How to Link to Files at Google Drive for Direct Download

January 28, 2013

I use Google Drive to store many shared documents, and usually prefer to provide a direct link to the file, rather than a link to the viewer (less steps to be able to download the file).

Google Drive does not provide a direct download link, but you can create your own using the following format:

https://docs.google.com/uc?export=download&id=YourFileID

The FileID can be found when you upload a document to Google Drive and are presented with a link to the file which appears like this:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4qfKCEK9vP6YWFaQTl0ak11TDg/edit

The string highlighted in bold red is the unique ID for your file.

Note: You will need to ensure that the files you upload for direct download are not private to you. Instead, you should set the permission to be "Public" or "Available to anyone with the download link".

You can do this by clicking the "share" link immediately after uploading your files.

I generally use this method for sharing PDFs which I've created offline. From what I've read, this method may not be possible to use if you have created your document in Google Docs, or for spreadsheets. However, I do hope this quick post will be useful for those who want to share simple documents they have uploaded to Google Drive.

Feel free to share your comments and tips using the form below.

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