Using Google Docs: The Basics Paul Jude Beauvais August 31, 2009.
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Using Google Docs: The Basics Paul Jude Beauvais August 31, 2009
What Is Google Docs? Google Docs is a free online service that writers can use for composing and storing documents. The Google Docs site also allows writers to share their online documents with others so that several people may work on a single document without e-mailing it back and forth.
Using Google Docs: Why? (1) Google Docs is free. Writers can use it without purchasing any software or paying any fees. (Students don’t need to buy Microsoft Office.) Google Docs users can access their documents from any computer because the documents are stored online. (Users also can download documents to work on them off-line.)
Using Google Docs: Why? (2) Students can continue using Google Docs after they leave our classes. (Some other platforms—e.g., BlackBoard and the proprietary sites that publishers provide—are not available to students after they leave college.)
Using Google Docs: Why? (3) Google Docs is a convenient platform for viewing drafts of work without making photocopies or e-mailing attachments. Google Docs is a convenient platform for teachers to use in responding to drafts. Google Docs is a convenient platform for students to use when composing and editing a group project (as long as the collaborators work sequentially instead of simultaneously).
Using Google Docs: Why Not? (1) Google Docs does not work well for collaborative writing by multiple students working simultaneously (i.e., “in real time”) on a single document. Google Docs provides fewer format options than Microsoft Word. Some formatting is lost when documents are uploaded to or downloaded from Google Docs (but much of it can be restored).
Using Google Docs: Why Not? (2) Microsoft is making Office available online. It’s now available in a beta version for users of live.com. If you really like using Microsoft Word, you may want to wait a year and see whether Microsoft Online Office meets your needs better than Google Docs.
Setting Up an Account (1) Go to docs.google.com and bookmark this page.docs.google.com Click on the “Get Started” Button. Enter your e-mail address. Enter a password. Re-enter the password.
Setting Up an Account (2) Uncheck “stay signed in” and “Enable Web History.” Type the provided verification word in the “Word Verification” box. Click the button labeled “I accept. Create my account.” (This should take you to the “Account Creation Confirmation” page.)
Setting Up an Account (3) On the “Account Creation Confirmation” page, click the link labeled “Click here to continue.” (This should take you to your Google Docs “main” page, where you can create and manage documents.) Although you now can create Google Docs, you can’t share them with anyone until you verify your account. (The next few slides explain how to do this.)
Verifying an Account (1) Sign out of Google Docs. Check your e-mail at the address you entered when registering for Google Docs. There you should find a message with the subject line “Google Email Verification.” Open this message.
Verifying an Account (2) In the “Google Email Verification” message, click on the link that follows the sentence, “To activate your account and verify your email address, please click on the following link.” A window will pop up to confirm that you have verified your account. Click the button that says “Click here to continue.” This will return you to the sign-in page for Google Docs. Sign in again.
Creating a New Document in Google Docs (1) After signing in, click on the “New” button. (It’s the left-most button in the blue toolbar.) Select “Document” from the list of options. (A blank document labeled “Untitled” will open.) To rename the document, click on the word “untitled.” (You will be prompted to give the document a new name.) Begin composing using the default settings.
Creating a New Document in Google Docs (2) Google Docs are formatted for viewing on a screen, not a page. For this reason, they display without margins, page breaks, or page numbers. However, you can add some of these features while you’re working on a document, and you can add other features if you format the document for printing.
Creating a New Document in Google Docs (3) The default settings for a Google Doc are ten- point Verdana type in a single-spaced document. To change these settings, click on the “Edit” button (in the light blue menu below the document name) and select “Document Style.” This will open a window that provides options for changing type face, type size, line spacing, and other features.
Creating a New Document in Google Docs (4) If you want to make a Google Doc display in a page-like “portrait” format instead of a screen-like “landscape” format, click on “View” and select “Fixed width page view.” This will display the document as one continuous page that is 8.5 inches wide. (You can continue composing in this mode.)
Saving a New Document in Google Docs (1) To save a Google Doc in your Google Docs site, click on the “Save” button in the upper-right corner. This saves the document in the “Web Archive” (*.mht) format, designed for viewing within the Google Docs site. You also can save by clicking the “File” button in the light blue menu below the file name, and then clicking “Save.”
Downloading a New Document from Google Docs (1) You can download a Google Doc to work on it offline or save it on your own computer. A downloaded Google Doc may lose some of its formatting, but you can add features by editing the document with Microsoft Word or whatever other program you use to open it.
Downloading a New Document from Google Docs (2) To download a Google Doc, click “File” (in the light blue menu below the document title) and then select “Download file as.” Select a file type for the document (e.g., PDF, Word, or Text). A window will open, giving you the option of saving the document. Click on the “Save” button.
Uploading a Word Document to Google Docs (1) In addition to creating documents in Google Docs, you can upload Word documents to Google Docs from your computer. Some layout features are lost when a Word document is uploaded. Many (but not all) of these features can be restored when you work on the document in Google Docs. The simpler the Word document, the easier it will be to work on in Google Docs.
Uploading a Word Document to Google Docs (2) On your main Google Docs page, click on the “Upload” button in the blue tool bar at the top of the page. Click on the “Browse” button, and select a file from your computer. Then click “Open.”
Uploading a Word Document to Google Docs (3) Either keep the current name of the document or type a new name in the box marked “What do you want to call it?” Click the “Upload File” button. The file will open in Google Docs. You now can work on the file as a Google Doc and share it with others through Google Docs.
Sharing a Google Doc (1) A Google Doc can be shared with other people who have Google Docs accounts. When you share a document with someone, it appears on the list of documents in the person’s main Google Docs page. The person can open the document from that page.
