How to only temporarily share your Google Sheets files?

Maximum time that someone can access your Google Sheets - Featured Image

Written by Valentine Schelstraete

Nov 24, 2017

With Google Sheets, we know we can easily share the spreadsheets with people. And they can effortlessly access and work on them from any device or location. It is noteworthy to see that the Google Sheets’ Share functionality, by default, lets people access the files indefinitely. Unless we manually remove the access permissions to the file for any particular user(s). In this article, we explain the procedure to allow a maximum time that someone can access our Google Sheets files. Simply put, we can set expiry date to the access we grant to other people.

Why allow maximum time that someone can access our Google Sheets?

Consider this scenario. A research company hired a contractor and granted him access to certain files he needs to work upon. But even after the contract ended, the contractor will have access to these files. That isn’t an ideal position to be in, given the confidentiality of the information. To avoid that, we will have to explicitly remove the permissions. That isn’t a desirable situation because keeping track of such things can become cumbersome and at times unrealistic.

Or, alternatively, we can simply allow maximum time that someone can access our Google Sheets. After this predefined time, they won’t be able to see these files on their Google Drive. To configure this, we either click on the Share button available on the Google Sheets application. Or, on the Google Drive, on the corresponding file, right click > Share.

Share Button on the Google Sheets Application

Add the emails of the user(s) in the People field and click on the Advanced option. This will open up the Share settings window.

Maximum Time That Someone Can Access Our Google Sheets: Advanced Setting Window

Now click on the Send button to invite them to access the file. Having done that, the user(s) we just invited to access the file will appear in the list of all users in the Share settings window pane. On hovering the mouse over to the user(s) we just added, and it will show a corresponding gray colored clock icon.

Maximum Time That Someone Can Access Our Google Sheets: Editing Option

We click on this clock icon, and it will let us set the expiration time. From the drop-down list, we can use the existing options or even a custom expiration date. Once done, click on the Save changes button. Doing this will ensure the users won’t have the access to the file beyond the time we set for expiry.

Maximum Time That Someone Can Access Our Google Sheets: Example Snapshot Showing Number of Days

Find out more about the different Google Sheets permission levels in the following blog post.

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