How to lock a Google Doc to prevent editing

If you want to know how to lock a Google Doc, you’ve come to the right place.

Surprisingly, Google Docs doesn’t currently offer password protection for documents.

However, you can still limit user access and permissions to anyone with the link or only those within your organization.

Additionally, you can grant access as a viewer, commenter, or editor. 

So, this means that only users who’ve been granted access can edit a Google Doc, right? 

Wrong! A quick Google search will turn up all manner of simple methods that allow users to bypass Javascript, download, or copy and paste documents.

Those without permission are then free to edit to their heart’s content.

On this page, we will show you how to secure your documents and take back control of your collaborations.

Does Google Docs use encryption?

Here’s some good news: you don’t need to worry about how to encrypt a Google Doc.

Any files created in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides are stored in world-class data centers, which are encrypted for both storage and access.

You can only access these files online through your Google account, and to protect your documents, Gmail security includes built-in protections to deal with email spam, phishing, and malware.

How to lock a Google Doc from editing while sharing

Can you lock a Google Doc while sharing? Yes and no is the honest answer.

You can lock permissions, but some users will be able to get around these document sharing walls.

You can lock a doc from editing by following these steps:

  1. Find the document you wish to share in your Google Drive folder.
  2. Right-click on the file and select “Share”. Alternatively, double-click to open the doc, navigate to “File”, and then click “Share”.
  3. Clicking on Share will open a box saying “Share [document name].” Type names to add people or groups from your contacts to this list. 

You can also select “Copy link” and then email, text, or message this hyperlink to those you wish to share the file with. 

For better document control:

  • Click on the gear icon to access “Settings”. 
  • Uncheck both boxes to prevent editors from changing permissions or sharing and to prevent non-editors from downloading, printing, or copying the doc
  1. Before selecting “Done”, click on the dropdown box below “General access”. The default is restricted access. However, you can also select your workgroups or “Anyone with the link”

To the right is another dropdown box. Make sure this is set to one of the following:

  • Viewer: People can access the document but can’t change or share the file.
  • Commenter: People can make comments or suggestions but can’t change or share the document.

How to stop sharing a Google Doc

Another way to lock a Google Doc is to simply stop sharing the file.

Follow the steps above to arrive at the person with shared access.

To the right of their name, click on the dropdown arrow and select “Remove access”. Then click “Save”.

You can also grant temporary permission with an expiration date:

  1. Locate the document in Google Drive and open it.
  2. Click on “Share”
  3. Find the user you wish to add by typing their details into the pop-up form. If they’re not already in your contacts, you can add their email address.
  4. Click the dropdown arrow and select “Add expiry” 
  5. Set the expiry date
  6. Click “Save”

You can also delete the file from Google Docs. Those with document permissions will then immediately lose access. 

How to password protect a Google Doc

As we mentioned above, Google Docs itself doesn’t offer password protect for documents. However, one way to skirt around this is to download and use a third-party solution.  

Follow these steps:

  1. Open the document in Google Drive 
  2. Click on “File” and then highlight “Download”. Select “PDF” from the dropdown menu.
  3. Locate the PDF in your operating system’s file explorer
  4. Right-click on the file and a dialog box will appear. Depending on your PDF protection app, you’ll see something like “Secure PDF” on your screen. 
  5. From there, select the option to add a password

You can now upload your password-protected document to Google Drive.

Users won’t be able to access the file in Google Docs, but they can download it to their devices and access it using the password. 

Keep documents secure with PandaDoc

So, now you know how to lock a document in Google Docs — not so straightforward, is it?

That said, it’s essential not to put your collaborative documents at risk.

Luckily, PandaDoc can help with the secure document sharing of PDFs, DOCXs, JPGs, and other file types. From one central hub, you can send and receive collaborative docs. 

Additionally, the platform lets you control user permissions and track views and engagement in real-time. 

Try PandaDoc for free today and see how easy it is to generate secure shared documents.