Following a concern expressed by a user at How to share a Google Sheets demo spreadsheet.

The problem with sharing it editable is that anyone can trash the sheet. Surely it's better just to share it read-only and let people make their own copies to work on.

The above genuine concern extends to any file stored in my Google Drive.

So I decided instead of replying using a comment, to turn it to a full question.

Can a publicly shared file stored in my Google Drive be deleted by someone having "Anyone with the link" editor rights?

1 Answer 1


Short answer. No.
None of the editors having "Anyone with the link" editor rights can delete the file.
The only person who can delete this file is the owner of the file.

You can see that when changing the sharing permissions of a file to Anyone with the link can Edit, the option of changing the settings is greyed out with the message Settings are disabled for public links

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Furthermore, when within the file Edit menu , the option of moving the file is greyed out as well.

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One can only use the Add a shortcut to Drive.
Even if one later decides to delete this created shortcut from the drive, the original file remains intact.

You can safely, publicly share, any file stored in your Google Drive using "Anyone with the link" editor rights.
Your publicly shared file will never be deleted by anyone else but you.

Sleep deprived part amended following the accurate comment by doubleunary.

Important Note
Please do NOT confuse the above with editors added under Share with people and groups.
They CAN delete the file and even deprive you of your rights as the owner.

  • 1
    Good stuff. I do not think the very last paragraph is accurate though. The owner is the only one that can transfer ownership or delete the file. In the original question, the "anyone can trash the sheet" bit may have the meaning "anyone can modify and delete data in the spreadsheet so it becomes useless", which remains true. Perhaps recommend sharing the spreadsheet as "anyone can edit", but protect the sample sheet within the spreadsheet? The sheet can be duplicated within the spreadsheet to illustrate a solution, and the solution provider can further protect the solution sheet. Commented Apr 17, 2021 at 7:37
  • @doubleunary Sleep deprived part amended. As for your suggestion will also be added (if you so wish) to the answer in due time. After all the images have to be updated as well. Thank you and sorry for insisting.. Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 8:08
  • When I said "trashed", I didn't mean "deleted", although I see the confusion. I meant "wrecked", edited so that it no longer is usable.
    – PhilHibbs
    Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 10:47

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