What is Google Docs and how to use it – ABOUT MAG 2020

Google Docs is the word processor component of Google’s online office suite. It is a free alternative to Microsoft Word. It also has more features than you might think.


In this article, we will answer the most common questions about Google Docs.

What is Google Docs?

Google Docs is Google’s browser-based word processor. You can create, edit and share documents online and access them from any computer with an Internet connection.

What sets Google Docs apart from its main competitor for computers, Microsoft Word, is its collaboration capabilities. Google Docs was one of the first word processors to offer shared online document editing.

Google has made it incredibly easy to share documents across platforms and work on them together in real time from the browser window. Your collaborators don’t even need a Google Account to view or edit Google documents that you share with them.

Besides that, Google Docs add-ons

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, allows you to expand functionality and add missing features.

Using Google Docs

You can use Google Docs in the same way that you would use Word documents. Create new documents, use Google Docs templates, share documents with your team and collaborate in real time. We’ll show you the basics here.

How to create a Google document

Create a Google document

To create a new Google Doc, first go to docs.google.com and sign in with your Google account. Once on the Google Docs homepage, you can create a new, blank document or choose a template. From within an existing Google Doc, you can also access File> New> Document or File> New> From model to do the same.

Saving a Google document

You will never need to remember to save a Google document because Google automatically saves your documents to your Google Drive, the online storage component

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of the Google online office suite. Therefore, you will not find the Save button.

How to download Google Docs

Download Google Docs

Google stores your documents in Google Drive. To download a Google Doc to your computer, go to File> Download as and choose the desired file format.

Emailing a Google document

Email a Google document

If you want to download the document because you want to send it by email, do so directly from the document. Go to File> Email as attachment, choose the format of the file you want to attach and fill in the default email details.

Sharing a Google document

Instead of emailing a document, however, we recommend sharing it. This is because sharing allows everyone to see and work on the same version of the document. That way, you avoid creating conflicting copies or duplicating your work. As mentioned earlier, the recipient does not need a Google Account to view or edit the document.

To share a Google document from the document, click the icon To share button in the upper right corner. You now have several options:

  1. click on the Get shareable link at the top right corner. The link will be copied to your clipboard. and next to Anyone with the link, adjust the default access level can see for can edit or you can comment. If you make changes, click Copy link to update the copy on your clipboard. Within the same menu, you can also disable the link sharing option, which means that only specific people can access the document.
  2. Enter the names or email address (es) of the desired recipient (s). Note that the default access level with this method is can edit. Click the pen icon on the right to change to can see or you can comment.
  3. Click Advanced in the bottom right corner, to share directly with Gmail, Google Plus, Facebook or Twitter, control link sharing, invite people and control owner settings, to like preventing fellow editors from changing access and adding new people.

Share a Google document

If you want to share a copy of your Google document

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with multiple contributors, because you don’t want them to make edits to the original document, you can also use this “Make a copy” trick

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to save some work.

Tracking changes in Google Docs

When making frequent changes to Google Docs or after sharing it with others, you want to keep up with the changes.

Version History

Google Docs does this automatically by tracking your document’s version history. Go to File> Version history> View version history to expand a menu that lists all the changes that Google tracked in your document. You’ll see when the changes were made, who made them, and they’re all highlighted in the document.

View version history

You can also name the current version easily revert changes made later. Or go to File> Version history> Name of current version, enter a name and click Save . Alternatively, go to the Version History menu and click on a version’s date or name to rename it. In the version history menu, you can activate a setting for show only named versions (see screenshot above).

Name the version

Version history is the basic way to track changes. You can restore versions of a document by selecting it and clicking the Restore this version button. What you cannot do is accept or discard individual changes in each version. If this is the functionality you want, you need to use a different feature: modes.

Suggestion Mode

Google Docs supports three different modes: Edition, Suggestingand Viewing. Editing is the default mode. To switch to a different mode, go to View> Mode or click the pen icon at the far right of the Tools menu. To track individual changes, use the Suggestion mode.

how to use Google Docs Suggestion mode

When making changes to the suggestion mode, you will see a comment on the right side of the document, with the option to accept or reject the suggestion. You can also write a response to discuss each change. All changes made in this mode are tracked individually in the respective version of the document in the version history. That way, you have the option to review and restore the rejected changes, although you need to restore that version of the document, which means that you will lose all of the following changes.

Tip: To force your employees to use Suggestion mode, set their access to you can comment when sharing the document.

Printing on Google Docs

Print to Google Docs

Printing on Google Docs works just like any other document on your computer. To print a Google document, open the document and go to File> Print or press the Ctrl + P keyboard shortcut or click the print icon on the Tools menu.

Each of these actions will open its print menu. From here, choose your printer and settings and print as you normally would.

Editing Google Docs offline

To edit your Google Docs offline, you need to meet some basic conditions. First, you need to be online while setting up offline access. You also need to use Google Chrome outside of incognito mode, install and activate the Offline Google Docs Chrome extension and have enough free storage space to save your files.

That done, go to docs.google.com, click on the hamburger menu in the upper right corner, go to Definitionsand make sure the slider next to off it’s in the In position (see screenshot below).

Offline in Google Docs

Now, all the documents you start working on will also be available offline on your computer; at least temporarily. The flash icon next to the document name indicates that you are offline. Any changes you make will be synchronized after you reconnect to the Internet.

beginners guide to Google Docs

With the Google Docs offline extension enabled, you can review the list of all your documents at docs.google.com, even when offline. All documents permanently available offline have a check mark icon. Click on the three-point menu to control the Available offline option.

beginners guide to Google Docs

The offline Google Docs extension will also cache all documents you open. If you lose your Internet connection, you will have access even to documents that are not explicitly available offline. In that case, you can permanently make the document available offline, even if you are not online. In the meantime, documents not cached and unavailable offline will appear muted.

For backup and sync Google Docs files for your computer or cell phone, you can also use the Google Drive backup and sync tool.

Google Docs, now under your control

Now you know the basics of using Google Docs. Then it’s time to find out cool ways to create beautiful Google documents

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. You can then explore the relevant resources for business documents and typing by voice in Google Docs.

Paula Fonseca