Tech Tip Tuesday – Intro to Google Docs

Google’s focus will always be providing high quality search results but many of their other products have revolutionized how individuals share information and collaborate on documents.

This week’s tip is to introduce you to Google Docs & Spreadsheets.  Google Docs makes creating, editing and sharing documents so easy and best of all – it’s FREE!  Your documents are stored online and you can easily access them anytime and from any computer.
Do you know what that means?  No more keeping track of jump drives … no more emailing documents back and forth from home to work … no more worries about incompatible software programs.
HOW IT WORKS
First of all you need a Google account. You’ll be able to use your Google Account to use many of the tools Google has, and you don’t need to sign up for a Google e-mail account to have one. You will, however, need to provide an e-mail address and a password while filling in a short form.  Once you receive your verification e-mail, you’ll be ready to try Google Docs.If you have a gmail account, you can get to Google Docs by clicking on Documents usually found at the left-hand top of the page. Or you can go to http://docs.google.com/ and click on the NEW button (upper left) to create a document, spreadsheet, presentation or form.  You can start from scratch or upload an existing document that you already have on your computer.
Google Docs has basic editing features like font effects, images, tables. If you’re interested in more advanced publishing features, you can easily export the files to other programs (hint:  you can download your docs in a variety of formats:  HTML, OpenOffice, PDF, Word, RTF and more).
THE BEST PART
So why use Google Docs?  Your document is stored online. And now you have a document online, you can access it from any computer at home and work (or Starbucks!) but here’s the best part … you can invite others to view or edit the document online (use the SHARE button on upper right side) and everyone can make changes to the document, EVEN AT THE SAME TIME!!!
Just think .. no more emailing drafts back and forth to team members … everyone can add their own revisions to the same document and watch it improve.  Google Docs encourages collaboration and keeps the documents organized in one location.  You can view the revision history to see who made which edits or even revert to a previous version.
IT’S SO EASY
So now you have an easy way to create or edit existing documents from anywhere, share and collaborate instantly, and eliminate confusing email attachments and version-control issues.
Watch a video on getting started with Google Docs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyjY8ZLzZrw

Coming next …  Google Doc templates, forms for data collection, using Google Docs with your students, publishing your documents online and even more!
Tech Tip Tuesday is written and published weekly by MaryFran Lynch and Colette Cassinelli.  The archive of all tips are located at:  http://sites.google.com/site/techtipstuesday/.

Image credit:  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Usbdrive_icon.svg

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