Google allows me to make the file private but I am not sure that making it private has effect.

  • 2
    Well, if you log out of your google account then go to the public URL for the folder, can you open the file?
    – EBGreen
    Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 17:08
  • I have created this question because I can see them. Might be I just failed to exit properly.
    – Val
    Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 19:08

1 Answer 1


I created a public folder. When I attempt to create a new document in that folder, Google Drive tells me:

Do you want to create the element in a shared folder? The created element will have the same sharing settings as the selected folder.

This suggests that I can't have a private document in a shared folder.

But what if I created the document first, then made the folder public?

So I made the folder private again, and created a document in it.

Then I reverted the folder to public. Inspecting the document's sharing settings, it is now Anyone with the link. Then I changed the document's sharing setting to Private.

Opening an incognito window in Chrome, pasting in the link to the document, gives me the Google login form.

I also created a new document in the folder, without altering its sharing settings. This is viewable in the incognito window.

Visiting the folder in the incognito window gives me a list containing only the public document. When logged in, I see both documents.

So yes, it does seem you can have a private document in a public folder. The folder's setting merely acts as a default for documents in that folder with no explicit setting.

  • 1
    +1 for reminding that google distracts people suggesting that they cannot have private document in public folder
    – Val
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 15:25
  • 2
    +1, take note that you must test the accessibility with another account/browser/incognito. Because the file will still be visible from the 'public folder' if you are logged on.
    – Pacerier
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 10:53
  • +1 but it seems risky without google confirmation. What if it's a bug? What if it only works for some time? If google say it's not possible, and if your private document endup beeing visible, google won't be responsible. It could simply say "I told you to don't to it".
    – JinSnow
    Commented May 24, 2020 at 9:22

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