Does Google Doc Sharing Really Work?

Does Google Doc Sharing Really Work?
September 2, 2016 2 Comments Writing Advice Stephanie Ayers

DocsIf you’ve been reading along, you know that I shared a list of all the things Google can do for you besides search. The rest of this series will focus on Google Drive and Google Docs, since they are more necessary for writers. Today, I answer the question “How does Google Docs work?”

You’ve joined a great writing community like ours. You’ve been paired up with a great writing partner, someone who will give you feedback on your work. The problem is, you have to upload, attach and share your documents with them and hope to catch them in a chat somewhere if you need to talk shop…

I’m here to tell you No. You Don’t.

That’s the yumminess of Google Docs and why every author should use it. Learning HOW to use it can be a task, so today I will give you the breakdown of Google Docs and how to use it to its best potential.

First, create a Gmail account.

Did you know you automatically get access to all the goodies Google has for you just by creating a gmail account? No, you don’t have to have one, as you can install all the apps you need and sync them between your devices, but I really like the spamfree email and options I have with my gmail account, plus its a lot easier to attach anything Drive related right from my email.

Understand the applications.

Like most new programs, it takes a while to get used to them. I’ll save you a lot of time here by explaining where to access everything and what it does. Open a Google search page. If you use Chrome, this can be your default home page. Mine looks like this:

Google 1

Can you see the big arrows in the right corner? They point to the small square of boxes. This is where your Google apps can be found. This little square looks the same in your gmail, in your drive, and most other Google apps. Docs does NOT have this option (but I hope they change that soon!). All you have to do is click on the square and your options will pop up:

Google 2

These are all pretty self-explanatory, and clicking more will bring up further options, and clicking even more after that takes you to the Google products page. For this lesson, we are focusing on Google Drive. Click on the icon, third row, center- the green, yellow, blue triangle. It might look like a recycle sign, but it’s not.

Understanding Google Drive

So if you’re following the instructions so far, you’ve found your way to this strange alien virtual life form called Google Drive. Mine looks like this (but yours may be empty).

google 3

Of course, you can see stuff I circled and directional arrows. Let’s discuss the arrows first.

  • Down arrow #1 hangs over a bunch of white rectangles. These are your folders. These are like your folders on your hard drive, and you can name them anything you want to. Mine have names like “Finished Stories” and “Poetry.” We will talk about this more in a moment.
  • Down arrow #2 hangs over documents. These are things you’ve added to Drive without moving them into a folder. Mine tends to get cluttered because I have so much coming in as well as all the stuff I add on my own. These can be moved easily to any folder you created. More on that in a moment, also.
  • Right arrow points to 3 lines, an i, and a gear. These are your viewing format, your details, and your settings, respectively. I’ll touch on each briefly below:
    •    Google 4When you click the three lines, it changes your view. You can choose between the one above, or this one, which is a list view.
    • By clicking the little “i”, a popup comes up that shows you all the details of all files in your Drive, even if they aren’t your own, but shared with you. This is really handy for viewing over who last commented or edited one of your documents.
    • The gear is settings. Clicking on this gives you four options. Settings, Download Drive, Keyboard shortcuts, and Help. These are basic controls so we won’t go over them in detail.
  • Small left directional arrow, left corner of page. This points to the blue “New” button. This is your main button. By clicking this, you can create lots of things: a new folder, new file upload, new folder upload (Note: a file is the document itself, what goes in the folder), create new documents, sheets, slides, and even more. There’s so much you can do with that NEW button. It’s the key to everything. We’ll talk more about that another week.
  • Large left directional arrow near top center of page. This points to the Search bar. This is your time saving tool to locate any file or folder you need. It even shows emails and anything related to the search term that is in your Google anywhere.

Now, we need to discuss the circled section. I hope you still have your drive open. This is basically your navigation panel. It starts with “My Drive” which is your personal drive, then moves to “Shared with Me” which is everything anyone has shared with you from their Drive. “Recent” is handy if you are having trouble finding something you know someone just sent, then there’s easy panel access to all your photos you save to Google Photos. “Starred” means any docs you have starred, perhaps important docs that need your attention right away, or however your choose to organize your drive. Trash is exactly what it says it is, but you should check it often for accidental deleted files.

Are you with me so far? Good. Now create your first document. Ready? Here’s your guide:

  1. Click New, then Google Docs. Wait for the page to load.
  2. Give your Document a title. Just hover over “Untitled” then click when “Rename” pops up.
  3. Start writing. Your document will automatically save every 30 seconds.

Isn’t that great? You’re well on your way to getting your Drive going.

Want to create a folder to store that shiny new story you just wrote? That’s super easy. Just click New, then folder. Give your folder a name and voila! Next step would be to move your story to this folder. That’s easy too. There’s two ways to do it.

#1: Right click on the title of the document from your My Drive window. Click on Move To and choose your folder, then click on move. Done!

#2: Open the document. To the left of the title there’s a folder. Click on the folder, then click on organize. Choose the option to move to and find the folder and repeat the end of step one.

Your final step here is to share your document with anyone. You can do this two ways: by adding the person’s email and clicking “view,” “suggest,” or “edit.” Then there’s the link sharing, where you set the permissions (view, comment, edit) and copy the link. Sharing the link gives anyone you share the link with immediate access to the document. I tend to use both to ensure my chosen parties have proper access at all times.

By the way, once you add someone’s email to share with them, they can access that document anytime. To stop their access, you just have to remove their permission. All of this is done with the share button. We will go into more detail next week.

Congratulations! You’re now well on your way to becoming a Google Drive Pro.

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Stephanie Ayers A published author with a knack for twisted tales, Stephanie Ayers is the Executive Creative Director of OWS Ink, LLC, a community for writers and readers alike. She loves a good thriller, fairies, things that go bump in the night, and sappy stories. When she is not writing, she can be found in Creative Cloud designing book covers and promotional graphics for authors.
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