These days in the professional world, there are plenty of ways for people to communicate with one another, such as on LinkedIn or Slack. However, despite being one of the oldest means of communication on the Internet, the trusty email stays one of the top ways for professionals to discuss matters.
If you’re an avid Google Docs user, you may want to know how to send a Google Doc by email. In truth, there are multiple ways to email a Google document and share it with others. We discuss all of them below.
As an Invitation
If you’d like to simply send an invitation to view the Google Doc:
- Click the blue “Share” button at the top right.
- In the “Share with people and groups” dialogue, enter the emails of the people you want to share it with. If you have them in your contacts, you can do it via names instead.
- Click on the Settings icon at the top right to select what level of access your audience will have. By default, they have all permissions, but you can restrict these by checking or unchecking the relevant options.
The “Editor” can do almost anything with the document, including changing it. “Viewers and commentors” can’t change anything, but may add comments, such as adding a note about something that needs to be changed in the document.
When you enter an email address, you can also add a message to the invitation. This option doesn’t appear automatically, though.
- Click the email address or hover over it until you see it appear a second time below the email address text box.
- Click the second email to view more options, including a message field.
- Add a message and click the permissions drop-down menu beside the email address to select permission levels.
- Click “Send” when you’re satisfied with the changes.
As a Link
If you want to place a link within the email, you can link directly to the Google Doc for people to read. To get a link, click on the blue “Share” button next to your profile picture at the top right. This time, you’ll use the “Get Link” section.
By default, Google Docs will give you a link that allows people to view your document. It’s set to “Restricted,” which means you’ll also need to share the Google Doc using the process above. This helps prevent anyone else who might get access to the link from accessing the document. If this setting is fine, click “Copy link.”
If you want to change who can open the link and their access levels, click “Change to anyone with the link” just below “Restricted.” Then, adjust the access level. Click “Copy link” when you’re finished.
To make your link look professional in your email, try embedding it within text so it flows more naturally.
As an Attachment
If you’d prefer to attach a copy of the document in an email, you can do that straight from Google Docs. If you’re logged into Google Docs under the same account you want to email from, you don’t need to download anything – just send it straightaway!
To do this, click “File” and then “Email.” Select “Email this file.”
A window will appear asking for an email as well as a subject and body. Notice that you can’t add the email you want to send from here; this is because Google Docs is assuming you want to send it from the Google account you’re logged in to.
When choosing how to email a Google Doc as an attachment, you have several formats available. Click the “PDF” drop-down box at the bottom of the email window to choose how you want to send it.
Once you’re done, click “Send” and Google Docs will automatically send your document as an attachment to the emails you listed.
Within the Email Body
In a similar fashion, if you want to send the entire article within the body of the email itself, you can do this via Google Docs as well. Follow the same process as sending an email as an attachment. However, check the “Don’t attach. Include content in the email” checkbox below the Message field. Here, too, it’s assumed that you want to send the email from the account you’re currently logged in to.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why can't I press "Send" when attaching a Google Docs file?
When you’re attaching or sending a Google Docs file in an email, the Send button doesn’t become active until you’ve entered a recipient email and message body.
If you’ve done this and still can’t use the Send button, make sure you’re using a valid Google email address. While you can sign up for a Google account using almost any email address, you’ll need a Gmail account, or Google Workspace email, in order to send an email directly from a Google Doc.
For example, I have a Google account under a “yahoo.com” email address. I can’t send email attachments while logged in with this email account. I have to use my “gmail.com” address instead.
Will my document lose any formatting when sending as a different format?
Overall, Google Docs does a good job at converting documents into the listed formats. However, there is always a chance of losing some formatting, especially when switching from Google Docs to Microsoft Word. The same applies when converting a Google Doc to a Microsoft Word document when downloading.
If you’re looking for the best way to send a Google Doc by email without formatting issues, opt for PDF. While the recipient can’t edit the file, it should look exactly the same as if you’d printed it.
If you’re uncertain about formatting issues, try sending the file to yourself or to an alternative email address first to check how it looks.
Can I remove access to a Google Doc or change permissions once added?
Yes. If you’ve shared the link with another user, open the “Share” options at the top right. You can change permissions for individual users and remove access by clicking the drop-down box beside their name or email.
If you’ve shared the link with others using the “Get link” option, ensure it’s set to “Restricted.” You can then remove any added users. If you don’t have added users, then anyone who has the link won’t be able to access the file any longer.
Image credit: Google Docs app on s8 screen in a pocket of a blue jeans by 123RF
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