Making a file available on the internet for anyone to view and download is called hosting.
Once a file is hosted, it can be viewed, downloaded, and displayed on webpages and email signatures. Typically, you would purchase web hosting from the same companies that you purchase domain names from, such as GoDaddy or 1&1, for an additional monthly or yearly fee. Now with cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive, your files are already hosted online, so it's just a matter of directing people to those files.
To use a hosted file in a website or email signature, you need the direct link.
A direct link is the URL that points directly to your file hosted online. By "directly", I mean no additional "junk" around the file. No webpage code, just the file, thanks. For a file to have a direct link, it needs to be hosted and publicly available online. Once you have the direct link to a hosted file, you can paste it anywhere online (including in the right place your email signature) for people to view or download the file.
The instructions below will tell you how to get the direct link to your files in Google Drive so use can use them online where you need them. You can do this with Dropbox as well, but the instructions will be different.
STEP 1 Create a Public Folder
To create a folder viewable by anyone...
- Click the red, Create Folder button in the upper-left corner.
- Type a name in the box that pops up. You might want to name this folder Public.
- Click the blue, Create button.
- Right-click the folder.
- Click Share... > Share...
- Click Change... under Who Has Access.
- Click Public on the Web.
- Click the green Save button.
STEP 2 Add a File and Get Its Direct Link
- Open your Public folder in Google Drive.
- Drag a file from your computer into the Public folder.
You can drag files directly from your computer into the Google Drive website. If your file is already in Google Drive, you can drag it to the Public folder from inside Google Drive.
- Right-click the file inside your Public folder.
- Click Details.
A panel will open on the right side of the page showing the file's details.
- Scroll down the right-side column to the Hosting section.
- Click the link under Hosting.
The file will open in a new tab or window in your browser.
- Select and copy the URL from the address bar in your browser.
The direct link will end with the extension of your file. If you are getting the direct link to a PDF file, the link will end with .pdf. If it's some sort of image file, the direct link will end with .jpg, .png, .gif, etc.