Sharing a Google Doc (2) When you share a Google Doc with someone, you can designate whether the recipient will be a collaborator (i.e., someone who can change the document) or just a viewer (i.e., someone who can see the document but can’t change it). If you do allow recipients to change a document, you can track the changes and accept or reject them.
Sharing a Google Doc (3) To share a document with someone, begin by opening the document. (Do this by clicking on it in your list of documents on your main page.) When the document is open, click on the blue “Share” button in the upper right-hand corner above the document. Then select “Invite people.” This will open a window labeled “Share with others.”
Sharing a Google Doc (4) In the “Share with others” window, type (or paste) the e-mail addresses of the recipients with whom you want to share the document. Click to select either the “To edit” button (if you want the recipients to be able to change the document) or the “To view” button (if you want the recipients to be able to read the document but not to change it).
Sharing a Google Doc (5) You can share a document without notifying the recipient (in which case it will just appear in the person’s list of Google docs), or you can notify the person by e-mail. To share the document without notifying the recipient, click the link labeled “Add without sending invitation.” To notify the recipient, type a subject line and message. Then click the “Send” button.
Sharing a Google Doc (6) After clicking the “Share” button, a window will appear to confirm that your message has been sent. Click the “Save & Close” button to conclude the “sharing” process.
Sharing a Google Doc (7) To remove recipients or change their privileges, click on the “Share” button and then select the option “See who has access.” This will open a “Share with others” window, with recipients listed on the left. A drop-down menu appears following each recipient’s name. Select the “None” option in this menu to remove a recipient. After making changes, click “Save & Close.”
Editing a Google Doc as a Collaborator (1) When someone shares a document with a recipient through Google Docs, the document appears in the list of documents on the recipient’s main Google Docs page. The recipient can click on the document to open it.
Editing a Google Doc as a Collaborator (2) If a recipient has “collaborator” privileges, s/he can type changes right in the document, just as the owner of the document would. After changing a document as a collaborator, click “Save and Close.”
Viewing the Revision History of a Google Doc (1) The owner and recipients (viewers and collaborators) of a Google Doc can view the revision history of the document. The owner and collaborators also can choose whether to accept changes or revert back to earlier versions of the document.
Viewing the Revision History of a Google Doc (2) To view the revision history of a document, click on the “File” button in the light blue menu below the document name. Then select “Revision history.” This will display a chronological list of all changes made to the document, along with the name of the person who made the changes.
Viewing the Revision History of a Google Doc (3) To the left of each listed change is a link that will open the version of the document that contains that change, as well as any changes made earlier. When a revised version of a document is opened through “Revision History,” the version number is displayed in the tool bar above the document (e.g., “Showing revision #5).
Viewing the Revision History of a Google Doc (4) To the right of the version number (e.g., “Showing revision #5”) are buttons labeled “Older” and “Newer.” These allow the viewer to switch to versions of the document that were produced before or after the one containing the changes in the displayed version.
Viewing the Revision History of a Google Doc (5) To the right of the “Older” and “Newer” buttons is another button labeled “Revert to this one.” Clicking this button makes the displayed version the “most current” version of the document. (Reverting to an older version eliminates changes made after that version was produced.)
Viewing the Revision History of a Google Doc (6) Clicking the “Revert to this one” button also closes the “Revision history” display, returning the viewer to the standard display of the document. Click “Save and Close” to preserve changes and exit the document.
Comparing Two Versions of a Google Doc (1) To compare two versions of a Google Doc, first open the current version of the document. Click “File” and then select “Revision history.” In the “Revision history” list, each link for a numbered revision is preceded by a box. Check the boxes next to the two versions that you want to compare (e.g., check “Revision 5” and “Revision 2”).
Comparing Two Versions of a Google Doc (2) Click the “Compare Checked” button (in the light blue tool bar above the list of revisions). A single document will open, and it will contain a merged display of the versions. Any differences between the versions will be color coded. (Content that is in Version 2 but not in Version 5 will be highlighted in one color; content that is in Version 5 but not in Version 2 will be highlighted in a different color.)
Comparing Two Versions of a Google Doc (3) A key for interpreting the color coding appears at the right end of the light blue tool bar above the document. The “Compare Checked” mode is useful for comparing versions, but it is not possible to edit in this mode. To resume editing, click “Back to revision history.” Then click “Back to editing.” This will return you to the current version of the document.
E-Mailing a Google Doc as an Attachment (1) To email a document to a recipient, begin by opening the document. Click on “Share” and then select “Email as attachment.” This will open a window labeled “Email Document.” In the “Email Document” window, enter the e- mail address of the recipient. You may also want to type a message in the message box.
E-Mailing a Google Doc as an Attachment (2) In the “Email Document” window, click the button labeled “Email document as,” and then use the drop-down menu following the button to select a file type for the document (e.g., Word document or PDF). Click “Send.” (Notice that you didn’t need to attach the document. If you e-mail a document that you’ve opened, it attaches to the e-mail message automatically.)
Printing a Google Doc (1) The default settings for a printed Google Doc are one-inch margins all around and no page numbers. To change these settings, click on “File” (in the light blue menu below the document name) and select “Print Settings.” This will open a window where you can change all four margins and add page numbers.
Printing a Google Doc (2) Changes in the “Print” options for a Google Doc do not display automatically, but you can preview features such as margins, page breaks, and page numbers. Click on “Edit” and then select “Print Preview.” This will display all print features of the document (including page breaks and page numbers); however, you cannot compose in this mode.
Printing a Google Doc (3) To print a document, begin by opening the document. Click on the “File” button (in the light blue menu below the name of the document), and then select “Print.” This will open a Print window where you can make the usual choices (i.e., which pages to print, how many copies to print, and so on).