Google docs are the best free alternative to Microsoft Office. Moreover, Google Docs provides the flexibility of being a web-based app; there is no need to install on your local PC. Google offers Google Sheets to replace Microsoft Excel, and there are more web based applications from Google to replace Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and similar office tools.
Google lets you create, work and share these office documents with your teammates or office mates with a valid Gmail account. The beauty of this web application is more than one member can work on this document at a time; an ideal solution to draft your school project with your team.
By default, Google allows sharing Google Docs or Google sheet to other users with a valid Gmail ID. You can limit their access to the document in the different level like view/comment/edit etc. Google Spread Sheet may have multiple sheets, and there is no easy solution to share these individual sheets with your team members. We are going to discuss a solution to share only a particular sheet from a multiple sheets Google Spread Sheet.
This workaround is very useful for schools, a small-scale business where they want to share individual sheets with particular people. The solution is a bit tricky, but works well and easy to implement. Let’s take a two sheet Google Spread Sheet as an example and will show you how to share only the sheet named “Summary” with one of the team members.
Step 1: Protect Google Spread Sheet (primary) to limit access to specific people
This step is very important since we are going to use a link to share the primary document with an another user. Google documents can view in public or viewable to anybody with a share link. You can change this access and limit only to certain members that you allow.
Open the required Google spreadsheet (we say primary sheet) and click on the Share button on the right top corner of the document. Now click on Advanced from the “Share with others” window. Now you will be on ShareSettings window, click on “Change” link. Chose “Off – Specific people” from the next Link sharing window and click on Save button.
This step is critical since you are going to expose the share link with your team and you have to make sure they won’t be able to access your entire spreadsheet with this shared link.
Step 2: Get Google Sheet Share Link
Once you complete the above step, now you will be back on “Sharing settings” window and you can copy the link from the share window. Keep this link saved in notepad or somewhere for future use. If you miss this link, you can always come back to this screen and get the share link.
To get the Google Sheet share link from the main screen, click on Share > Advanced > Link to share. Alternatively, you can get the same link from File Menu > Share > Advanced > Link to share.
Step 3: Create a new Google Spreadsheet (secondary) to share with your team members
Now you need to create a new spreadsheet to share with the user. This is the sheet you are going to share with your team. Just go to Google Sheet application window and create a new spreadsheet with a valid name. There is no need to type any data inside of this sheet at this point.
Step 4: Import Google Individual spreadsheet to new Google Sheet
Well, in this step we are going to import the required individual Google sheet from the primary document to new Google Spread Sheet (secondary) that you created in Step 3. We are going to use a function called
“IMPORTRANGE” The syntax is:-
IMPORTRANGE (spreadsheet key, range_string)
We chose row A1 to type Spread Sheet heading and used row A2 to insert the function. The import function is like this;
=IMPORTRANGE(“sheet (primary) share link”,”share sheet name!share range start column: share range end column
In our example, we inserted the following URL and press Enter once you complete. In this function, the URL is the same that we got in Step 2, Summary is the tab or sheet name from Primary Google Spread Sheet, and A & F are the cell ranges that you want to share. Don’t forget to insert the ‘!’ after sheet name and ‘:’ between row letters in the function.
Now you will see on A2 “#REF! and hover your cursor on top of it and click Allow Access. The secondary sheet will import the values now from primary Google Spread Sheet specified tab/sheet.
This trick will import only the values from the primary sheet. You have to take care the styling and renaming of the secondary sheet as per your requirement.
Step 5: Provide your members’ limited access to new Google sheet
You have to define the limited access to your team members. Click on Share button > Share with others window > Enter Gmail address of your team member > Change the access from “Can edit” to “Can comment”. This step protects new Google spreadsheet users from altering the share link that may expose more information than you intend to share.
Now you are done with the Google Spreadsheet tab sharing. Whenever you make any changes in the Primary Google Spreadsheet tab, the secondary sheet values will automatically update with primary table values.
You can use this workaround to share individual tabs of a Google Spreadsheet with separate members from your team.
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The only downside is, you have to create separate secondary Google spreadsheets for each member on your team, but this will give you high security and your primary spreadsheet will be isolated and secure from other team members.