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July 14, 2012

Find Public Google Docs

Google Docs and Google Drive don't offer the option to find public files, but you can do that using Google search. Now that the Google Docs robots.txt file allows search engines to index most of the public files, you should be able to find them, assuming that there are some links that point to them.

Search engines only index the files that are "public on the Web". By default, files are private, but you can change the visibility from the "Share" box.

Here are some useful queries that let you find public Google Drive/Docs files (you can append some keywords to the queries):

* [] - find text documents

* [] - find presentations

* [] - find drawings

* [] - find files: images, videos, PDF files, Microsoft Office documents and more (you should click "repeat the search with the omitted results included" since there are many files with similar titles)

* [] - find folders (collections of files and other folders)

* [] - find other documents, folders and files (the links redirect to other URLs)

Public spreadsheets and forms can't be indexed by search engines.


  1. that is not new!

  2. I didn't claim that it's new. I just thought that the URLs might be useful.

  3. would search all these file types? (for adding>search engines in webbrowser)

  4. thanks for sharing it is very useful for me

  5. So if you want to search for public files on a specific domain... how would you do that? Do you have to add the domain name at the beginning first?

  6. Great tip! When using cloud apps in a corporate setting some people assume "public" URLs if they are not human-readable are obscure. Your tip and ones like ti show that users have to really know how to secure their documents if they are saved to a cloud service like Google Drive.

  7. Hi Alex, Very cool post and tip. Can you provide a little more detail? I'd like to search for one of my public documents that contains a keyword. How would I search to find either a keyword or the name of the file? Also, does publishing the file change this? Sorry if these are basic questions...still new to Google :)

    1. Since you're trying to find one of your files, you should go to Google Drive, type some keywords in the search box and check the results. This tip is for files published by other people.

  8. great blog:)loved going through:)

  9. I do not understand how to use this....
    Say i am looking for public presentation on "Asthma"
    can anyone provide example of the search ?

  10. Thanks for sharing it is very useful for me.

    For those who want to know if their documents are public or not, or if you want to search in the public files, here is a useful application : Open drive;

    Google Plus page with presentation:

    App link on Chrome store :

    App direct link :