Google Docs is an incredibly useful tool for collaboration and sharing documents online. However, one downside is that the links to access Google Docs files can be extremely long and cumbersome. Fortunately, there are a few easy methods you can use to shorten Google Docs links.
Why Shorten Google Docs Links
Here are some key reasons why you may want to shorten links to your Google Docs files:
- Easy sharing – Short links are much simpler to share verbally or include in emails, social posts, etc. Long links get broken up and are not very user-friendly.
- Save space – If you need to include a Google Docs link in a tweet or other platform with strict character limits, a shortened link helps you save precious space for text.
- Track clicks – Many URL shorteners provide click analytics so you can see how many people are accessing your links. This helps optimize your content.
- Customization – Some shorteners allow you to customize shortened links with your brand name or keywords.
Methods to Shorten Google Docs Links
There are a few different methods you can use to shorten links to your Google Docs files:
Use a Third-Party URL Shortener
A popular method is to use a third-party URL shortening service:
- Bitly – Industry leader in link management and analytics. Integrates with Google Drive. Free and paid plans.
- Rebrandly – Fully customizable and brandable links. Great analytics. Free and premium accounts.
- Ow.ly – Hootsuite’s link shortener. Simple setup directly within Hootsuite dashboard.
The process is generally the same across any shortening service:
- Sign up for an account
- Paste in long Google Docs link
- Shorten link and customize if desired
- Copy and share newly shortened link
Google Docs Add-ons
There are various Google Docs add-ons created specifically for shortening links within documents:
- GoLinks – One of the most popular options. Shorten links without leaving Docs.
- URL Shortener – Simple add-on to shorten current doc link or any link in doc.
- Advanced URL Shortener – Shorten multiple links at once using Bitly.
To use these, first install add-on within Google Docs. Then highlight link and use associated menu to shorten.
Use Alternate Link Option
Google Drive and Google Docs have a built-in option to generate an “alternate link” which is slightly shorter than the original:
- In Google Drive or Docs, click the “Share” button
- Click the drop-down next to the link and select “Get shareable link”
- Check the box for “Shorten URL” and copy link
The shortened link will redirect to the original Google Doc link.
For advanced users, Zapier provides integration with URL shorteners like Bitly. This allows you to automatically generate short links every time you create a new Google Doc in a folder.
Best Practices for Sharing Short Links
When sharing shortened Google Docs links, keep these best practices in mind:
- Always preview the document before sharing link publicly
- Use view access settings to limit who can access
- Customize links with keywords or branded name
- Disable link if you no longer want document shared
- Use UTM campaign tags to track traffic sources
- Include context around what the link connects to
Pros and Cons of Link Shortening
- More user-friendly links
- Conserve character space
- Built-in analytics
- Customizable links
- Improved click-through rates
- Reliance on third-party service
- Additional setup time
- Link breakage if shortener service shuts down
- Limitations with free url shorteners
Overall, the pros of shortening Google Docs links drastically outweigh the cons in most use cases. Taking a few minutes to shorten links can greatly improve the sharing experience.