Beginners Guide to Google Docs (2023)

Beginners Guide to Google Docs (1)

If you're just getting started with Google Docs, the extensive features and plugins can be a little daunting. Here are some tips to help you get started with this powerful Microsoft Word alternative.

What is Google Docs?

If you've heard of Google Docs before, just skip ahead. If you've never heard of it, here's a crash course on what you need to know. We'll go through the basics, explain what Google Docs is, and how to get started right away.

Google Docs is a free web-based word processor offered by Google as part of its full office suite, Google Drive, to compete with Microsoft Office. The other main services included in the cloud-based package are Sheets (Excel) and Slides (Powerpoint).

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Google Docs is available on all devices and platforms; All you need is an internet connection and a web browser (or the corresponding apps for mobile devices). Google does the rest and takes care of most of the heavy lifting while the software runs in the cloud.

Docs supports many different file types, including.doc, .docx.TXT,.rtfand .odt files, making it easy to view and convert Microsoft Office files directly from Google Drive.

And because Docs is an online word processor, you can share and collaborate on the same document with multiple people, and track revisions, changes, and suggestions in real time.

have you heard enough Let's begin.

How to sign up for an account

Before you can use Google Docs, you must first sign up for a Google account (an @gmail account). If you already have an account, feel free to continue to the next section. If not, let's look at the easy way to create a Google account and set it up with Docs.

Go tocuentas.google.com, click Create Account, and then click For Me.

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On the next page you will need to provide some information to create an account, e.g. B. First and last name, username and password.

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You'll also need to verify your phone number to ensure you're a real human and not a bot.

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After you verify your phone number, the following pages require you to provide a recovery email address, date of birth, gender, and agree to the privacy policy and terms of service. Complete this and you will be the proud new owner of a Google account.

How to create a blank document

Now that you have a Google account, it's time to create your first document. Go toGoogle documentsand place the cursor on the multicolored "+" icon in the lower right corner.

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The + changes to a blue pencil icon; click it

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Chrome Pro Tip:If you use Google Chrome, you can typedocs.neuin the omnibox and press Enter to automatically create and open a new blank document.

How to import a Microsoft Word document

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Even if you're new to Google Docs, you might already have a collection of Microsoft Word files that you want to use. If that's the case, then you mustUpload all your Word documentsbefore I can see her. While it may not support some of the more advanced features and formatting found in some Word documents, it works just fine.

When importing a Word document, you can use Google Docs orTo leadto upload your files. Both methods allow you to drag and drop a file from your computer directly into a web browser for easy uploading. Your Drive stores all your uploaded files, but for the sake of simplicity, the Google Docs home page only shows files of the document type.

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On the Google Docs home page, click the folder icon in the upper-right corner and click the "Upload" tab.

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Once the Word file loads, Docs will open automatically and you can start editing, sharing, and collaborating.

To open a Word document that you want to edit, click the file with the blue "W" next to the filename on the Google Docs homepage.

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Click View or edit the Word file under Documents.

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When you are done with the document, you can download it again in DOCX, PDF, ODT, TXT, HTML or EPUB format. Click File > Download As, then click the format you want and it will download straight to where the files are stored in your browser.

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RELATED: How to import a Word document into Google Docs

How to check your spelling in Google Docs

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Now that you have some documents, it's time to make sureSpelling and grammar are correct. Docs comes with a spell checker by default: every time you misspell something, it underlines the mistake with a squiggly line and prompts you to make a change.

This should be on by default, but you can check it in Tools > Spelling > Underline errors.

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To see spelling corrections and suggestions, right-click the word with the line below it. You can also press Ctrl+Alt+X (Windows) or Command+Alt+X (Mac) to open the spelling and grammar check tool.

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Another way to access the spell checker is to click the icon with an A and a check mark. This activates the tool and analyzes your document for spelling and grammar.

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In addition to a spell checker, Google Docs has a built-in dictionary and thesaurus. All you have to do is highlight a word, right-click it and click "Define [word]".

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While this should get you started, we dida deeper dive into Docs spelling and grammar checkingif you want more information.

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How to collaborate on documents with others

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One of the best features of Google Docs is the facilityGenerate a link to shareso anyone who has it can view, suggest changes, or edit your document. Instead of sending a file between collaborators, you can make all changes and suggestions at once, as if you were all sitting at the same computer in real time. The only difference is that each person has their own text entry cursor to use on their PC.

On the document you want to share, click the blue share button to choose how and with whom you want to send a link to your file. You can enter email addresses manually or click Get shareable link in the top corner to deliver the invite yourself.

