Why can’t I edit this Google Sheet that was shared with me? ?

You’ve probably come to this page feeling pretty frustrated that you’ve received a link to a Google Sheet, Google Slide or Google Doc in an email or found a link to one of these documents in a website or even one of my tutorials, but you just can’t edit it. You can’t update the text and even half of the menu bar is greyed out!


What’s going on?

It means that you have been given only View permissions to this document.


Generally, it’s because any changes in a Google Workspace Document, (Sheets, Slides, Docs) will be displayed for anyone who has access to the document. So if you add or delete something in a document, then other editors, commentators and people with view-only access will see the change in near real-time.


There are three main reasons why an owner of a document will provide View-only access to users:

1. It might have only been meant for you to read-only.

Maybe you get an email from another department from work with a new policy that they have. You don’t really need to make edits to this. You just need to read it, right?

If you think this might be the case, but you want to be able to access the document in your personal folder, you can go to File > Add a shortcut to Drive. This will save a short cut to the file in your own Google Drive to help you to better organise your documents.

You still won’t be able to edit the document, but you don’t need to.

Also, the owner or the editors of the documents can also make copies of the document after you have made the shortcut if they need to.

2. It might be an example document or template.

In my tutorials, I often provide links to templates or example documents. Here again, I only ever provide view access.

However, you can create your own copy of these documents easily, by going to File > Make a copy. You will then be prompted to move the copy into a desired folder in your Google Drive.  Once done, a new window will appear in your browser. You will then have your very own copy of the document that is owned by you. You can now edit it and it will not affect the original document, because they are two separate documents.

3. The owner may have forgot to make you an editor.

Maybe the owner of the document was meant to give you edit permission but may have forgot.

Now before you get too excited, there is one thing you might want to check to save yourself some embarrassment. Go up to the top of your sheet and check to see if you are using the correct account for this sheet. You can do that in the top-right corner of the document and confirm you are using the right avatar.

Perhaps the owner has given you edit permission to the document in another one of your accounts, like a work account.

If you are in the wrong account, simply change to your correct account and check to see if you have edit permission.

If you are in the correct account and you are certain you should have edit permission, then you can select the View Only button and then click Request view access. An email will be sent to the owner and they can decide if you need edit access.

Why so much build-up to this last option? Well, you can imagine that it can be a little frustrating to get a bunch of emails from people who don’t actually need edit access.

Fortunately, there is a workaround to receiving a bunch of emails requesting edit access unnecessarily. Check out the tutorial below:


Check out the video:


Did you enjoy the tutorial? Want to upskill and get a solid step-by-step course to become a pro at Google Sheets? Check out my course, Google Sheets: Learn the Essentials with Three Detailed Projects. Sign up today.

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Google Apps Script: Automated PDF Certificated Creator That Is Emailed to the Attendee (Updated Feb 2022)

Google Apps Script: DriveApp, PropertiesService, SpreadsheetApp, GmailApp, SlidesApp. Google Slides, Google Sheets.

Have you ever wondered how people create certificates en mass and send them out automatically? You are in the right place.

In this tutorial, we are going to:

  1. Create Certificates of Attendance for multiple attendees using Google Slides and a list of attendees in Google Sheets.
  2. Send those certificates as an attached PDF to the attendees.

We’ll set it up so it is super user-friendly with a handy menu in your Google Slide template so that all you have to do is to update your Google Sheet of names each time you run the course and then click a few buttons.

Google Apps Script Menu Items in Google Slides

Also, we will run an example so you can see how it all works and what you need to do to set it up.

For the coders out there, I think I have documented the Google Apps Script code enough for you to figure out how to quickly implement your own project. However, I have also added a smalls discussion of some parts of the code at the end.

This is a standalone tutorial. However, it draws from two main tutorials if you want to explore those first (Though it is not essential):

Let’s get cracking.

Continue reading “Google Apps Script: Automated PDF Certificated Creator That Is Emailed to the Attendee (Updated Feb 2022)”

Create a Student Certificate of Attendance with Google Slides and Export it as a PDF or Print it

Google Slides – Beginners

I always enjoy finding new ways to create documents using the Google Suite. One project I have recently worked on has been to build a Certificate of Attendance template that I can update for non-grades courses or conferences.

Why do this using a GSuite package?

Well, 1, if you haven’t noticed, I’m kinda into Google stuff and, 2, I can automate quickly using Google Apps Script and a list of students in Google Sheets so that I can produce all my student’s certificates all at once and automatically convert them to PDF.

If you are new to Google Slides, no problem. We will keep this basic. If you are a pro, skim through for some hot tips and stay tuned for a more technical follow up.

Continue reading “Create a Student Certificate of Attendance with Google Slides and Export it as a PDF or Print it”

How to stop getting Google document requests to edit from users outside your organisation from publicly viewable files. (Updated Feb 2022)

G Suite – Paid editions, Gmail, Google Sheets, Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Drive

Recently, I had updated all the course materials in a learning management system (Not Google Classroom. Sorry Google) to only use Google Workspace files like Docs, Sheets and Slides for students to access.

For me, this was a pretty logical step. It allowed course creators to update their files live when they had to correct errors or make minor changes quarter-to-quarter or year-to-year. Administratively, it meant that files did not have to be accounted for, deleted and updated every time a change was made.

The Problem

While time-consuming, the changeover went well as we changed all of the student resources into Google files. We set all the files to be accessible to anyone with the link can view (The organization does not have student accounts on the same domain as the staff).

Google sharing settings

However, in the back of my mind, there was a problem I knew I needed to address. The dreaded request for access to edit. With over 3,500 students on the program and hundreds of files for them to access, it would be a huge pain if some of these students clicked that view and requested edit access.

Google Docs View Only - Request Edit Access

There is no way to prevent users from not being able to do this within the document’s share options. Likewise, my organisation may want to allow requests inside the domain (for example name@yagisanatode.com is okay, but name@gmail.com is not).

The Solution – Gmail Filters

Continue reading “How to stop getting Google document requests to edit from users outside your organisation from publicly viewable files. (Updated Feb 2022)”

Google Apps Script: Google Standard Color Palette Picker for Sidebar and Dialog Boxes in Google Sheets, Google Docs and Google Slides (Updated Feb 2022)

Google Apps Script: Dev Tools, Color Picker, Side Bar, Custom Prompt, HtmlService, onOpen, Sidebar, Dialog Box

I wanted to update one of my free Google Add-on apps that works with colour. What I had is just the standard HTML color input element where the user selects from the palette and that hexadecimal colour code is returned to Google Apps Script to be used in the App. The problem is that it is really hard to get a good colour match between the palette and Google’s own colour range that is accessible from the fill or text colour buttons.

Take a look at the comparison between the HTML color input element and the Google Sheet background colour palette in the image below.

Color input vs google sheet palette colours

That’s not a user-friendly tool to match colours with the standard Google palette.

So in the back of my mind, I had always wanted to create a tool for a sidebar or dialogue box that would allow the user to easily access the standard colours or use the custom palette provided by the HTML color input.

After finding a bit of time in my recent summer break I came up with this.

Google Color array picker

And this is how it looks in action:

(Note: add-ons has been updated to Extensions)

Continue reading “Google Apps Script: Google Standard Color Palette Picker for Sidebar and Dialog Boxes in Google Sheets, Google Docs and Google Slides (Updated Feb 2022)”