Staying anonymous on the internet is something that so many people wish to achieve. It’s no surprise that 35% of people who know about private or incognito browsing use it. VPNs, another popular way to achieve anonymity, are also used by many people. More than two in every three adults who use the internet in the US have a VPN.
These days, our privacy on the internet is becoming more and more of an issue. Everyone wants to have control over who sees what they are doing and who doesn’t. I believe we should all have a choice in how anonymous we want to be online, even down to the smallest things, like your presence on Google Docs.
Google Docs is a major platform used for group work and collaboration by teams. Viewing projects in Google Docs or making changes will typically be stamped with your name. However, if you would prefer to be left anonymous with any changes, then there are ways to handle that.
If you want to know more about how to appear anonymous on Google Docs, then you have come to the right place.
Do you have a particular question about staying anonymous in Google Docs? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page.
Here's what we'll cover:
Why am I anonymous in Google Docs?
If you have access to a Google Docs file, but you are not logged into your Google account, you will show as an anonymous viewer. That is no surprise. That is how it should be, after all.
However, on some occasions, you may notice that you show as being anonymous even when you are logged into your Google account. Why is that happening?
Well, the answer is quite simple. Suppose you accessed the file via a link, but you were not explicitly invited. In that case, you are likely to show as anonymous. Only the people invited to that file will have their names show up, even if the file is public.
How to become anonymous on Google Docs on purpose?
There are many valid reasons you may not want to show up as having viewed or edited a Google Docs file. For instance, if your name is plastered right in the open, other people viewing the file will have your name and be able to contact you through email. It is understandable to not want this.
Whatever your reason is for wanting to view Google Docs anonymously, you’ll be very happy to know that you can do it.
If you want to be anonymous on Google Docs, there are two methods you can use, though they essentially work on the same basis. Regardless, you may find either of the two to be preferable for you.
To show up as anonymous on a Google Doc, just do either of the following:
- Log out of your Gmail account before clicking on the document link. As long as the document is public, you will access it even when you are logged out. You will simply show up as one of the anonymous animals instead of having your name on display when you do this.
- Use a private window or incognito mode. If you would rather not go through the fuss of logging out every time you want to view a document anonymously. And then have to log back in when you’re done. You can use a private window instead. Every major browser has an incognito mode these days. Simply open one of these windows and open the link there. Incognito windows are never logged in to any of your accounts. So there’s no need to log in or out when using one of these windows. When you return to your regular browser, you’ll still be signed in! That’s hassle-free!
What are the anonymous animals on Google Docs?
You’ll notice that you show as an anonymous animal whenever you are anonymous on a Google Docs file. Suppose you’re currently viewing the file with several other anonymous users. In that case, you’ll see that you are all anonymous animals, but a different animal for each of you.
The origin behind this was simply to have a friendlier way to number anonymous users. The Google team chose to use animals and give them all their own icons. There are about 70 of them.
Here is a list of some of the most interesting anonymous animals on Google Docs:
- Nyan Cat
How to make Google Docs anonymous?
There’s actually no way to have what is truly an anonymous Google doc. This is because you cannot even create a Google Docs file without logging into a Gmail account. The name of the owner will permanently be attached to the document.
Suppose you want to share Google doc anonymously without anyone knowing it was you. In that case, there is one slightly convoluted way to achieve this.
Because an owner is always attached to the Google Doc file that they make, the only option you have is to create a new (or, let’s say, fake) Gmail account. By giving this a name completely unrelated to you, even people who view the owner’s name won’t tell who the person is.
This might be a little stressful, but if making an anonymous file is that important to you, this is essentially the only way that you can quickly achieve this.
Credits: Thanks for the photo to Canva.
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