An Introduction to Google Docs


We make extensive use of Google Docs here at school and think it may be a great tool for our Class Parents to use, especially when there is a lot of organizing to do.  

This video ‘Google Docs in Plain English’ by commoncraft explains why we use Google Docs:

What is a Google Doc? 

Google Docs is a free, Web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, form, and data storage service offered by Google. It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users. (

Why do we use Google Docs? 

These applications can be accessed and used by a number of people simultaneously. Since the information is stored on the Internet and not tied to a single computer, it becomes easier to share information. Working on a document simultaneously also saves time when undertaking large projects or collaborating across long distances. (

How do I use my Google Docs? 
We have put together a Google Presentation that works through the basics of using Google Docs. 

These are the things we talked about in our mini-workshop:

1) When you are in your Google Drive you can choose to ‘Create’ a document or ‘Upload’ a document. We recommend Creating, as sometimes formatting can get mixed up.

2) Think carefully about the name of your document so it is easy to find using the search function in your Google Drive

3) Think about your share settings – public on the web, anyone with the link or private

4) Think about editing rights – can edit, can comment, can view

5) You can share the document from your Drive in the share settings by adding email addresses and a message – or you can copy the link and put it in your own email. 

6) Revision history is a great tool:

Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides have a revision history pane that allows you to view at a glance all changes made to a document by each collaborator. While it may not work exactly like a track changes tool, the revision history tool lets you view and revert to earlier versions of your document, spreadsheet, presentation, or drawing and see which collaborators made edits to any of these versions. (

7) Using the ‘Comments’ can also be helpful:

Comments are a handy way of adding notes to your documents, spreadsheets, and presentations that are visible to viewers and collaborators. These can be invaluable for communicating with collaborators about specific parts of the document, as well as making notes about changes you’ve made or would like to make. (

And that is the basics of using Google Docs. We will be offering a workshop in the new year that continues on from here and explores using Google Forms and Google Spreadsheets. 

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