My friend has shared a file with me on Google Drive and I would like to be notified whenever changes are made to the file (pretty reasonable request I'd say):

You can set notifications to find out when your collaborators have modified your spreadsheets, and learn what sheets or cells they've modified. You can also choose how often you'd like to be notified. Here's how you can enable notifications:

  1. Click Share at the top right of the spreadsheet and select Set Notification Rules.

  2. In the window that appears, select when and how often you want to receive notifications:

    a. When changes are made to the entire spreadsheet

    b. When changes are made to a specific sheet

    c. When changes are made to specific cells

    d. When collaborators are added or removed

    e. When changes are made to forms

    f. By 'daily digest' or 'right away'

  3. Click Save.


I've tried to follow the steps but I'm stuck on step 2.. for example, when I hit share I'd get this screen:


How do we set up notifications for documents shared to us in Google Sheets?

  • 1
    If your question was about Google Docs rather than Google Spreadsheets, please change the question tag from google-spreadsheets to google-documents
    – yurkennis
    Aug 20, 2015 at 0:38
  • … and don't post your own answer which demonstrates how it's done for a Google Speadsheet, not a Document. This is nuts!
    – vucalur
    Apr 19, 2017 at 12:19
  • @vucalur: At the time this question was asked, Google Drive was known as Google Docs, and there wasn't a Google Spreadsheets tag. If you look at the quoted portion, it specifically mentions spreadsheets. So the solution offered is obviously what the Asker was after.
    – ale
    Apr 19, 2017 at 13:33
  • My bad - didn't read the question body carefully. I also got influenced by @yurkennis's comment. Following marked with bold should be reworded in the title then: "How do we set up notifications for documents shared to us in Google Docs?" along with reverting my tag edits. But I won't suggest anything here as I'm totally confused whether this questions should be exclusively about spreadsheets or not. If spreadsheets only, then all the answers except Pacerier's one are off-topic.
    – vucalur
    Apr 19, 2017 at 14:10
  • Quick look at the revisions ("retagging") shows that it was not only me who got confused.
    – vucalur
    Apr 19, 2017 at 14:12

5 Answers 5


@Pacerier's answer is correct — for a spreadsheet. For a word processing document or presentation, that menu does not exist.

As far as I have found, word processing and presentation documents provide notifications for updates to comments, but not the content of the document. Comment notifications seem to be enabled by default and can be changed by clicking the Comments button (next to the Share button, in the top right area of the page) and then Notification Settings.

  • 1
    This is correct, but it should have been a comment or edit to the answer above. Only post your own answer if your approach actually differs from others. Feb 18, 2013 at 18:43
  • 1
    @user99572isfine - you need 50 reputation to be able to comment on posts other than your own.
    – ChrisF
    Feb 18, 2013 at 23:07
  • @ChrisF, very true.. sadly, this is a problem that needs fixing but was never fixed
    – Pacerier
    Feb 19, 2013 at 8:23
  • I agree with all of the above. Thanks for not downvoting.
    – Matt
    Feb 21, 2013 at 0:10

You are clicking the Share button - you need to click to the small drop down arrow at the end of the button and then select Notification rules...

Google Docs Notifications

Direct link to image: https://i.sstatic.net/uQggo.png


It appears that you are using the new look Google Documents which has a different layout than the normal layout.

There doesn't seem to be anyway of doing this with the new look Google Documents. The best thing to do would be to report this as a bug to Google.

To go back to the classic look you need to click the Help menu then select Use the classic look

Reverting to the Classic look will not change anything, however.

  • I do not have that arrow.. btw the image isn't displaying.
    – Pacerier
    Oct 3, 2011 at 17:56
  • @Pacerier: What browser are you using? Do you know what permissions you have on the shared document? You are going to have to provide a bit more detail other than "it doesn't work". I have provided a direct link to the image (which is hosted on imgur by the way) Oct 3, 2011 at 18:16
  • I'm using Chrome. I'm sure I have view permissions, since I can "view", shouldn't I also be able to have the functionality to be notified whenever the document is changed? (seems to be compatible with the "view" status): i.imgur.com/fVKyq.jpg
    – Pacerier
    Oct 3, 2011 at 19:34
  • @Pacerier: I have updated my answer. Oct 3, 2011 at 19:55

The question was not about spreadsheets, but about word processing documents. The answer appears to be that if you are using the new format, the notifications option is not available as it was in the classic version -- major oversight.


There is a script. It looks like the document needs to be placed in the root directory and there doesn't seem to be a way to turn on notifications for some contributors and not others. Still, it's better than nothing! See http://techawakening.org/get-notification-when-any-google-document-edited/3055/

Note, to get this to run, I had to modify line 42 and change 60 to 30.

I don't know for certain yet if it gives the desired results.

  • 1
    "to get this to run, I had to modify line 42 and change 60 to 30" -- seems not necessary any more: for me the script seems to work fine just out the box, with no modifications.
    – yurkennis
    Aug 19, 2015 at 19:31

This is possible with Google Spreadsheets. Use (Tools >> Notification Rules):

enter image description here

  • This does not exist for documents.
    – Flimm
    Aug 15, 2016 at 13:29

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