

Close the formula with a parenthesis and press Enter.

Since we used “SELECT *” as the query, this function returns the entire source range into the new sheet.

Method #3 – IMPORTRANGE

To pull data from one Google Sheet to another using the IMPORTRANGE function, follow these steps:

Step 1

Open the Google Sheet where you want to import the data. This is your destination sheet.

Step 2

Locate the URL of the source Google Sheet (the sheet from which you want to import data).

You can find this in the address bar of your web browser when the source sheet is open.

Step 3

Decide on the range of cells in the source sheet that you want to import.

In our example, we want to pull the data in the cell range A1:F26 in the sheet named Data.

Step 4

Click on the cell in your destination sheet where you want the imported data to begin.

This cell will serve as the top-left cell of the imported data.

Type in the IMPORTRANGE formula.

The syntax for IMPORTRANGE is =IMPORTRANGE(“spreadsheet_url”, “range_string”).

Here, “spreadsheet_url” is the URL of the source sheet and “range_string” is the range of cells you noted in Step 3, in the format ‘sheet_name!range’.

Step 5

Replace “spreadsheet_url” in the formula with the actual URL of your source sheet.

Make sure to keep the URL within double quotes.

Replace “range_string” with the actual range of cells you want to import, ensuring it’s within double quotes and correctly formatted.

For instance, if you’re importing cells A1 to F26 from a sheet named “Sheet1”, the range string would be “Sheet1!A1:F26”.

Step 6

Press Enter to apply the formula.

The first time you use IMPORTRANGE from a new source sheet, Google Sheets will prompt you to connect these sheets.

Click “Allow access” to permit the connection.

After allowing these sheets to connect, you’ll now see the data pulled from the other spreadsheet.

Method #4 – Linked Sheets

Pulling data from another sheet in Google Sheets using linked cells is a straightforward process.

Here are the steps to do it:

Step 1

Open the Google Sheets file that contains the source sheet (the sheet you want to pull data from).

Step 2

Navigate to the source sheet and identify the range of cells you want to link.

For this example, we want to pull data from the range A1:F101.

Step 3

Type the range you want to pull data from. Ensure that you mention the sheet name in the cell reference.

Enclose this range with curly braces to let Google Sheets know you want to return an array.

Step 4

Google Sheets should now return an array corresponding to the provided range in the formula.

Can multiple users edit Google Sheets at the same time?

Yes, multiple users can edit a Google Sheets document at the same time.

For this to be possible, each user must have edit permissions for that particular document.

When multiple users are editing the same sheet, each user is assigned a random color.

Whenever a user selects a cell, other users will be able to see their selection highlighted with their assigned color.

Where is the share button on Google Sheets?

The Share button in Google Sheets is typically located in the top-right corner of the screen.

It is represented by a button with the word “Share” or as an icon resembling a person with a ‘+’ symbol.

You can hover your mouse over the Share button to see at a glance who has access to the document.

When you click the Share button, a new pop-up dialog box will open, allowing you to add people by their email addresses or to copy a shareable link to the document.

You can also access the share dialog box by clicking File > Share > Share with others.

Why can’t I share Google Sheets? (5 Reasons)

If you can’t share a Google Sheet, there are several potential reasons:

Reason #1 – Insufficient Permissions

If the spreadsheet was created by another user, you might not have the necessary permissions to share it with others. Only owners or users with editing rights can share Google Sheets.

Reason #2 – Organization Policies

If your account belongs to a Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), your organization’s administrator might have restricted sharing settings. Some organizations limit sharing outside their domain or completely disable sharing for security purposes.

Reason #3 – Internet Connectivity Issues

Ensure that your device has a stable Internet connection. A poor or unstable internet connection can prevent the sharing options from loading correctly.

Reason #4 – Browser Issues

There are some cases where browser-related problems can interfere with Google Sheets’ functionality. It may also be possible that an add-on or browser extension may be causing this issue. Trying a different browser, incognito mode, or clearing the cache might resolve this.

Reason #5 – Google Server Issues

There are rare occasions where the issue might be on Google’s end, with their servers experiencing downtime or technical difficulties.

What are the permission levels in Google Sheets?

When sharing Google Sheets documents, users can grant specific users or groups permission levels which affect what the user is able to do with the document.

Currently, there are four primary permission levels:

#1 Owner

  • By default, users who create a file are given the Owner role for that document.
  • Owners have full access to view and edit documents that they own.
  • The owner also has control over the sharing settings of the document.
  • While the creator of the spreadsheet is automatically ownership can be transferred to another user if needed.

#2 Viewer

  • Viewers can only see the spreadsheet.
  • They cannot make any changes to the content or structure of the sheet.
  • This level is ideal for when you need to share information without the risk of it being altered.

#3 Commenter

  • Commenters can also view the document
  • But they can also have the ability to add and reply to comments.
  • This is useful for collaborators who need to provide feedback or input without altering the actual data in the spreadsheet.

#4 Editor

  • Editors have full access to the spreadsheet.
  • They can add, modify, and delete content, including changing the structure of the sheet (like adding or removing rows and columns), modifying formulas, and changing formatting.
  • This level of access should be reserved for trusted collaborators who need to actively work on the spreadsheet.
  • By default, editors also have the ability to change permissions and share the workbook with others.
  • However, owners can adjust the Share settings to prevent editors from being able to edit permission levels themselves.

