Ive got a Google Drive spreadsheet that is shared with a specified number of people. At one stage there was possibly a Google Apps Script as part of the spreadsheet, but i think this is now removed.

When I go to the sharing preferences I see this: (see screenshot below)

screenshot of sharing settings / preferences

But the banner at the top says the last change was made by anonymous... how can this be?

screenshot of "anonymous edit 3 minutes ago banner"


Some people have suggested the reason is to do with the fact that the document is shared on an "anyone with the link can edit / view" setting. But this is not the case. The comment below also refers to another thread, but in that thread the question relates to a document where the access is set to "anyone with the link can edit / view"

  • Related: webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/106407/…
    – user159892
    Mar 28, 2018 at 14:59
  • Was the spreadsheet ever shared with anyone with the link? Does it have a linked Google Form, have a bounded script, an add-on or do you know if the owner or an editor created a standalone script that access the spreadsheet? Dec 15, 2019 at 16:49
  • @Rubén Google Form - No, have a bounded script - Possibly see question below, an add-on - Yes. For the add-on and script would they not show as being run by the person who applied them ? What is a bound script ? Is that a custom google drive script ? If so Yes.
    – sam
    Dec 17, 2019 at 12:27

4 Answers 4


I have run into this before. If you are using a Google Form, Google is under anonymous when it re-uploads more information. It could also be you (Or the owner of the document) isn't allowing others to see the information. Next to the comment button in the top right of the screen there is a little lightning bolt line with an arrow pointing up. If you click on that, it opens up your activity dashboard. You can see who has viewed youe document and when they did. Under privacy settings in the subhead, you can select or deselect options on what people can and can't see. If it is deselected, you may see an anonymous.


From Anonymous or unknown people in a file (Google Docs Editors Help)

Anonymous animals in a private file

If you turn off link sharing, you still might see multiple anonymous animals:

  • When someone opens the file multiple times. It may take some time for people no longer viewing to disappear.
  • If someone opens the link through a messenger service. Some services will check links for phishing, virus attacks, or malware.
  • When someone uses a browser extension or script that automatically follows the link.

NOTE: Any editor could create/use a script to access the spreadsheet.



It's possible that someone you shared the document with is editing it while not being signed in; or you shared it with the setting 'anyone with the link' and it was forwarded.

read this google doc here

you should be able to see the email address by going to sharing - advanced

  • someone you shared the document with is editing it while not being signed in have you tried that? It's not possible.
    – user159892
    Apr 3, 2018 at 8:31
  • yeah sorry, the image didn;t expand on mobile and i couldn't read your security settings. if you shared via link it would be possible but not privately. did one of the editor's change their google account name? Apr 3, 2018 at 15:26

If you shared the file as a link and had permission set up with "Anyone with the link can edit" then all someone needs is a link to edit the file. If the person who edited the file is not logged in with his/her G Suite account then all the edits made would appear under "anonymous".

Please take a look at the link for further reference: https://support.google.com/docs/answer/2494888?hl=en

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