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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 can imagine.

In this article, we'll answer the most frequently asked questions about Google Docs.

What is Google Docs??

Google Docs is Google's browser-based word processor. You can create, edit, and share documents online and access them from any computer with an Internet connection.

What sets Google Docs apart from its main desktop competitor, Microsoft Word, is its collaboration features. Google Docs was one of the first word processors to offer shared editing of documents online.

Google has made it incredibly easy to share documents across platforms and work together in real time from a browser window. Your collaborators don't even need a Google account to view or edit the Google documents you share with them.

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How to use Google Docs

You can use Google Docs the same way you would use Word documents. Create new documents, use Google Docs templates, share documents with your team, and collaborate in real time. We show you the basics here.

How to create a Google Doc

What is Google Docs and how to use it?

To create a new Google Doc, first go to and sign in with your Google account. Once you're on the Google Docs home page, 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 or File> New> From Template do the same.

How to save a Google Document

You'll never have to remember to save a Google document because Google automatically saves your documents to your Google Drive, the online storage component The only Google Drive guide you'll ever need to read The only Google Drive guide you'll ever need to read Google Drive is the combination perfect online file storage and document management tools. We explain how to best use Google Drive online and offline, on your own and in collaboration with others. Read more about Google's online office suite. Therefore, you won't find a Save button.

How to download Google Docs

What is Google Docs and how to use it?

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

How to send a document to Google Doc

What is Google Docs and how to use it?

If you want to download the document because you want to email it, you can do so directly from the document. Go File> Email as Attachment , choose the file format you want to attach, and fill in the standard email details.

How to share a Google document

However, instead of emailing a document, we recommend sharing 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 does not need a Google account to view or edit the document.

To share a Google Doc from within the document, click Share button at the top right. Now you have several options:

  1. Click the Get share link at the top right. The link will be copied to your clipboard. and next to Anyone with the link , Sets the default access level. I can see to be able to edit or you can comment . If you make changes, click Copy link to update the copy on your clipboard. Within the same menu you can also disable the link sharing option, which means that only specific people can access the document.
  2. Enter the names or email addresses of the desired recipients. Note that the default access level with this method is able to edit . Click the pen icon to the right to change this to I can see or you can comment .
  3. Click Advanced at the bottom right to share directly to Gmail, Google Plus, Facebook, or Twitter, to control link sharing, to invite people, and to control owner settings such as Prevent other editors from changing access and add new people .

What is Google Docs and how to use it?

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How to track changes in Google Docs

When you make frequent changes to your Google Docs or once you've shared it with others, you'll want to keep track of the changes.

Version history

Google Docs does this automatically by tracking the version history of your document. Go to File> Version history> View version history to expand a menu that lists all the changes that Google has tracked for your document. You'll see when the changes were made, who made them, and they're all highlighted in the document.

What is Google Docs and how to use it?

You can even name the current version to easily revert changes made later. Or go to File> Version history> Current version name , enter a name and click Save . Alternatively, go to the version history menu and click on a version date or name to change its name. In the version history menu, you can enable a setting to only show named versions (see screenshot above).

What is Google Docs and how to use it?

Version history is the basic form of change tracking. You can restore versions of a document by selecting it and clicking Restore this version button. What you can't do is accept or discard individual changes within each version. If that's the functionality you want, you have to use a different feature:modes.

Suggestion Mode

Google Docs supports three different modes:Editing , Suggestion , and Visit . Editing is the default mode. To change to a different mode, go to View> Mode or click the pen icon at the far right of the tools menu. To control individual changes, use the Hint mode .

What is Google Docs and how to use it?

When you make changes in Suggestion mode, you'll see a comment on the right side of the document, with the option to accept or reject the suggestion. You can also write a reply to discuss each change. All changes made in this mode are individually tracked in the corresponding document version in the version history. This way, you have the option to review and restore the rejected changes, even though you would have to restore that version of the document, which means you would lose all subsequent changes.

Tipping: To force your collaborators to use Suggestion mode, set their access to can comment when sharing the document.

How to print from Google Docs

What is Google Docs and how to use it?

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 Ctrl + P Shortcut keyboard or click the print icon in the tools menu.

Each 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 must be online while setting up offline access. You must also use Google Chrome outside of Incognito mode, install and enable the Google Docs Offline Chrome extension, and have enough free storage space to save your files.

Once done, go to, click on the hamburger menu at the top right, go to Settings , and make sure the slider next to Offline is in the In position (see screenshot below).

What is Google Docs and how to use it?

Now all the documents 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 it is offline. Any changes you make will be synced once you reconnect to the Internet.

What is Google Docs and how to use it?

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

What is Google Docs and how to use it?

The Google Docs offline extension will also cache all the documents you open. If you lose your Internet connection, you will have access even to those documents that are not explicitly available offline. In that case, you can make the document permanently available offline, even if you're not online. Meanwhile, documents that are not cached and not available offline will be muted.

To back up and sync Google Docs files on your computer or mobile device, you can also use the Google Drive backup and sync tool.

Google Docs, now under your control

Now you know the basics of how to use Google Docs. Time to learn more about its relevant features for business documents, try typing with voice in Google Docs, discover how to add animated GIFs to your documents and slides, or discover more Google Docs tricks 10 Google Docs tips that take seconds and will help you save time When you dive deep into Drive, the right feature can help you create professional-looking documents. Our speed tips will help you do it much faster. Read more.