Can you restrict access in Google Sheets?

Yes, it’s possible to restrict access to a spreadsheet or certain parts of a spreadsheet in Google Sheets.

Here’s some of the methods you can use to restrict access in Google Sheets:

Method #1 – Limiting Access via Sharing Settings

A straightforward way to restrict access in Google Sheets is by adjusting the document’s sharing settings.

By adjusting these settings, document owners can restrict access to a select group of people or make the sheet accessible only to those with a specific link.

Users can be given different levels of permission, such as viewing, commenting, or editing.

You can access the Share settings by clicking File > Share > Share with others or through the Share button on the top-right corner of the Google Sheets interface.

Method #2 – Protecting Specific Ranges or Sheets

Within your Google Sheet, you can also protect specific ranges or entire sheets.

You can access this feature by clicking Data > Protect sheets and ranges.

This feature allows you to restrict users from changing data in certain cells or sheets while leaving other parts of the document open for editing.

For example, a budget spreadsheet might have protected cells for salary information, ensuring only authorized personnel can modify these figures.

How do I give everyone access to Google Sheets?

To give everyone access to a Google Sheet, you can adjust the sharing settings to allow anyone with the link to view, comment on, or edit the sheet.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1

First, open the Google Sheet you want to share.

Step 2

In the top-right corner of the sheet, click on the “Share” button.

This is typically represented by a button labeled “Share” or an icon that looks like a person with a ‘+’ symbol.

You may also select File > Share > Share with others.

Step 3

In the sharing settings window, select “Anyone with the link.”

This option will make the sheet accessible to anyone who has the link.

Step 4

Choose the access level you prefer for the document:

  • Viewer: People can view the sheet but cannot make any edits.
  • Commenter: People can view and comment but cannot make edits.
  • Editor: People can view, comment, and make edits to the sheet.

In this example, we’ll set the access level to “Viewer”.

This means that everyone with the link can view the entire document but not make edits

Step 5

Click on Copy link to copy a shareable link of the document to your clipboard

You can now share the copied link through email, messaging, or any other means of communication.

Anyone with this link can access the sheet based on the permissions you’ve set.

Who can access my Google Sheets?

Which users can access your Google Sheets depends on the sharing settings you have configured for each document

Your document’s sharing settings is likely to be set to either one of the following options:

  • Restricted to the Owner – If you haven’t shared the sheet with anyone else and General access is set to Restricted, only you can access the document with your Google account.
  • Restricted to Specific People: If you have shared the sheet with specific people, only those with whom you have shared the sheet (via their email addresses) and assigned specific roles (viewer, commenter, or editor) can access it.
  • Anyone with the Link: If you set the sheet to be accessible by “anyone with the link,” then anyone who has the link can access the sheet. This includes people who don’t have a Google account. The level of access (view, comment, or edit) depends on the permissions you have set.
  • Domain Restrictions: If you are using a Google Workspace account, your Google administrator can set domain-level restrictions for files made with an account underthat workspace. Typically, only people within your organization might be able to access the document
  • Public on the Web: In some cases, a Google Sheets document can be made public on the web, meaning anyone can find and access it without needing a specific link. This option can be accessed through File > Share > Publish to web.

FAQs (about sharing & collaborating in spreadsheets)

Got questions? Here’s some frequently asked questions related to sharing in Google Sheets:

Can multiple users edit Google Sheets at the same time?

At any time, a Google Sheet can only be edited by 100 open tabs or devices.

How many users can use Google Sheet?

Up to 100 people with view, edit, or comment permissions can work on a Google Sheets at the same time. This limit also applies to Docs, Sheets, and Slides files.

What is collaborators in Google Sheets?

  • Viewer—People can view the file, but not edit or add comments.
  • Commenter—Can add comments, but not edit content.
  • Editor—Can add content, edit and add comments. (this is the one to pick if you want team members to update the file themselves).

How do I Share Google Sheets with non Gmail users?

  • Click the “Share” button in the top-right corner of your sheet.
  • Select on “Get link” and then “Anyone with the link”.
  • Copy the link and share it with the non-Google account user.
  • Optional step: tell them to stop being silly and get a Gmail account 😏

Can you Share a Google spreadsheet with everyone?

Click the Share button and then Anyone with the link. In a shocking turn of events, selecting this will cause your spreadsheet to be… shared with Anyone with the link Just be sure to set the the level of access that you want to give. If you allow access to anyone with the link, your folder won’t restrict who can access it.

Can 2 owners have one Google spreadsheet?

You can give someone else (with their own Google Account) access to your files and folders. You can’t give someone with a work or school account permission to use your files or folders. For the move to go through, the person you want to own the file or folder must accept your request.

Why can’t I share my Google Sheet?

By default, Google Sheets are set to be private. This setting lets only the people you give permission to in. If you’re working in a Google Apps area where documents aren’t private by default, or if you’d like to make a document private, click the Share button.

Summary

Hopefully this guide has given you an overview of collaboration in Google Sheets.

What’s Next?

Explore some of the other useful resources on Sheets for Marketers: