Sharing documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, and drawings publicly allows collaboration and transparency. Google offers easy ways to find publicly shared files on their platform. This guide will show you how to locate open Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms and Drawings.
Search Google Itself
The easiest way to find public Google files is to use Google search with advanced operators. Here’s how:
Use Site: Operator
site: operator allows searching a specific website. To find public Google Docs, use:
Add keywords after to narrow it down. For example:
site:docs.google.com how to knit a scarf
This works for Slides, Sheets, Forms and Drawings too. Just change the domain:
Search by File Type
Use Google’s file type search to show only specific Google file kinds:
Again, add keywords to narrow it down.
Find Publicly Editable Files
"viewers can edit" will show Google files left open for public editing:
site:docs.google.com "viewers can edit"
Use Google Site Search
Google Site Search allows searching within sites. Here’s how to use it to find public Google files.
Navigate to Site Search
Go to Google Site Search and sign in with your Google account.
Create Custom Search Engine
Click “Add” to make a new Custom Search Engine. Name it whatever you like.
Configure Sites to Search
Under “Sites to search”, add the Google domains you want to search through, like:
Save your search engine.
Use Your Search Engine
You can now search just within Google Docs, Slides etc. Add keywords to narrow by topic.
This works well for niche searches, while using Google search is better for general queries.
Check Out Public File Directories
Some public directories collect and categorize open Google files.
File Cabinet has a directory of publicly editable Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. Files are organized by topic areas like education, health, finance and more.
Awesome Public Datasets
The Awesome Public Datasets GitHub repo gathers links to public Google Sheets and Docs. Datasets are available on topics like government, finance, machine learning and more.
Browsing these collections can uncover cool public files.
Use Third-Party Search Engines
Specialized search engines index the wider web, including public Google files.
Searx is an open source metasearch engine that aggregates results from other search services while protecting privacy. It indexes public Google files.
site:docs.google.com or another Google domain to narrow the results.
Oscobo is a visual search engine covering many sites. It turns up some public Google files in its results.
Finding publicly shared Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms and Drawings is easy once you know where to look. Use Google search operators, Google Site Search, public directories and alternative search engines to discover open files on any topic.