Anonymous or unknown people in a file

You might see a name that you don’t recognise or 'anonymous animals' viewing your document, spreadsheet or presentation. This can happen when a document is shared publicly or with anyone who has the link.

If you see someone you don’t know

Someone you don’t know might be looking at your file because:

  • The file is shared with a mailing list.
  • The file is shared with someone who doesn’t have a Google Account or isn’t signed in.
  • Someone who can edit your file or has the link shared it with other people.
  • Someone changed their Google Account name. You can see their email address when you click Share and then Advanced in your file.

Limit how people can view your file

If you want to stop sharing a file that you can edit, you can learn how to:

'Anonymous animals'

If you share or open a file with a link, you may not see the names of people who view it.

  • People you didn’t invite individually will be shown as anonymous animals when they’re in the file.
  • People you invite individually will be shown by name when they’re in the file.

You can only see other people’s names when you give them individual permission to view a file or if they are part of a mailing list.

Anonymous animals in a private file

If you turn off link sharing, you still might see multiple anonymous animals:

  • When someone opens the file multiple times. It may take some time for people who are no longer viewing to disappear.
  • If someone opens the link via a messenger service. Some services will check links for phishing, virus attacks or malware.
  • When someone uses a browser extension or script that automatically follows the link.
Anonymous animals and Google apps for work or school

If you use Google apps via work or school, people within your domain will always be shown by name when they view your file.

If your administrator allows you to share files outside of your domain, people who aren’t signed in will show up as anonymous animals.

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