How To Use Google Sheets Without Gmail

Posted by Joseph on August 16, 2018

For those who don’t know, you can open all received Google Sheets or other Google Drive related items shared with you using any email address currently registered. Gmail Accounts are not a necessity when attempting to view or collaborate on shared Google Sheets. Though, you will need a Google Account.

The good thing about this is that you have a choice as to whether you would like to create a separate Google Account or add an Alternate Email Address to an existing one.

It has become very common to share Google Sheets for both personal and business use using non-Gmail email addresses. This can usually result in one of the following:

  1. The recipient will click the link inside his email, follow the said link to the Google Sheet, and attempt to login with a personal Gmail account. At this point, as it is so often the case, the recipient is then greeted with this –

    Upon clicking the Request access button, the sender then receives an email of their own requesting access for the recipient’s personal Gmail account.

  2. Unfortunately, the recipient doesn’t happen to have a Gmail account. This forces them to ask the sender to export the Google Sheet into different a format so that they will be able to read it.


Both are unacceptable outcomes as the first requires the sender to perform an additional step for each recipient of which the document has been shared and requires that the recipient share a personal Gmail address with the sender. One of which the recipient may wish to keep separate from their business-related dealings.

The second outcome essentially renders the entire thing rather moot as it will require the sender to find an entirely alternate way to provide their work for viewing and collaboration. This gets far more convoluted for larger collaborative efforts if some recipients require different tools to view the documents as opposed to everyone being on the same page.

Luckily, having a Gmail Address and having a Google Account is not one in the same which makes it easier to keep personal and business-related emails separate.


The Fix

In order to rectify the issue of sharing Google Sheets with non-Gmail Account users, you’ll need to use one of two varying solutions.

  1. If you currently have a personal Gmail Address but do not wish to use it for business, you may benefit from creating a completely new Google Account. Should you be okay with the use of a personal Gmail Address for business use but prefer to receive all shared Google Sheets to an alternate email address, then you can add an Alternate email to your Google Account.
  2. If you currently do not have a Gmail Address nor wish to create one, then you’ll need to create a new Google Account.


New Google Account

Setting up a Google Account with your non-Gmail Address is a rather simple process. Moving forward we’ll use [email protected] as your non-Gmail Address. To begin creating a new Google Account, follow these steps:

  1. Head to URL https://accounts.google.com/SignUpWithoutGmail
  2. Fill out the provided form using your preferred email address ([email protected]) and click Next.
  3. The final step will involve an email address verification. Log in to the email you used for the process and click on the verification link provided.


It’s as simple as that. You now have a Google Account created without the need for a Gmail Address. So, whenever you get a request to collaborate on a Google Sheet at that address, you can view it from that account.


Alternate Email Addition to Google Account

If you only want to have one collection of Google Drive items, but you want to be able to receive sharing requests an alternate email address, then this is the Solution for you.

  1. Log in to your existing Google Account at https://accounts.google.com
  2. Visit the Email Settings at https://myaccount.google.com/email
  3. Click the “Advanced” tab as shown in the image.

    This will open up two additional tabs, one of which should be labeled “Alternate emails”.
  4. Click ADD ALTERNATE EMAIL from the “Alternate emails” tab.
  5. If prompted, resign in using the same account credentials.
  6. You can then enter your non-Gmail address into the box provided. Once complete, click ADD.

  7. Afterward, you should see a pending verification page like the one shown below.
  8. Head on over and log in to your non-Gmail email address to find the verification email that was sent. Click on the verification link the email provides.
  9. Once again you may be prompted to sign in for security purposes.
  10. At this point, you should expect to see a page similar to that in step 7 but notice that it no longer carries the (Pending verification) notice to the side. This means the alternate email address has been verified and is now ready for use.


Now you have the option to use either your Gmail Address or non-Gmail address to log in to your Google Account. This allows you to open Google Sheets that are sent to either email address within the same account, using the same password.

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