Google Docs 101

Google Docs 101


Let’s take a look at Google Docs, a cloud-based word processing program you can access if you have a Google account. Almost every feature in Google Docs is similar to Microsoft Word. First, let’s open Google Docs. The easiest way to do this is to go to If your Google account doesn’t automatically open, click Go to Google Drive and log in to your Google account.

On the top right of the screen, click New, then click Google Docs.

Google Docs will open, and you’ll be ready to start creating a new document.

The first thing I like to do is create a title. Click once on Untitled document in the upper left. Then simply type in whatever you would like to name your document. (If you have already started typing within the document, the first words you type will become the title. You can always change it by clicking in the title box.)

The “Share” feature is one of Google Docs’ most useful features. On the top right of the screen is a blue button labeled Share.

Hover over it to see the current privacy settings for this document. (The photo below shows that the document is not shared; it is “Private to only me.”)

To share the document with someone else, click on the Share button. A screen will pop up with a box where you can enter the email address of the person with whom you want to share access to the document.

In the drop-down menu to the right of the email address box, choose the amount of access you would like them to have: Can edit, Can comment, or Can view.

Select Done to send an email with a link to the online document. If you don’t want to email the link directly, click on Get shareable link. Clicking this will turn on link sharing. Enter the recipient’s email address. (You can always share with more than one person.)

From the drop-down menu to the right of the email address box, choose whether the recipient Can view, Can comment, or Can edit. Select Done.

When someone else is logged in, their avatar or picture (if they have a Google account with a picture) will show up on the top right. If they aren’t anonymous, you can click their photo to begin a chat session with them.

If you have given them editing privileges, you can see every edit they do in real time. This means that if they start typing something to change the document, you can see this change letter by letter!

Moving on from sharing a file, another nice feature is that you can highlight any word, phrase, or paragraph and add a comment in Google Docs. Simply click and drag your mouse over the relevant words, then click the comment button at the top right. Enter your comment.

Google Docs automatically saves a document in the cloud as you work on it. But you also may want to know how to download the file from Google Drive. When your document is done, click File at the top left of the screen. Then hover your mouse over Download as. Simply select the format you would like to save your file as (most commonly a Microsoft Word file, .docx). Your file will be saved on your computer, typically under your downloads folder unless your downloads go to another location. So you can have a Microsoft Word document without ever needing to install Microsoft Word on your computer!

Congratulations! Now you know how to get started with Google Docs.
~ Angela Karl
Courtesy of