Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

Google Docs: File Make a Copy

Google Docs: File Make a Copy

File Make a Copy

When sharing Google Docs with students one trick is to have the students make a copy.

Sharing Settings

In the upper right hand corner of a Google Doc is the blue share button. Click on this to change sharing settings from private to “anyone with the link.”
blue google share button padlock private

Control L

The link to share the document is right in the sharing screen. I usually just highlight the URL at the top of the document. The keyboard shortcut for this is Control L (Command L on a Mac) to highlight the URL and Control C to copy the URL.


I advocate having a really good classroom website (a digital haversack) that the students use to link from. Instead of asking them to go to xyz website, the students always go to your classroom website. Post the link for students to get to the document.

View Only

Since the document is view only the students can look at the template you’ve provided but they can not make changes.

Make a Copy

Teach students to go to the File menu and choose “Make a copy…” This will create a copy of the document into the students “My Drive” with the student as owner.

Google Classroom

If your class is using the new Google Classroom this workflow is something you would not need to do. However, teaching students how to make copies of documents is still a valuable skill. File->Make a Copy is also how you can share document templates with colleagues. They will want to make their own copy to use with their students.

7 thoughts on “Google Docs: File Make a Copy

  1. Someone wants to transfer 500 docs to me. If we do “transfer ownership” does that give me control so that if she deletes them from her drive I still have the docs?

  2. I am taking an online college class and we are to share our “word” or “excel” document with the class, so that they can “download it to their computer.” I instead shared the link to my g.doc as a VIEW ONLY and told the students to “File — Make a Copy” an then it will be their personal document. My professor said I may lose points because the other students won’t be able to download it. Where can they save it to their computer if they don’t have a google drive?

    1. I take the points hit when my professors tell me to use old technology like attaching files. We live in the cloud. Most students have a Google account. If they make a copy they need to be logged into their Google Account. However, the student should have no problem using the File menu to choose “Download As.” They can download as Word or PDF if they want.

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