Now that you’ve learned the basics of Google Drive, it’s time to focus on some specific applications inside of it.

First, we’re going to take a look at Google Docs. Almost every feature in here is like Microsoft Word with a few key differences. First, let’s open Google Docs. The easiest way to do this is to go to drive.google.com.

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Click “Go to Google Drive” then enter your email.

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From here, on the top right of the screen click “New,” then “Google Docs.”

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Google Docs will then open and you’re ready to start! The first thing I like to do is set a title. Click on the top left where it’s written “Untitled document” then simply type in whatever you’d like it to be called. If you’ve already started typing, the title will become your first words.

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A very useful feature of Google Docs is it’s share feature. On the top right of the screen, you’ll see a blue button called “Share.” Hovering over it will show your current privacy settings.

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Click “Share.” From this screen, you can enter the email address of whoever you would like to have access to this document. In the drop-down menu to the right of the email address, click the amount of access you would like them to have: Can Edit, Can Comment, or Can View.

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If you don’t want to directly email the link, you can click the small gray words on the top right of this screen that say “Get Shareable Link.” Clicking this will turn link sharing on, and from that drop-down menu, you can choose that anyone with the link can either view, comment, or edit, depending on your preference.

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When someone else is logged in, their avatar or picture (if they have a Google account with a picture) will show up on the top right. If they aren’t anonymous, you can click this to begin a chat session with them.

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If you’ve given them editing privileges, you can see everything they do in real time. This means that if they start typing something to change the document, you can see letter-for-letter this change!

Another nice feature is that you can highlight any word, phrase, or paragraph and add a comment. Simply click and drag your mouse over the intended word[s], then click the comment button at the top.

The last main difference that between Google Docs and Microsoft Word that you need to know is how to save the file off Google Drive. When your file is completed, click “File” on the top left of the screen. Then, hover your mouse over “Download as.” Simply click whatever you would like your file downloaded as (this will most likely be “Microsoft Word (.docx)) and your file is saved on your computer, typically under your downloads folder. So, you can have a Microsoft Word document without ever needing to install it on your computer!

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Congratulations, you now know how to get started with Google Docs.

~ Angela Karl