How to Force Users to Make a Copy of Google Drive Files
Here’s an easy way to force users to make a copy of Google Docs, Sheets, Slides or Drawings!
By hacking the URL you can prompt users to make a copy!
Have you ever shared a file with a student or colleague and instructed them to go to file>make a copy, and instead, they start typing on the document like it’s their own?
There are lots of ways to make a copy and distribute to students, like using Google Classroom or Doctopus, but this little trick is super simple!
Since Google Classroom solves this issue with students, this is mostly a trick that comes in handy when sharing with adults or on your website or blog.
How to Force a Copy of a Google Doc, Slide, Sheet, or Drawing
Here’s how it works!
Be sure you have shared your document either as “anyone with the link,” or “public.” This has to be enabled before you can use the force a copy trick.
You could share it individually with the person, but that usually prompts a notification and they will see it in Drive and could still ignore your instructions.
(Do you need help with learning about sharing? Get my FREE Guide to Google Drive Sharing!)
- Open the doc, slide deck, sheet, or drawing you want to use.
- Click in the search box and look at the end of the link.
- Replace the word EDIT with the word COPY in the link.
- Click return/enter.
Copy and paste this new copy link wherever you need–in an email, on your website, presentation, newsletter, etc.
Don’t forget STEP 1! If you haven’t made it shareable the link will not work!
When the user clicks on the copy link, they will be prompted to make a copy of the file.
Once they click the “Make a Copy,” button, it will make a copy of the file and add it to their Google Drive. AWESOME!
Want to force a copy of a Google Form? That works a little bit differently. Blog post coming soon!
I use the force a copy link to share templates and files on this blog. It allows me to share easily without having to invite and give permission to users.
Click on a link below to see how it works.
(Please DO NOT request access. These requests will be ignored. Just click on the button on the screen to make a copy and add to your Drive.)
Force a Copy and Google Classroom
You cannot use this link as an attachment in Google Classroom. Google Classroom will override the settings and share with your students.
In most cases, if you want to distribute a copy of a Doc with your students through Google Classroom, just attached the Doc and select “Make a Copy for Each Student.” (Details are in The Google Classroom Cheat Sheets.)
If you need to share the force a copy link in Google Classroom for other reasons, you can add the link in the body of the instructions or as a comment.
Ways to Use Force a Copy
As I mentioned earlier, if you are using Google Classroom with students, this trick is not usually something you need for the classroom. (If you don’t know how to distribute copies in Google Classroom, check out this post: 4 Must-Have Google Classroom Skills.)
If you are NOT using Google Classroom with your students, this trick can definitely come in handy in the classroom.
For instance, if you have a great lesson plan, hyperdoc, or choice board that you want to share with another teacher so they can make a copy and adapt it for their classroom, use the force a copy link.
Use the force a copy link to share files on your website or blog.
Use the force a copy link to share files in a presentation.
Use the force a copy link to share files in an email or newsletter.
This little trick can definitely come in handy the more you work with Google files.
Other Google URL Hacks
These are the keywords you can use to replace “edit” in the URL for some other fun hacks.
- “copy” = make a copy of the file (as shown above)
- “copy?Copycomments=true” = make a copy with comments
- “preview” = view-only (See this blog post for directions: Amazing Shortcut for Sharing Google Docs.)
- “template/Preview” = template link (See this blog post for directions: Create G Suite Templates with this Mind-Blowing Hack.)
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