How To Recover Deleted Google Docs Files

In the post-pandemic world, everything has moved online, no matter whether it’s work or education. And, every once in a while we slip up and delete our important Google Docs files by mistake or negligence. It can be an important Google Sheets spreadsheet containing the balance sheet of the company, or a Google Docs document containing the essay for school, a Google Slides presentation, or some other file entirely.

If you too, find yourself in a similar conundrum then I have written this short and simple guide explaining how you can recover your deleted Google Docs files. And, if it has already been more than 30 days since you have deleted the file then you still have a few options to retrieve the files from Google. So first let’s start with how to restore the file if it hasn’t been 30 days since the deletion.

Apart from Google Docs if you’ve deleted important Microsoft Word documents then check out these 2 resources:

Quick Links To The Various Parts Of The Article:

How To Recover Deleted Google Docs Files

Just like Windows PC have Recycle bin where all the deleted files are stored, Google Drive also has a Trash function of its own. So let’s suppose you have deleted a Google Docs document, spreadsheet, or slide then you can find them in the Google trash.

I work on Google Docs and Google Sheets on daily basis. And, every once in a while I accidentally delete my work file. After that, I usually end up going to Google trash to restore it. Your deleted file would remain in the trash for 30 days after that it will be permanently deleted by Google.

To showcase how it works, I will be deleting the Google Docs file named “important top secret”. As you can see below a dialog box will appear stating that your file would be moved to the Drive trash. Clicking on Move To Trash will delete the file.

Move to trash dialog box

Now to restore your deleted Google Docs file you need to head on to Google Drive. And, if you will see in the left-hand corner there is a Trash option available. Click on it, after that you will be able to see all the files that you have deleted in the last 30 days.

Right-click on the file you want to restore and you will be presented with two options either to restore or delete the file forever. Click on Restore and you will find your file restored back to Google Docs.

Click here to restore the file

Similarly, you can restore a spreadsheet, slide, or any other file that you may delete from Google Drive itself using the trash section.

Other Reasons Why You Are Not Able To Find Your Google Docs File

Every now and then I find myself to be unable to locate a file that I am sure I haven’t deleted. And, if you are right now in the same situation then it must be due to one of the following reasons I have mentioned below.

If you have accidentally deleted your work/school project file that was shared with you then you won’t find the file in your Trash. You simply lose access to the file whereas the original creator of the file would still have the access to the file in their Google Docs account. To restore it you would need to ask your colleague to share the file again with you.

On the other hand, if you had created the file in the Google Drive folder of someone else’s account, and the owner of the account deletes the file then it would be restored to your My Google Drive folder. To put it simply, a file deleted by someone else will be automatically restored to the My Drive folder of the original owner/creator of the file. Therefore, you won’t find those files in the trash.

You Are Not Sure Whether You Have Deleted The File Or It’s Just Lost

Organizing files on Google Drive, Sheets, Slides, and Docs can be an infuriating task. And usually, most users don’t organize their files which leads to a messy and uncluttered Google Drive. This leads to a situation where you aren’t able to find the file you need when you need it the most.

It might be entirely possible that you haven’t deleted the file but you still think that it has been accidentally deleted by you. And, since you haven’t deleted the file you won’t find it in the Trash folder of Google Drive.

Thankfully, Google Drive comes with a really powerful search option built-in. It allows you to search using file type, owners so you can search for the file based on who shared it with you, and name. Not only that, you can even search for the file using the words that you remember writing in the document.

For example, I remember my Google Docs file has a word shipyard written inside in its content. Let’s perform a quick search and see what Google Drive finds.

Advanced Google drive file search

Search for lost Google doc file

As you can see Google has found the file for me even though I didn’t even remember the file name.

How To Recover Permanently Deleted Google Docs File After 30 Days

If you still can’t find the file and you have lost your 30 days window to restore it then your options are limited. For users who are using an account that is part of the G-Suite can restore the file from G-Suite Admin Console.

You would need to contact your supervisor or whoever has G-Suite Admin Console login to restore your data.

  • After that, ask the admin to go to the Users section of the G-Suite Console.
  • Then find your name on the list of users, scroll the mouse over your name and click on the More option displayed.
  • Click on the Restore data option which would allow the admin to restore files that you have deleted in the last 25 days.

This 25-day file restoration window starts after the file has been deleted from the Trash folder of your drive. It is important to note that you won’t be able to restore your file if you are using a regular Gmail account.

Restore Deleted Google Docs File From Your Deleted Account

Managing multiple emails or old work email accounts can be a headache and many times in the heat of the moment users delete their Gmail account. Only to realize later that they have also deleted some of the important files that they now can’t restore.

If you are a regular Gmail user then I would recommend contacting applying for restoring your Google account. Google would ask you a few questions to verify that you were the owner of the account, once completed your account would be restored.

However, it is important to note that Google doesn’t assure you that all of your files would be restored.

On the other hand, student or employees whose organization/school/institution use G-Suite account are in luck. They can ask their Super Administrator to restore their deleted Gmail account. It is to be noted that Super Administrator can only restore the account within 20 days period after being deleted.

And, if you are restoring your account within 20 days window then all your Google Docs files would be restored along with your account.



Hopefully, you were able to restore your deleted Google Docs file using this guide. I would also recommend backing up your important documents to other cloud backup services as well. And, you can consider OneDrive, Dropbox, or any other similar service for the job.


How To Recover Deleted Google Docs File?

You can find the deleted files in the trash folder of your Google Drive. And, files would remain there for 30 days before they're permanently deleted by Google.

Are Deleted Google Docs Files Really Deleted?

Yes, once the file has been deleted from the Trash folder of your Google account, it is permanently deleted from Google’s server.

Where Do Permanently Deleted Google Docs Files Go?

Permanently deleted Google Docs files aren’t stored anywhere and are completely wiped away from Google’s server.

What Happens If I Delete A Shared File?

If you will delete a shared Google Docs file then it won’t be deleted for the person who has shared the file with you. If the owner of the file has created the file in your Google Drive folder then upon deleting the file it would be restored to his My Drive folder.

About Me

I’m Satyam Pandey, a fellow data hoarder who keeps accidentally deleting files from time to time. I decided to start this blog after recovering all of my deleted high school photos from my old hard drive. With a knack to test data recovery software and see how well they perform I decided to create this blog.

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