How to Navigate and Share Anything through Google Docs

How to Navigate and Share Anything through Google Docs
September 9, 2016 3 Comments For Authors, Writing Advice Stephanie Ayers

stack of books on the dark wood background. toning. selective focus on the middle book

Last week, I explained how your Google Drive and Docs works. This week, I go in depth into the world of the Google Doc app and how you can make the most of it from any device you use it from. Are you ready? Open your Google Drive now. Go in that new folder you created last week and let’s dive into your newest document.

For the purposes of this lesson, I will be using one of my documents titled “What the Sign Saw.” You can read the entire work and its publication journal here.

Let’s start with the basic menu headings just below the title of your doc.

The Menu

Before we begin the breakdown, you must know that many of these options are in the menu for sheer convenience and many things, like sharing, editing, inserting, can be done in more than one way.

  1. File-As with any writing app, this is your main tool. By clicking on “file,” you can:

    • -Share
    • -Create something new document, presentation, spreadsheet, form, or drawing, and even upload a template
    • -Open a document
    • -Rename the current document
    • -Make a copy
    • -Move to… a new folder destination or trash
    • -Check revision history (this is helpful to see what changes you or anyone else made)
    • -Language: simply click on it and find the language you need to translate it to.
    • -Download as: This is probably the second most important tool in your “file.” By clicking here, you can easily convert your Google doc to Word, PDF, and other options. *Note: Formatting changes from Google to Word, so be sure to check for proper page breaks and chapter breaks after downloading.
    • -Publish to the web (self explanatory. This is an easy way to share straight to your website from Google Drive)
    • -Email: you can email the doc to any collaborators or you can make it an email attachment in one step
    • -Document Details-this is a popup that displays what folder your doc is in, who created it, who last modified it, and when it was created
    • -Page Setup is just like any other page setup. Change from portrait to landscape and etc.
    • -Print
  2. Edit– your basic editing options are easily found here. My favorite aspect of this tool is the “select all” option. It saves time when copying from one application to another.
  3. View– add rulers, typical options found under view, including a full page option (less distractions!)
  4. Insert-this is pretty self explanatory as are the options in the popup. This only inserts things like links, footnotes, page breaks into the document.
  5. Format-everything you need to properly format your document, including font size, paragraph styles, and line spacing.
  6. Tools– extra goodies that enhance your document or help you with word count and such. It include voice text, dictionary, and spelling as well.
  7. Table– add a table to your document
  8. Add ons-if you use ProWritingAid, here is where you would activate it to edit your document. You can publish to WordPress from here as well, find a rhyme or open the thesaurus.

The Discussion

Now that you’ve figured out how to maneuver and manipulate your document, let’s move to the right top corner where you find “Comments” and “Share.”

Comments shows all of the comments anyone has made to your document at any time, even if you’ve resolved them already. This is a fabulous tool for editing purposes. It also enables anyone you share the document with to comment anywhere on your document. Here’s how it works:

The bar across the street had opened, and the music flowing from it seemed lively. She stuffed her keys in her pocket and crossed the street. The music, a cross between southern and country with a modern twist, increased in volume as she neared the bar. She stopped at the edge of the parking lot and looked around. The bright yellow and pastel colors gave a sharp contrast to the motel across the street. In fact, looking behind her, the motel became grayscale compared to the tropical hues of the building in front of her. Cars polka-dotted the parking lot. A large Stetson with a crab sitting on its crown lit up the center of the bar’s facade, casting a yellowish hue on everything beneath it.

From the above paragraph, the red indicates for blog purposes the section commented on by one of my betas. Her comment: You don’t need both of these descriptions. They say the same thing. What’s above is different because I took her advice and changed it from “the motel became grayscale, as drab as a black and white movie.” The comment feature actually takes you to each section in the document the comment applies to, making it easier to edit and revise without having to search for it.

Still need to search for it? Or maybe you accidentally gave a minor character two different names or had an inconsistency. You want to change it, but depending on the length of your document, that could be a difficult and time consuming task. CTRL+F works here also. Just type in the text you’re looking for and it will take you to each incidence of that word scheme, with the simplicity of directions arrows to avoid scrolling. Since I have already had this story published and done all the editing and revising, I did have to use CTRL+F to find the particular passage to go with the comment I shared. It’s easy to forget how simple Google Docs is to use and all the features it has available to a writer.

The Share

Next to “Comments” you have a blue rectangle that says Share. This is the most important feature in all of Google Docs for you to master and utilize. From just a simple click, a pop up like this appears on your screen:

Google 5

As you can see, you are provided with two sharing options: Get a shareable link, and enter email.  For just a moment, let’s focus on that grey rectangle that says “can edit.” See the small arrow next to it? You can change their options from edit, to comment, or to view. When you click to get the shareable link, the same options appear. Unless you seek only a reading, it is advisable to always use “can edit” or “can comment.”

Feel strange giving someone the power to overwrite or erase your words? Have no fear. There’s a trick to that too. Offer the “can edit” option and add a reminder to switch to “Suggest” once they enter the document. How do you do that? Look at the sample below…

Google 6

See the upwards arrow? It points to “Suggesting” which is an option where it usually says “editing” under the comment and share bars at the top. Anyone you share with “Can edit” options has this capability. To the left of the page, I added an arrow to show the suggestion I made. I used the word her back to back in one sentence. This could be avoided by switching one of them to the word the instead. On the right, you see my profile in the box with my suggestion. If you agree with the offering, you simply click the check-mark to accept. When you do that, it automatically make the change for you. If you hit the X instead, a rejection of the suggestion, it stays the same. How easy is that?

One final suggestion I offer when you share is to use both the link and email to ensure your recipient has access to the document. Once you give them permission, they can access it as many times as needed until you take away their permission. All suggestions and edits show up in your email also.

For some added fun, keep the document open and watch as your friends and readers leave suggestions and comments. You can change the text right in front of their eyes!

Now that you understand how to navigate and share your document, as well as accept or reject suggestions, it’s time to find some friends to share your story with. Next week, we will discuss how to edit someone else’s document shared with you.

[bctt tweet=”#Learn navigation and sharing tips on #google docs. @theauthorSAM #writingtips #amwriting #amediting #amreading #ourwriteside” username=”OurWriteSide”]

Once you follow these steps, I’d like you to revisit this post and share your experience with us.


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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  1. 3 Comments


    Keep passing out this great information! I’ve used Gmail for a while now, but I’ve never had the need for all of the bells and whistles so to speak until now.


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