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The drop-down menu allows you to edit how much shared power users have the file by selecting one of the following options:

  • Out of:Sharing is disabled. If you previously shared a link with others, it will no longer work and will revoke any permissions they previously had.
  • Anyone with the link can edit:Grants shared users full read/write access. However, they still cannot remove you from their unit. This only applies to the content of the file.
  • Anyone with the link can comment:Allow shared users to leave comments if they choose; This is great for team projects.
  • Anyone with the link can see: Shared users can view the file but not edit it. This is the default action when sharing a file and is the best choice when trying to share a downloadable file.

You can do a lot more with these sharing links, which also work with other files in Drive and on mobile. To learn more about how these links work and how they are generated,check our post.

RELATED: How to create shareable download links for files in Google Drive

How to view all recent changes to a document

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When you share documents with others, it's difficult to keep track of all the small changes that happen when you're not there. therefore there ishistorical review. Google Docs tracks all changes that occur in a document and groups them into periods to avoid clutter. You can even revert a file to one of the previous versions listed in the history with one click.

You can view a list of all recent changes by clicking File > Version History > View Version History.

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RELATED: How to view recent changes to your Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides

How to propose a change to a document

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When you are the owner of a document and prefer collaborators to have itSuggest changes to your file(instead of editing them directly), you can set the access permission to "Suggestions". This allows other people to edit a document without worrying about other people messing with your file. When a collaborator makes a change, the owner is notified via email of the proposed change and can keep or discard the change.

If you look at the top right corner of the document window, you can see the current status. If you see "Suggestions" you're done. If you see Edit or View, click that button and then click the Suggestions option.

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How to find words and page numbers

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By default, Google Docs doesn't show word or page counts, but it doeseasy to check without manual counting. So if you have a strict word count for an assignment or want to control how much you type, you can see the details of your work with the word count. You can even highlight text in each paragraph to check how many words are in the selection.

To view the word/page count of the document, click Tools > Word Count or press Ctrl+Shift+C on Windows and Command+Shift+C on Mac.

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You can also find the word count for a specific text string by highlighting it and going back to Tools > Word Count (or using the keyboard shortcut).

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How to use Google Docs offline

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What if you need access to Google Docs but don't have an internet connection? Although Google Docs is a web-based product, it isit doesn't mean you can't use it offline.. You need to download an extension for Chrome and make sure you enable the file for offline use beforehand. Any changes made to the file will be updated the next time you connect to the Internet.

After downloading theofficial extension for Chrome, go to the Google Docs homepage and click the hamburger menu in the top left > Settings. Once here, toggle "Offline" to the "On" position and click "OK".

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To save storage space on your local computer, Google only downloads the most recently accessed files and makes them available offline. To manually activate a file, click the three-dot icon and toggle Available Offline to On.

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How to add page numbers to a document

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Page numbers are a visual aid to tell the reader which page they are on. They also help you organize physical sheets and put them in the right order (you know, when you print them out). Google Docs doesn't automatically generate page numbers in files, you have toadd them manually, but it's easy to add them to your document's header or footer.

To add a page number to all pages, click Insert > Header and Page Number > Page Number. You will see a pop-up window where you can choose a page number style.

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How to control margins in Google Docs

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Margins are the white space that surrounds the document on all sides. Because margins form an invisible border, reducing the margin increases the usable space on the page. If you need to change the spacing around the edges of all pages in a file, you need to do thisManage your marginswith the ruler on the side and top of the document.

If you prefer to enter the margins manually, click File > Page Setup, enter the amount of white space you want to see on each page, and click OK.

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How to add a text box to a document

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Add text boxesA Google Doc is a great way to highlight relevant information and draw attention to specific elements of a document. However, creating one isn't an easy process, and it's hidden in an unlikely place: in the Draw function.

To access the Draw menu, go to Insert > Draw and click the text box icon on the menu bar.

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Now click and drag your mouse to create a text box in the designated area and add your desired text.

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Click "Save & Close" to insert the text box into your document when finished.

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How to add a summary

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A summary is a wayShow readers each topic/chapter listedin the document This function automatically generates and uses links that jump to the individual sections when clicked. So if you have a large document, everyone can quickly access specific parts without having to scroll through the entire document.

Click Insert > Table of Contents and then click one of the two options offered. The first option is a plain text TOC with numbers on the right for printed documents. The second option does not use page numbers but inserts hyperlinks that jump to the specified sections for the documents to be viewed online.

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Note that to create an automatically generated table of contents that points to specific sections of your document, you must format each chapter or heading using Google Docs' built-in heading styles. This will let Google Docs know how to populate the table and add clickable links.

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Best Google Docs Add-ons

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Now that you've learned all the basics of Google Docs, you can become a real power user by adding plugins.additionsThey are very similar to web browser extensions, but are specific to Google Docs and allow you to get additional third-party functionality. You can install tools to increase productivity with additional proofreaders, document signing apps, a document translator, and even a rubric maker for teachers.

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