Google Docs is part of the Google Drive suite of apps along with Slides, Sheets, Forms and many other apps. Docs only has an online editor and is a good alternative for Microsoft Word. Though it is super easy to use Google Docs Editor, here are some URL tricks that can improve your productivity.
Google Docs File ID
Before proceeding with URL tricks, it is necessary to understand the file ID in Google Docs. Each file has an unique ID which you can find it from the file URL. Simply check the browser’s address bar and the file will look something like below:
File URL has three parts:
- Common part for all Google Docs – https://docs.google.com/document/d/.
- File ID – unique for each file.
- Parameter – indicates the action you are currently doing like viewing or editing the file.
So, the syntax will be something like below:
Same file will have different IDs when you open it from Google Drive or from Google Docs. You can use this file ID with the common part along with various parameters.
Note: All tricks mentioned in this article are tested with the latest Google Docs editor. However, you can also use most of these tricks on other apps like Slides and Sheets.
1. Toggle Edit and View Mode
By default, Google Docs will open the file in edit mode when you are logged into your account. You can see the /edit parameter at the end of URL indicating the file is in edit mode. However, you can simply change the /edit to /view to change to view mode. The view and mode URLs should look like below Google Docs.
View mode – https://docs.google.com/document/d/file_id/view Edit mode – https://docs.google.com/document/d/file_id/edit
2. Share Link URL
If you want to share a Google Docs, then simply add ?usp=drive_link at the end. For example, below is the share URL with edit access and you can also change the /edit to /view.
3. Forcing Copy of a File
Sometimes, you may want others to make a copy of your file rather than just viewing it. For that simply replace /view or /edit parameter in the URL with /copy.
Copy file URL – https://docs.google.com/file/d/file_id/copy
This will show a prompt and force users to create a copy of the file.
4. Direct File Download Link in Different Formats
Google Docs allows you to download the files in the following formats:
- Microsoft Word (.docx)
- OpenDocument Format (.odt)
- Rich Text Format (.rtf)
- PDF Document (.pdf)
- Plain Text (.txt)
- Web Page (.html, zipped)
- EPUB Publication (.epub)
You can create a direct file download link with any of these formats by adding the following parameter at the end of your file URL. Replace “format_extension” with the desired format (like pdf or docx) and use proper file ID.
Let’s say, you have a Word document and want to create a download link after converting it to a PDF file. All you need is to simply use the following format:
This will automatically download the PDF file in your “Downloads” folder without any prompt.
5. Previewing Documents
As mentioned, Google Docs will open the file in edit or view mode by default. However, you can force Google Docs to open a file in preview mode by adding /preview parameter to the end of the file URL.
You can also specify the starting page for the preview mode by adding ?start=page_number at the end.
Mastering these Google Docs URL tricks can significantly enhance your file editing, sharing and collaboration experience. From forcing file copies to obtaining direct download links, these tricks provide valuable shortcuts that can save time and streamline your workflow.