What is Google Docs and how to use it

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Marie-Ange Demory


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What is Google Docs and how to use it. Google Docs is the word processing component of Google's online office suite. It is a free alternative to Microsoft Word. It also has more features than you might realize.

You can create, edit and share documents online and access them from any computer with an Internet connection.

How to use Google Docs

You can use Google Docs just like you would Word. Create new documents, use Google Docs templates, share documents with your team and collaborate in real time.

How to create a Google doc

To create a new Google Doc, first go to and log in with your Google account. Once the Google Docs home page is displayed, you can create a new blank document or choose a template. From within an existing Google Doc, you can also go to File> New> Document o File> New> From Template to do the same.

How to save a Google doc

You'll never have to remember to save a Google Doc because Google automatically saves your documents to your Google Drive, the online storage component of Google's online office suite. So, you won't find a Save button.

How to download a document

Google stores your documents in Google Drive. To download a Google Doc to your computer instead, go to File> Download As and choose the desired file format.

If you want to download the document because you want to email it, you can do it directly from the document. Go up File> Send as Attachment , choose the file format you want to attach and enter the email details.

How to share a Google doc

Instead of emailing a document, however, we recommend that you share it. This is because sharing allows everyone to see and work on the same version of the document. This way you avoid creating conflicting copies or duplicating your work. As mentioned above, the recipient doesn't need a Google account to view or edit the document.

To share a Google Doc click the button Share top right.

How to print from Google Docs

Printing from Google Docs works just like printing any other document on your computer. To print a Google Doc, open the document, then go to File> Print or press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + P or click the print icon in the tools menu.

Any of these actions will open your print menu. From here, choose your printer and settings and print as you normally would.

How to edit Google Docs offline

To edit your Google Docs offline, you need to meet some basic conditions. First, you need to be online while setting up offline access. You also need to use Google Chrome outside of incognito mode, install and enable the Chrome extension, and have enough storage space to save your files.

With that done, go up, click on the hamburger menu at the top right, go up Settings and make sure the slider next to Offline is in place On.

Now, any document you start working on will also be available offline on your computer; at least temporarily. The flash icon next to the document name indicates that you are offline. Any changes made will be synchronized once reconnected to the Internet.

With the Google Docs offline extension enabled, you can peruse the list of all your documents below, even offline. All documents permanently available offline will have a check mark icon. Click the three-dot menu to check the option Available offline .

The Google Docs Offline extension will also cache any documents you open. If you lose your internet connection, you will also have access to those documents not explicitly available offline. If so, you can make the document permanently available offline, even if you're not online. Meanwhile, those documents not cached and unavailable offline will appear grayed out.

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