How to directly download shared files from Google Drive

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December 31, 2012How-To Guides4 Comments

Although Google Drive lets you download any Google Doc or Google Viewer files with your shared users, it is not very obvious like the Dropbox’s download button. You often have to instruct users to go to the File menu and then click Download As to download the file. This is very frustrating when you email or IM the Google Drive file link. The most common response from a user with whom you have shared a download file link is an email from Google Drive asking the you to change the sharing settings. It would have been useful if Google Drive included a “Download” button next to the “Comments” and “Share” button. Until then you would have be content with this little force download URL hack. An example of the URL that Google Drive generates for a doc will be something similar to

https://docs.google.com/document/d/0Ajm8mDIuTqeGdDl6LVdQeWJFTEdQQ2hfa0FXWVk2OUE/edit

To make Google Drive document downloadable you will have to know two things 1. The file code or id, which is an 44 character alphanumeric value in the shared URL that uniquely identifies  that file. 2. The desired file format. These URL and formats are specific to the Google Drive file type Document. Below is a table which show the different documents types, their download URL and their respective formats.

Non-Google doc File : https://docs.google.com/uc?id=[FILE_ID]&export=download
Format : none

Google Document : https://docs.google.com/document/d/[FILE_ID]/export?format=[FORMAT]
FORMAT : docx, odt, rtf, pdf, txt, html

Google Presentation : https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/[FILE_ID]/export?format=[FORMAT]
FORMAT : pptx, pdf, svg, png, jpg 

Google Drawings : https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/[FILE_ID]/export/[FORMAT]
FORMAT : pdf, svg, png, jpg

  • guest

    Thanks for a great tip!
    Do you know how to directly download shared Google Spreadsheet?
    I tried to figure it out myself, but I failed.

  • Raza Jarrar

    Thank you :)

    I too need to download spreadsheets via same process… please guide

  • SHIDHIN

    for spreadsheet (xlsx) file??