Is there any way to send the readers of a Google document to "Viewing" mode instead of the default "Suggesting" mode using a public URL?

With the current behavior it is an administrative burden for the document owner to deny accidental edits by readers that the system sends as suggestions

  • 1
    How are sharing the document (edit, view or comment)? Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 16:16
  • I mean sharing online via a public url, not sharing to specific users with assigned rights to them Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 19:42
  • It's possible to use a public URL to give permissions to edit, view or comment. Check that you set "View" rather than any of the other two permissions. Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 20:04
  • So, one could have multiple such public URLs, one for Comments and a separate one for View? However, what I would like to have is a public URL where one can see the document in View mode and switch to Comments mode from that button that I think is shown top-rightish Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 13:14
  • 2
    Q: "So, one could have multiple such public URLs,..." A: No. Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 16:33

4 Answers 4


At this time it's not possible.

The workaround is to make the public URL for view only and that users that want to edit the document request permission to comment.


  • not very useful as it is now I'm afraid Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 23:24

When creating the link to the Google Doc that you want to share, make sure to set its permission to "Viewer", instead of "Commenter" or "Editor".

(See the documentation.)

  • see comments above, commenting permission is wanted, but the user should explicitly switch to that mode to avoid accidental edits Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 22:20

If your goal is simply to have the casual user have a view-only mode, and a link you can share that gives that, this can be accomplished by editing the final portion of the URL from e.g. /edit to /preview.

Note that, of course, this doesn't stop even a slightly savvy user from changing it back to /edit, and obtaining whatever permissions that URL would otherwise have granted to them.

This gives a simpler UI (no menus or account selection or the like), with no capacity to do anything but viewing, without changing the URL. If/when that's what you want (disabling edits by default, without truly restricting access), it works great. (At least it did for me, as of the time of this posting.)

  • see comments above, commenting permission is wanted, but the user should explicitly switch to that mode to avoid accidental edits Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 7:58
  • 1
    Gotcha. Well, unfortunately, I'm unaware of a way to have the editing UI (and thus allow commenting) with it starting out in "viewing" mode. So, I guess this answer won't work for you. It was helpful for me to learn this, however, so I'll leave the answer in hopes of it helping others who lack the need for commenting, but want a read-only(-ish) URL to share.
    – lindes
    Commented Nov 9, 2021 at 21:19

You might want to consider publishing the document to the web instead. Click "File" within Google Docs, and then click "Publish to the web".

This is different from just sharing a public to the Google document, as the version that is published to the web hides all Google Docs controls.

  • contributions to the doc are wanted, but the author of the doc doesn't want to have it published by default in editing mode, but in reading mode instead to avoid accidental editing by readers (which ends up as silly [for accidental edits] suggestions sent to the author) Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 22:19

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