Create a Copy Link with Google

Terry VanNoy
PD Specialist
News on October 26 2020

When you find you need to share an editable document with students, you have a few options available to you within Google.

If you’re using Google Classroom to distribute your document, you can create an assignment and choose to distribute it as individual handouts before posting it.  

If you’re using and distributing a Google Doc or Slides file you can do so by choosing to share access on the following levels:

  • Viewer – allows the other person viewing rights.
  • Commenter – allows the other person to comment only.
  • Editor – allows the other person to comment and make edits.

However, there may be times when students will be required to make their own copy of the document you shared. 

If you don’t want them to edit your original document, or if you want them to use the document as a template, create a copy link  for your students to help eliminate confusion and error. With this option students can make their own copy of the file and rename it appropriately.

How to create a copy link

1. Open the Google file you want to share (Doc, Slide, Sheet, PDF, or anything stored in your Google Drive).

2. Change the sharing settings:

  • Click the blue Share button in the upper right corner
  • Change the Get link mode to Anyone with the link and Editor
  • Tap Copy link

3. Replace the highlighted portion of this internet web address (URL) with copy instead of edit, as seen below.

4. Copy this new URL and share it in your Google Classroom, on your website, or in an email message to your students.

5. When people click on your link, they will be brought to a page that looks like this:



6. Train your students to click the link and rename your file with a specific naming protocol for your classroom, such as: THEIR NAME – <original name of your file>

Using this copy link strategy not only makes it easier for you to share documents with students as assignments, but enables students to put the file in their Google cloud storage and complete their work in a way that doesn’t affect your own files.


Looking for more tips and tricks for your Google experiences in your learning environments? Be sure to check out more articles on our blog.

We also offer virtual professional development, training, and remote learning support for educators with OTIS for educators. Explore the technology, tools, and strategies that can spark student success — no matter where teaching or learning are happening.

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