Step 1 of getting into Google Docs is to get a Google account. drive.google.com
and create an account. You need to decide if you want a new @gmail.com account that will include a new email address, which you will need to occasionally check. Or if you want to use an existing email address. I use my @yahoo.com account because I didn’t want another email account to check. The only disadvantage I have noticed so far is when trying to log into multiple accounts.
If you already use Gmail for your email, then you already have a Google account! If you don’t then you need to set one up. Start by going to any Google site like
Once you have set up and account you only need to bookmark drive.google.com
so that you can go back to it. If you are a person with intermittent internet you might want to download Google Drive. This allows you to work offline when your internet is down and then sync your files when your internet is working. If you are not using Google Chrome as a web browser, then you may want to download that as well. It is the best, but not only, browser to use with Docs. You can use any other browser.
Now that your set up. When you log in the default page is your “drive”. On the left you will see a menu of choices. Their is a create button next to an upload button. This is where you start a new project or upload an existing one. If you upload a document from your files it will ask you to convert it. If you are simply storing this document in your drive, then it is not necessary to covert it. If you want to edit the document it is better to convert it.
**** Warning: Google Docs does not like tables from Word, you will have to reformat them.****
To start a new document, click on “create”. When you do you will get some choices. New folder is for creating folders to organize your drive items into. Document is a blank piece of paper defaulted to US letter. (This can be changed.) Presentation is like a Powerpoint or Keynote. Spreadsheet is like and Excel or Numbers workbook. Form is to create an online submittable for for people to fill in. Drawing which allows you to create a drawing. I will discuss these options in more detail in a later post.
Another thing that you will see on the left is “shared with me” this is where files created by someone else, but shared with you will appear. You can move these files into your folders if you want to organize them. You will also see “starred”. This is a handy aspect because it allows you to star a document. I like this for frequently used documents or documents that I am currently editing or teaching with. Starring them also makes them easier to find on the app for the iPad.
Another important thing to know about is Sharing documents. You will see in the top right of the screen after you create a document the option to share it. This is where Google Docs shines. If you share a document, form, presentation, etc. with someone then they can edit it, view, or comment on it. You can choose what they are allowed to do with the document when you share it with them. You can share a document with multiple people by putting in their email address, or you can send them a link to the document. This is also where you can set your privacy settings for the document. You are also able to share whole folders so that when a new document is created in created in the folder, it is automatically shared with those people.
Photo Credit: https://cdn1.iconfinder.com/data/icons/free-colorful-icons/360/google_docs.png