2 simple ways to view Google Docs anonymously

by Kazim Ali Alvi
Kazim Ali Alvi
Kazim Ali Alvi
Kazim has always been fond of technology, be it scrolling through the settings on his iPhone, Android device, or Windows. And at times, unscrewing the device to take... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • If you don't want others to find out, learn how to view Google Docs anonymously.
  • There are quick and simple ways you can do that, without the need to modify account settings or install a third-party app.
  • Also, find out when and why you can't anonymously view a Google Document. 
Learn how to view a Google doc anonymously

Google lists the profiles of all the users currently viewing a document in the top-right corner. If you work regularly on shared Google Docs, you may have come across users with random names. This happens when others anonymously view Google Docs on a browser.

In this case, instead of showing their Google account name, Docs refers to these users as Anonymous animals. For instance, if you see someone by the name Anonymous Wolf, Anonymous Iguana, or Anonymous Ibex, the user is viewing the document anonymously.

Once you know there’s an option to do that, curiosity certainly arises as to how to view Google Docs anonymously. To find out, read the next section.

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How do I view Google Docs anonymously?

1. Sign out of the Google Account

  1. Sign out of your Google account.
  2. Now, paste the Google Docs link that you want to view anonymously in the address bar and hit Enter.how to view a google doc anonymously

Your real account name would not appear to other users while viewing the document now.

However, all else remains the same. Whether you can make edits, or leave comments, will all depend on the permissions provided by the user who created the document, and won’t be affected by going anonymous.

This method is suitable for those who occasionally view a Google Doc anonymously, and don’t mind signing out of their account for a while.

2. Use Incognito mode

  1. If you are using Chrome, click on the ellipsis near the top-right corner and select the New Incognito window from the flyout menu. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to launch the Incognito mode.Incognito mode
  2. Once done, paste the link for the Google Docs in the address bar and hit Enter.

You would now appear anonymous since the incognito mode is isolated, and doesn’t rely on stored cookies. You can also use similar modes in other browsers to view Google Docs anonymously, for instance, Private mode in Firefox or InPrivate browsing in Edge.

This method works better for users who prefer viewing Google Docs anonymously, since they don’t have to regularly sign in and sign out of your account, thus saving some time.

Why don’t I appear anonymous in Google Docs?

Remember, you will appear anonymous only when accessing the Google Docs through a link, and not if the document has been individually shared with you. So, basically, the sharing settings should be configured such that anyone with the link can view/edit the document.

In case, someone has individually provided the permission to view/edit the Google Docs, your Google account name would appear even if you use Incognito or Private mode.

Also, you will be asked to sign in to your Google account to access the document, so the first method listed earlier won’t work as well.

Why do I need to view Google Docs anonymously?

Everyone has their reasons for it, but it’s generally to mask the identity. If you are viewing a document that has been shared been a bunch of people and don’t want others to find out when you are viewing it, go anonymous.

For instance, class notes that teachers share with students, or in some cases, official documents.

Whether to go anonymous or normally view a document depends solely on your requirements and the situation at hand.

Also, find out how to create awesome and fancy borders in Google Docs since there are no direct methods and you have to resort to workarounds.

If you have any queries, drop a comment in the section below.

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