Google Docs What is it, How does it work? Complete Guide

Do you need software that allows you to edit documents, presentations and spreadsheets online, wherever you are and from any device? Do you need a fast, free and intuitive system that allows you to keep an eye on your team’s work? Then you need Google Docs .

Surely you have already heard of it: nowadays Google Docs is one of the most used suites both for purely personal and business purposes, thanks to the fact that it allows multiple people to view and edit a document at the same time.

If you are curious and want to know more, you are in the right place: today I will explain everything about Google Docs: What it is, How it works and also how to use it smoothly both online and offline. Are you ready?

Google Docs and Google Docs

Google Docs is none other than the Italian language page of Google Docs. Basically it is the suite of applications included in Google Drive, for this reason all the operations you will see are closely linked to the latter web service.

Google Docs users can import, create, edit and update documents and spreadsheets in various fonts and file formats, combining texts with formulas, lists, tables and images.

All users can control who sees their work and keep an eye on changes. For all these reasons it is ideal for publishing spreadsheets related to large companies, for managing blogs or even for planning events.

How Google Docs works

Google Docs works in a very similar way to Dropbox , because it allows you to upload your files to a cloud and access them from different devices. This is because it relies on Google Drive, which is Google’s cloud storage system.

To log in, you just need to have a Google account and visit the Google Docs home page. Once logged in, you can click on “ Go to Google Docs ” to access all its features.

Google Docs homepage

To run Google Docs correctly, just use a compatible browser (Internet Explorer version 6 or later, Firefox version 1.07 or later and Safari 3.1 or later) and enable Javascript and cookies.

Once logged in, you can take advantage of all the features of Docs, choosing what to create using the sidebar .

As you can see, from here you can opt for the creation of Documents, Sheets or Presentations. In all cases, you can choose between creating completely new files and starting from a pre-established template. But I’ll tell you more about this in the next paragraph.

How to use Google Docs

The usability of Google Docs is very similar to that of Evernote , because from the dashboard you can create various documents and keep them under control.

The documents will always be available online and being connected to your Google account you can access them from any computer and from any device, without limitation of number or operating system.

Create documents with Google Docs

But specifically, how do you create documents with Google Docs? It is soon said. The creation phase is certainly the simplest, because you just need to click on the sidebar and select the type of document you need.

By clicking on “ Documents ” you will be shown the Google Docs templates at the top, which you can trace or simply use for inspiration.

Below, however, you will have all the documents that you have created or that have been shared with you on Drive and to which you can access, both for viewing only and for any changes.

The same procedure applies to ” Sheets ” and ” Presentations “: at the top you will always see the models proposed by Docs, while at the bottom you will see those present on your Drive account.

By clicking on the blank template or on one of the pre-established ones you can create your document / sheet / presentation. Once the title has been entered, Google Docs will automatically save it to Drive .

By clicking on the ” Share ” button you can invite friends and collaborators to edit your document. In detail, this box will appear:

If you want to limit the permissions of the people with whom you will share the document, click on ” Advanced “.

Advanced Google Docs sharing settings

From here you can select your settings, entering any restrictions you deem necessary to protect your document.

Upload documents with Google Docs

You can also upload files via Google Drive. I remind you that to do this you simply need to open Drive and click on “New” at the top left.

Upload Google Drive / Google Docs File

Specifically, remember that Google Docs is compatible with the following formats :

  • HTML file
  • Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel files
  • OpenDocument text and spreadsheet formats (.odt and .ods)
  • Rich text format (.rtf)
  • StarOffice Documents (.sxw)
  • Text file (.txt)

In addition, you can upload documents by sending them to your gmail address and saving them in Drive. Once saved, Google Docs converts all attachments into HTML format and makes them editable.

Google Docs Online and Offline: What to Know?

Google Docs is mainly used online, this is because it was basically designed to be used by multiple users at the same time. At the same time it is not impossible to use it Offline, if you know how.

Specifically, to use Google Docs Offline you can only and exclusively use Google Chrome , because in fact you will have to download the “Google Docs Offline” extension.

Once you have downloaded and installed the extension, you will need to enable offline access in the Google Drive settings menu.

Remember that using Google Docs offline will allow you to view your documents and copy and paste parts of them, but will not allow you to save any changes you make. To make sure you save your changes, simply go back online.

Tricks and Shortcuts For Google Docs

Google Docs is also distinguished by the possibility of using small tricks and keyboard shortcuts that make it easier and more intuitive to use.

Among the tricks of Google Docs, for example, is the one that allows you to add a comment and directly tag the person to whom it is addressed. How? Simple, just underline the text part (or the box of the Spreadsheet) and click on the appropriate icon .

The person concerned will receive a notification directly on their inbox, and will reply to you as soon as they connect to the document. Another useful trick is the one that allows you to add words to the Google Docs dictionary. To do this, just click on the item ” Tools “.

From here you will have access to the dictionary and you can add words that Google Docs does not recognize as correct. Plus, know that you can also link to other Google Docs documents by getting a shortlink from the share button .

As for shortcuts, there are several for Mac and PC. In addition to the more common ones, which allow you to format the text, there are some particularly useful ones that I will list below.

Useful shortcuts Google Docs for PC

Here are useful shortcuts that will make your life easier while using Google Docs.

  • Open Revision History : CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + H
  • Open the dictionary : CTRL + SHIFT + Y
  • Word count : CTRL + SHIFT + C
  • Go to the next misspelling : CTRL + ‘
  • Go to the previous misspelling : CTRL +;
  • Open the chat within the document : SHIFT + ESC

Useful shortcuts Google Docs for Mac

And here are the same shortcuts, for Mac.

  • Open Revision History : ⌘ + OPTION + SHIFT + H
  • Open the dictionary : ⌘ + SHIFT + Y
  • Word count : ⌘ + SHIFT + C
  • Go to the next misspelling : ⌘ + ‘
  • Go to the previous misspelling : ⌘ +;

I hope my guide was useful to you! 

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