I own a Google spreadsheet that I have shared with view-only permissions with other users.

I would like to edit the spreadsheet but prevent the other users from seeing the changes until I decide to make them public.

If this document was a PDF, I could simply upload a new version. Can I do something similar with a Google spreadsheet?

  • What Google Sheets features do you need to be available to viewers? As was requested by Tedinoz, please edit the question to add all the relevant in the question body. Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 16:08
  • 2
    @Rubén Does it matter what features they're using? I think the question in its current form is useful for a wider audience, and the drawbacks of each approach can be covered in any potential answer.
    – Laurel
    Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 18:27
  • @Laurel Yes, it matters. Questions should be practical and detailed. Ref. tour. Also, considering that google-sheets has thousands of questions and answers on this site, recent questions should briefly describe the most relevant questions and why they don't meet the OP's needs. Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 18:32
  • Are you open to solutions that don't use Google spreadsheets? Have you considered "Publish to the Web"? It isn't clear exactly what you need from a solution or why simply staging your changes in a copy of the spreadsheet wouldn't meet your needs. Please edit the question to address some of the comments that have been made.
    – Blindspots
    Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 1:14

1 Answer 1


Yes, but only with spreadsheets marked as .xlsx

You can get the same exact behavior as PDFs, but only with certain spreadsheets. It's a little complicated to understand why, however.

There are two types of documents in Google Drive, native (Docs, Sheets, Slides) and non-native (all other documents, including some that can be converted to native docs). In the case of spreadsheets, the native ones are marked with the "+" (cross) icon, while non-native (Excel) files are marked with an "X" and show the extension .xlsx. You can convert non-native documents to native ones (if they are text documents, spreadsheets, or slide shows in an appropriate format), and it seems Google has even added support for editing non-native sheets online without converting them. Here's what the difference looks like in Drive:

"sheet" (native) vs "sheet.xlsx" (non-native)

The three dot menu for the file on the right (the non-native one) has the option "File Information > Manage Versions" which will allow new versions to be uploaded. You can work on your changes in a native file online, download it as .xlsx, and re-upload to a single public spreadsheet that is a non-native (.xlsx) file.

See also Use both Excel & Sheets: Best practices

"Copy to" works

If you don't need to move too many tabs (and you're not relying on complicated formulas involving tab names), you can use the menu on the tab you want to move, and select "Copy to > Existing spreadsheet":

You will need to do a little shuffling on the public copy (deleting the old tab and maybe renaming) but this does work.


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