How to Delete or Restore a Google Sheets File

This post is going to show you can delete and restore a Google Sheets document.

Google Sheets is a cloud-based service, which means it’s hosted on the internet and doesn’t require the installation of any software before you can use it.

With just a web browser and a Google account, you can work with Google Sheets from anywhere on any device and be sure that your files are safe and secure.

Because the service is cloud-based, there are a few benefits that come with it. Your files are automatically saved and won’t be lost due to hardware failure.

It integrates seamlessly with other Google cloud services such as Google Drive, Docs, and Forms. You can easily manage files across all these services. When you create a new spreadsheet, the file is automatically stored on your Google Drive.

But if you really want to delete a file, you can also do that.

This post will show you how you can delete Google Sheets you don’t need anymore, and also how to restore any files you may have deleted in error. Get your example workbooks to follow along.

Delete a Google Sheet from the File Menu

There are different methods you can use to delete a Google Sheet. Depending on your regional settings you might see these options as bin, trash, or delete.

You can delete a Google sheet by using an option from the File tab menu options.

Follow these steps to delete a Google Sheets workbook.

  1. Go to the File menu.
  2. Select the Move to bin option.
  3. Press the Go to Sheets home screen button to confirm you want to delete the file.

When you click on the Move to bin option, you get this notification box informing you that your file will be lost completely if you don’t take it out of the bin for 30 days.

If you change your mind and want to reverse your action, click on the Take out of bin button and you will be returned to the spreadsheet.

Check out this post in case you want to view the version history or restore a previous file version.

Delete a Google Sheets File When it is Not Open

What if the file you want to delete isn’t the one that is currently open?

You just have to click on the spreadsheet icon found in the top left corner of the spreadsheet. This will take you to the spreadsheet home screen.

Here, you can access all the spreadsheet files you have created. You can even search for a specific file using the Search box.

Once you’ve identified the file you want to delete, follow these steps.

  1. Click on the three dots you will find on the right side of the file to reveal more options.
  1. Click on Remove from the menu options.
  1. Press the MOVE TO BIN button.

After you click on remove, you will get this notification box.

The Remove option from here doesn’t delete the file instantly like the Move to bin option from the File menu option. Instead, it triggers a notification box asking if you truly want to delete the file.

It also tells you what will happen to the file after it’s been trashed if the file is shared with collaborators. You can click on Cancel to stop the action or MOVE TO BIN to trash the document.

Delete a Google Sheets File from the Sheets Home Screen

Another way you can delete a spreadsheet is to go through your google drive.

From the spreadsheet home screen, on the top left-hand corner, click on the Menu icon (three parallel lines).

Click on Drive. This will take you to your Google Drive folder.

From your Google Drive folder, locate where the file is stored. If you can’t find it easily, can use the Search in Drive box to find the file.

When you locate the file, right-click on it to reveal all the options available. From the right-click options, select Remove. Your spreadsheet file will be instantly moved to the bin.

Delete a Google Sheets File with a Keyboard Shortcut

If you prefer to use your keyboard over the mouse. It is possible to delete a Google Sheets workbook using the accessibility keyboard shortcuts to access the File tab.

Press Alt + Shift + F to open the File menu, then you can press T to select the Move to bin option.

Permanently Delete a Google Sheets File

When you delete a spreadsheet file, it is moved to the bin.

The Bin is a folder in Google drive that has the same function as the recycle bin on your computer. When files are moved to the bin, they are technically not yet entirely removed.

If you want to permanently delete a Google Sheet, one option is to wait out the 30 days after which it will become permanently deleted.

Another option is to delete it from the Bin from your Google Drive.

From your Google Drive, click on the Bin folder to open all files sent there.

You can use the Empty bin option, although, this will delete all the files in your bin.

To delete a specific file, locate the file and right-click on it. Select Delete forever from the menu options.

Restore a Deleted a Google Sheets File

Follow these steps to restore a deleted Google Sheets file.

  1. Open up Google Drive.
  2. Go to the Bin or Trash folder.
  3. Locate the file you want restore and right click on the file.
  4. Select Restore from the options.

Once you select the Restore option, a small pop-up in the lower left of the screen will appear to let you know the file has been restored and you can click on the SHOW FILE LOCATION link to take you to the restored file.


Google Sheets gives you a lot of control over your file management.

There’s very little fear of losing a file since Google Drive automatically saves your files.

Even when you delete a file in error, you can easily get it back as long as it’s not past 30 days.

Are there any deleting or restoring tips we missed? Let me know in the comments section below!

About the Author

Oluwaseun Olatoye

Oluwaseun Olatoye

Oluwaseun is a business intelligence analyst with expertise in Google Sheets and SQL programming language. He has worked with various businesses to make data-driven decisions. He enjoys helping others learn and grow.

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