Google Docs provides one of the best word processing tools for free. Likely, its one downside comes from the need to connect online… but this also leads to one of its greatest strengths: real-time collaboration.
Before online collaboration, word processing documents had to be sent via email or flash drive to the other members. Now, a group can work together at the same time with a few easy steps!
1. Create an Account
Working in Google Docs requires simply creating an account. If you have a Gmail already, there’s no need to worry: sign into Docs with your usual email and password.
In fact… if you’re signed in to Gmail you may be automatically taken to the welcome screen of your fresh Docs page!
2. Create a Document
The top of the page should show various document types to choose from. Select any of these to start your new project:
If, instead, you see the “New” button shown below, you are in probably in Google Drive, not Google Docs. Don’t worry: Google Drive simply collects all your documents from Google Docs, Spreadsheets, and Slides. Aside from that, it performs most of the same functions.
That said, clicking the “New” button gives you the choice of creating a new word document, spreadsheet, or slideshow. Unlike Google Docs, it doesn’t offer pre-formatted templates.
3. In the Document, Hit the “Share” Button
The button should look something like this:
Tapping the button leads you to the share screen:
This is where you choose who to collaborate with. Any address can be entered, Gmail or not. You can choose whether or not that person can view, edit, or become the owner. Be careful with ownership, however: once ownership is transferred to someone else, you cannot get it back yourself.
4. Start Working
So, project invites have been sent! The email will include a simple and efficient link to the project. As long an account has editing privileges, the user can change things at the same time as others.
NOTE: you can tell when multiple users (or the same user on different devices) are viewing the document. An icon will appear at the top right for each device currently using the page.
Collaboration can now begin!
5. Moving Forward
From here on out, there are a few more tools that may be useful for your team.
First, the view mode:
Selecting this button allows you to choose whether you are editing, suggesting, or viewing. We’ll focus on suggesting: the suggesting option allows you to harmlessly enter changes which then appear as (pause for effect) suggestions! This can be useful for communicating in group projects.
If you need to leave a more detailed message, try the comment button:
Comments are attached to specific items – letters, words, or phrases – within the project.
You can add collaborators to a project or even an entire file from the main page of Google Drive as well. Clicking the “Add Person” button below pulls up the familiar “Share” window.
We wish you the best with your new project!