Can I Recover Deleted Google Docs?

By Darrin Koltow

It is possible to recover documents you've deleted from Google Docs. To do so, remove the files you want to recover from the "Trash" bin and place them in another folder. You can recover the entire contents of the Trash folder by clicking the checkbox at the top of the list of files in Trash. To help you recover individual files, Trash has the same file management tools as non-Trash folders. For example, you can click the "Image and videos" link to list only graphic files in Trash.


Open your browser to the Google Docs home page (, then click the "Create new" button to begin creating a new document. Click one of the items from the list that appears, such as "Document" or "Spreadsheet." Docs will open the application associated with the item you chose. Type some characters in that application, then click the "File" menu's "Save" command to save the document. Return to the main Docs page, then click the checkbox next to the item you just created. Click the "Actions" link above the list of documents, then click the "Move to trash" item to delete the document.

Trash Bin

Recover deleted Google Docs by taking them out of the Trash folder. To open that folder, navigate to the Google Docs home page, then click the "Trash" link in the left pane. Docs will display all the documents you've deleted and haven't yet removed permanently from Trash. Docs sorts the files in Trash by date, as it does for your non-Trash folders. Note that you can only recover documents that you haven't permanently deleted. Permanent deletion involves purging a document from the Trash bin.


After opening Trash, click the checkbox next to each item you want to restore from Trash. Click the "Action" link at the top of the list of deleted documents. Docs will display a list of commands you can perform on the selected files. Click the "Restore" item to make Docs move the documents you selected back to their original folders.

Alternative Recovery Approach

Instead of using the "Actions" link to recover files, you can drag files from Trash to a non-Trash folder. Click a file in the Trash folder. You don't have to click its checkbox; clicking the file's name is sufficient. Press and hold the left mouse button, then drag the mouse toward the left pane, which lists your Docs folders. When the cursor reaches a folder you want to move the file to, release the mouse button. The file will disappear from Trash. Click the folder on which you just dropped the file to display all the files in that folder. Notice that the file you dragged from Trash now appears in that folder.