How to See Who Viewed Your Google Doc
Google Docs is an excellent tool for collaboration as it allows multiple people to edit and work on a single document simultaneously without losing track of changes made by various team members. After all, knowing who viewed what document and when can be helpful if you or your organization uses Google Docs. From ensuring everyone reads a draft, views the terms and conditions, your latest submission, policies and procedures, or some other important document, being able to see who did what and when is essential.
Note: The Google Activity Dashboard is only available to Google Workspace accounts or people with access to a file in the account. It is not an option for personal accounts.
Until recently, you couldn’t see who viewed your Google Docs. You could see who edited it but not who just read it. If they didn’t save, edit, or leave a comment, you had no idea if a particular person read a document’s latest version. Also, since you can share Google Docs with read-only permissions, you can share the document with some people with the intent that they’ll review it but not make any changes.
Current versions of Google Docs allow you to configure settings to see who viewed your Google Docs. Let’s take a look at how you can do this yourself.
The G Suite Activity Monitor
G Suite is typically used by organizations in which collaboration is essential. If you use G Suite to collaborate with others regularly, you can use the Activity Monitor to see the view history of any Google Docs file.
Follow these steps to do so:
- Open a Google Sheet file
- Click on the upward trending arrow icon in the top right section or go to the Tools pull-down menu.
- Open the Activity dashboard.
- Click on All Viewers for your organization tab.
This process will enable you to track all views in the document, including the date and time of the last one by each team member.
If you don’t see the Activity Monitor option in your Google Doc, you’re likely logged into a personal Google Docs rather than a G Suite version.
Viewers and Comments Trends
In addition to seeing who viewed your Google Docs, the Activity Monitor also allows you to see trends on when people viewed or commented on your document.
Viewer trend: This shows you a bar chart of the number of unique viewers over a specified time, ranging from seven days to all time.
Comment trend: This shows you bar charts of the comment trend from seven days to all time.
Turn Off View History in Google Docs
If, for whatever reason, you want to turn a document’s view history off, you can do that as well by following these quick steps:
- Open the Google Sheet.
- Click on the upward trending arrow in the upper right side of your doc or go to Tools from the pull-down menu.
- Open the Activity dashboard.
- Select Privacy settings.
- Under Document setting, toggle Show my view history for this document to off.
This option is also available in the personal or free Google Docs version. You can turn off your view history if you’re working on a document but don’t want your collaborators to know until you’re ready to share your final revisions.
- Start by opening Google Sheets and clicking on Settings.
- The Settings menu lets you turn off your view history with the Activity Dashboard settings. Click OK to save changes once you’ve toggled this to the Off position.
How to See Who Made Changes to Your Google Doc
Version control is essential, primarily if you work in a regulated industry. Version control is something Google Docs has done well for a while. Docs will show who has edited a document, saved it, or shared it. This works not just with G Suite but with personal Google Docs.
If you’re interested in version control or want to make sure nobody has made changes they shouldn’t without locking the file down, you can find out by following these steps:
- Open a Google Sheet you want to track.
- Select File and Version history.
- Select See version history.
- A window should appear on the right of your screen, showing every save and edit for the document in question.
Within that window, you should also have the option to view the previous version of the document before the edits were made.
This is essential for version control as you have an audit trail of what changes were made, when they were made, and by whom. It is also helpful if you made changes, slept on it, changed your mind, or want to roll them back.
How to See Who Has Shared Your Google Doc
You can also see who has shared your Google Doc and when. Additionally, the sharing settings give you better control of document access.
- Go to drive.google.com.
- Click on My Drive on the left.
- Click the small i button in the upper right corner.
- Now, click Activity.
- Click on each file or folder individually or review everything using the scroll bar. This will show you who has shared your doc.
You can also check from within the document by selecting Share. The names of some individuals will appear in the popup window. If you have shared the file with more users than listed, click on a name, and the list of all people will appear.
Your ability to determine who has viewed, shared, and edited your documents is limited if you cannot access a G Suite account; however, there are still ways to get some basic information.
By following the steps provided in this guide, you can quickly and easily see who has viewed, edited, or changed your Google Docs document in any way. Do you have any questions, experience, or tips about seeing activity on your Google Docs? Leave a comment in the section below.