Google Docs is a great collaboration tool because it allows multiple people to edit and work on a single document at the same time, without losing track of who is doing what.
If you or your organization uses Google Docs, knowing who on the team viewed which document and when can be useful information. Whether it's making sure everyone has read a draft, terms and conditions, your latest submission, policies and procedures, or any other important document, being able to see who did what and when is essential.
Until recently, you couldn't see who viewed your Google Docs. You can 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 had read the latest version of a document.
Also, since you can share Google documents with read-only permissions, you can share the document with certain people with the intention that they review the document without making changes.
Current versions of Google Docs allow you to configure settings so you can see who has viewed your Google Docs. Let's see how you can do it yourself.
The G Suite Activity Monitor
G Suite is typically used by organizations where collaboration is essential. If you use G Suite to regularly collaborate with others, you can use Activity Monitor to view the viewing history of any Google Docs file.
Follow these steps to do so:
- Open a Google Sheet file
- Click on the uptrend arrow icon at the top right, or go to the Tools drop down menu
- Open the Activity Dashboard
- Click on the All viewers for your organization tab
This process will allow you to track the views in the document, including the date and time of the last view for each viewer.
If you don't see the Activity Monitor option in your Google Doc, it likely means you're signed into the free version of Google Docs, or a personal account, rather than a G Suite version.
Viewer and commentary trends
In addition to seeing who viewed your Google Docs, Activity Monitor also lets you see trends when people viewed or commented on your document.
Viewer Trend: Shows you a bar graph of the number of unique viewers over a time period you choose from 7 days at all times.
Feedback trend: Shows you bar charts of the feedback trend over any 7 day period at any time.
Turn off view history in Google Docs
If for some reason you want to turn off the view history of a document, you can also do that by following these quick steps:
- Open Google sheet
- Click on the uptrend The arrow in the upper right corner of your document or navigate to Tools from the drop-down menu
- Open the Activity Dashboard
- Select Privacy settings
- Under Document Settings, toggle View my viewing history for this document off
This option is also available in the personal or free version of Google Docs. If you're working on a document but don't want your collaborators to know about it until you're ready to share your final revisions, you can turn off your viewing history.
Start by opening Google Sheets and clicking on Parameters.
The Settings menu allows you to turn off your viewing history with the "Activity Dashboard" settings. Once you toggle it to the “off” position, click OK to save the changes.
How to See Who Made Changes to Your Google Doc
Version control is very important, especially if you work in a regulated industry. Version control is something that Google Docs has been doing well for quite some time. Docs will show who edited a document, saved it, or shared it. It not only works with G Suite, but also with personal Google Docs.
If you're interested in version control or want to make sure no one has made changes they shouldn't without locking the file, you can find out by following these steps:
- Open a Google Sheet you want to track
- Select deposit et Version history
- Select See version history
A window should appear on the right of your screen showing each save and edit for the document in question. Depending on how G Suite or Google Docs is configured, you can also view this data by selecting the "Last edit was..." link at the top of the document. It takes you to exactly the same place.
In this window, you should also have the option to view the previous version of the document before the changes were made.
This is essential for version control because you have an audit trail of changes made, when they were made, and by whom. It's also useful if you've made changes, are sleeping on them, change your mind, and want to undo them.
How to See Who Shared Your Google Doc
You can also see who shared your Google Doc and when. You can also see sharing settings to better control access to your document.
- Go to Drive.google.com
- Click on MyDrive to the left
- Click on the small je button in the top right corner
- Click on Activity
- Click on each file or folder individually or review the scroll bar on the right side of the screen. This will show you who shared your document.
You can also verify from the document by selecting Share. The people's names will appear in the pop-up window. If there are several people, select a name and the list of all names will appear.
Your ability to determine who viewed, shared, and edited your documents is limited if you don't have access to a G Suite account; However, there are still ways to get basic information.
By following the steps provided in this guide, you can quickly and easily see who viewed, edited, or edited your Google Docs document in any way.