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If a person has shared a Google Docs with me can they see if I have viewed or downloaded that document?

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If you click on a file in Google Drive, there should be an "Activity" tab. For Google Documents, I see entries when people make comments or edit, but I don't see any entries for "viewed" or "downloaded".

The "Expert Reply" to a question on the Google Product Forums leads to the "View activity & file versions" page in Google Drive Help, which jibes with what I'm seeing.

See changes made to your files in Drive and keep track of who made those changes. You might see changes when someone:

  • Edits or comments in Google Docs
  • Renames a file or folder
  • Moves or removes a file or folder
  • Uploads a new file to a folder
  • Shares or unshares an item

So, no, it doesn't appear that someone will see if/when you view or download a file.

| improve this answer | |
  • Is it working in gmail.com ? – Kangarooo Sep 21 '18 at 18:19
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You can now see view (but not downloads) if you click on Tools > Activity dashboard...

More details about this feature can be found here.

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  • doesn't seem to work for Gmail, only for company accounts – Cat Aug 31 '18 at 18:13
  • Does it work at all? – Kangarooo Sep 21 '18 at 17:37
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You can see the number of people in real time who are viewing your Google Docs, simply open the doc and in the right hand corner of the screen you'll see the number of unique users who are currently viewing the document. In the screenshot below you’ll see that there are three unique users viewing the document.

Screenshot Google Docs

So unless the person who shared the doc with you has it open at the same time they won't know that you've viewed or downloaded it.

If someone did want to know when you've viewed or downloaded their document I'd consider moving your document to Google Drive and using a document tracking plugin like Orangedox | Track your Documents. This will let you track every preview of your document including each unique user who’ve viewed or downloaded it.

Disclaimer: I work for Orangedox

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