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Control Notifications on Drive

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It used to be the case that Google was known for its popular search engine

Now, the company is known for almost everything related to the Internet. Their suite of apps are used by individuals and businesses the world over, and Drive is quickly becoming one of the most popular document creation and storage sites. One issue some users have with Drive though, is not being able to control notifications that are sent out when a document is changed or commented on.

By default, when you create a document in Drive and share it with other people, you should get an email informing you when they make a comment on the file. This article looks at configuring these notifications for the three main Google Drive apps – Document, Spreadsheet and Presentation.

Configure notifications for Spreadsheet

This app has the most robust options for change and comment notifications. You can configure your notification settings by:

  1. Sharing a Spreadsheet with other users.
  2. Opening the Spreadsheet and pressing on Tools which is located at the top of the sheet, below your URL bar.
  3. Pressing Notification rules…
  4. Selecting a box below Notify me at email address when…
    – Any changes are made
    – Anything on this sheet is changed:
    – Any of these cells are changed: (select the cell range in the box below)
    – Collaborators are added or removed
    – A user submits a form
  5. Ticking either: Email – daily digest or Email- right away under Notify me with…
  6. Pressing Save.

Configure for Presentation and Document

With Presentations and Documents, you can’t fully configure your notifications as you can in Spreadsheet, but you can exercise some control. In an existing Presentation or Document that has been shared with other users, press on Comments in the top-left of the document window and then Notifications from the menu that drops down. From there, you will be able to select either:

  • All – You will get an email when any comment is made.
  • Replies to you – You will get an email only when someone replies to one of your comments.
  • None – You will get no comments.

This allows you some control over the notifications you are sent. If you aren’t seeing any emails in your inbox, try looking for a message with the name of the document. If you open the document you should see the latest comments.

The other way to view comments is to open the Presentation or Document and click on Comments. All open and resolved comments should be presented in the window that drops-down. You can click on each of these to be taken to the relevant section of the document and even action them from this window.


To get a detailed view of when changes were made, and how many, click on File, and select See revision history. This will immediately open the revision history column on the right hand side of the document. By clicking on each noted change you can see edits made to the document. For more detailed information, click on Show more detailed revisions at the bottom of this list. You have the option to return to an earlier version permanently, if you want to undo changes, or you can close the list to revert back to the current version.

Another option

If you are looking for a quick way to tell if a file stored on Drive has been edited, try looking at the folder where it is stored. By default, when a change to a file is made, its name will be bolded on your My Drive, or in the folder. If you don’t see this, try pressing the cog in the top-right of the window and selecting Settings. Ensure that Bold any updated items is ticked. Press Save at the bottom of the window, and any file’s name should be bolded the next time it is changed.

If you are looking to learn more about Google Drive and how it can fit into your organization, please contact us today.

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