Creating Direct Download Links to your Files on Google Drive
Learn how to create direct links to your files and documents on Google Drive that will download the file instead of opening them in the browser.
You can upload files of virtually all types to your Google Drive – from documents to movies to zip archives – and people with whom you have shared the file can easily view them in the browser itself. The Google Docs web viewer is pretty capable and can render all the popular formats including Photoshop files and AutoCAD drawings.
That’s a useful feature but sometimes you may want to bypass the built-in Google Docs viewer and force the browser to download the file instead of opening it. Thus if a user has Photoshop on their computer, the PSD file that you have shared through Google Drive will open in Photoshop and not in their web browser.
Create Direct Links and Skip the Web Viewer
Google Drive doesn’t offer a simple option for creating these “direct download” link but you can easily create them by slightly modifying the generated URLs. Here’s the trick.
A file hosted on Google Drive has a shared link that looks like this:
Direct Download Links for Google Documents
The trick works for native Google Documents too though the URL format is a little different.
The direct links for downloading the same presentation deck in PowerPoint (.pptx) and PDF formats are below:
Google Spreadsheets: Open your Google Spreadsheet in the browser, make the sheet Public (or Anyone with a link) and make a note of the shared URL. It should be something like this:
The direct download links use a similar format as Google Documents and will read like:
Bonus Trick – Make a Copy
Google Spreadsheets offers an additional feature that is not available in Documents and Presentations (at least yet). You can create links to Google Sheets that will automatically create a copy of your Google Sheet in the Google Drive of the person with whom you have shared the sheet.
The newcopy=true parameter did the trick.
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