Google Docs has established itself as the best cloud-based alternative to Microsoft Word, but still many haven’t been able to switch. If you are completely new to the service, don’t worry! We are here to help you with a beginner’s guide on how to use Google Docs.
There are too many features covering in this tutorial about Google Docs, but it will be a solid foundation to get you started. As you get used to it, you’ll discover all sorts of unique features, and Google is very active in adding new features every year.
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Let’s start with the basics everyone needs to know, then take a look at some advanced Google docs tips and tricks. Start!
What is Google Docs?
Google Docs is a cloud-based word processing program that is part of the Google Office suite called G Suite. Along with other Google cloud-based services, such as Google Drive, spreadsheets, presentations, and Gmail, G Suite provides a comprehensive productivity platform for both businesses and students.
There are many ways you can think of Google Docs as Microsoft Word in G Suite. You can create and format a variety of documents, and it has neat integration with spreadsheets, allowing you to quickly add charts or spreadsheets from Google Spreadsheets. It also supports templates and add-ons, which makes it even more versatile for niche tasks.
It’s true that Google Docs is completely free to use. All you need is just Google account and it is quick and easy to set up.
How does Google Docs work?
Google Docs is completely cloud-based, so it’s different from traditional word processors like Word. Instead of storing the document on your hard drive, the files are in Google Drive.
This offers many advantages over traditional word processors such as real-time co-editing and automatic backups. It’s also completely multi-platform, so you can access it from any browser or mobile device.
However, it is very similar to Word or any other alternative when it comes to how to use Google Docs. At the top of the screen are the same toolbars and the same keyboard shortcuts I’ve been using for years. Documents can be easily accessed from a browser rather than a standalone application.
Create a new document on Google Docs
The first thing you need to do to learn how to do this is create a new document. We recommend using a computer, but you can do so from any computer browser or mobile device. Most of the steps and instructions in this Google Docs tutorial are based on a browser version that offers many more features.
To create a new document on the web, go to the Google Docs website and sign up if you’re not already signed in. Then click on the form at the top of the screen to create the document. The first form is blank, but other templates have a specific purpose, such as a business letter or resume. If you don’t like the color or design, you can also customize it completely after creating.
You can still use the browser on your mobile device, but it’s easier to use the Google Drive app. Just tap the plus icon in the lower right corner, then tap Google Docs. It is set to a blank form by default, but is automatically saved in the cloud for later editing.
No matter how you create your first document, you need to give it a name in the box at the top of the screen. Otherwise, you can easily get lost in the Google Drive directory!
If you are the beginers, you should first learn how to use Google Docs on your computer. It has a physical input keyboard, along with multiple document formatting options.
How to delete a document
Since everything is automatically saved to the cloud, you may accidentally create empty files in your Google Drive’s storage. Fortunately, deleting is as easy as making it.
Just find the document on the Google Docs website in your browser, click the three dots next to its name, then click Remove. You can also delete a document by opening it and then clicking Go to Files and Move to Trash.
You can still find the removed files in the Trash directory on Google Drive Trash. Unlike Google Photos and Gmail, these files do not expire and remain in the Trash directory until you manually empty the trash.
To clean up and permanently delete a document, go to Google Drive Trash, select the file, and then click the Delete Icon in the upper-right corner. Select Delete Forever from the confirmation pop-up window and free up some space.
Tips and tricks when use Google Docs offline
One of the scariest things when moving to a cloud-based platform is your thoughts on what would happen if your internet connection was lost. Wait a few hours for one power outage or network maintenance to work again.
Google is well aware of this issue, and Google Docs makes it easy to access or edit documents even offline. The only pitfall is that it only works with Chrome and you have to log in to your browser account. For Chromebook users, the job is done and Google Docs works offline immediately.
The first thing you need to do is make sure you have Google Docs for Chrome offline. It may already be installed, but to check, click the link and see if it says Install or Uninstall. Once done, you can open Google Drive settings and select the box to sync with this computer to automatically organize Google documents, spreadsheets, slides and images.
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This way, you can open files in Google Docs while offline, but you need to go a step further before you can edit and save them. Simply right-click on the document you want to edit offline and switch to Available Offline. These steps are listed again.
- Sign in to your Google Account in Chrome.
- Install the Google Docs Chrome Offline Plugin (extension).
- You can edit it offline by going to your Google Drive settings and transferring the sync of your Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Pictures files to this computer.
- Right-click on Google Docs to edit offline and turn on Enable Offline.
Share and collaborate with Google Docs
One of the benefits of Google Docs is sharing and collaboration. Not only can you easily share documents with one of the single links, but both parties can edit the document at the same time and you will see all the changes in real time.
To share Google Docs, you must first open it. From there, click on the large blue share button in the upper right corner. The pop-up window offers two ways to share the document. The first is to enter the email addresses of all the people you want to share. If you check the User Message box, an email will be sent to notify all parties of the change and the document will be displayed on the shared drive.
On my daily job, I am a software engineer, programmer & computer technician. My passion is assembling PC hardware, studying Operating System and all things related to computers technology. I also love to make short films for YouTube as a producer. More at about me…