Google Docs 101 A Crash Course

Some things you should know before you take the test!

Overview of Google Docs

  • Word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, forms and drawings
  • Access anywhere, anytime from any internet browser
  • Collaborate and share viewing/editing privileges
  • Autosave and revision history
  • Share both documents and folders to individuals or groups
  • Use ready-made templates

Access and Compatibility

  • How do I access Google Docs? (Drive or
  • Import and store any file format or convert to Google doc for collaboration and sharing (upload or convert from mail)
  • Only stored files (.doc, .jpg, .pdf) count toward your storage limit (5GB). Google Docs format don't use storage space.

Access Docs Offline

  • This feature is only available with Chrome and must be set up.
  • Grey gear > set up docs offline > allow offline docs
  • This is view-only ... you must go back online to make edits or create new doc.
  • Must be enabled on each individual computer you use.

Sharing Documents

  • Two types of settings: visibility (how people access your document) and sharing (who can edit or view)
  • Five visibility options: private, public on the web, people at my organization, people at my organization with a link, and anyone with the link
  • DEFAULT: you are owner, document is private
  • Sharing privileges: owners, editors, viewers (you can transfer ownership)
  • You can share with up to 200 editors/viewers or make it public for all to see.
  • 50 can edit / view a spreadsheet, document, or drawing simultaneously. 10 can edit / view a presentation or a document in the older version of Google documents.
  • You can also share an entire folder - just drag and drop docs into that folder. (Click eye icon to quickly see rights.)
  • Or you can share documents or folders with groups - a single email address that includes multiple members.
  • Your domain administrator must enable the setting to allow you to share docs outside of your organization.


  • Real time collaboration ... you can see who is doing what
  • Built-in chat feature - click on viewer and begin messaging
  • You can also insert comments on a document - highlight the text you want to comment on > Insert > Comment (you can reply to and resolve comments)
  • You can also individually invite collaborators by email ... doc will not show up in their drive (shared with me) until they open it from the email attachment.
  • There are 3 ways to remove a collaborator: one at a time, by changing visibility options for the doc, or make the document private.

Let's try it!

Printing and Publishing

  • You can publish your document as a simple webpage where anyone with the link can view the contents - good for sharing with large audience (more than 50). The access rights you have set are retained.
  • You can also embed the document using HTML code after you have published it.
  • Printing documents allows you to save a PDF or print a hard copy of your document.

Creating and Uploading Documents

  • To start a new document, go to your Drive, click on create and choose what type of document you want to create.
  • Or you can click on the upload box (next to create) and upload a file or folder.
  • You can also drag and drop the file from your computer into your documents list or into your Drive, if you've installed it on your computer.
  • It's easy to find documents using the search bar - start typing and it will make recommendations.
  • Or click on sort to filter your docs by last modified, last edited, last opened...


  • You can change cell data type within a cell and also insert functions.
  • There are two ways to add links in a cell: enter the full URL into the desired cell or use the hyperlink formula.
  • You can also insert images, charts and gadgets into spreadsheets.
  • Auto-fill in spreadsheets allows you to repeat information with the drag of a mouse. (ex: days of week, patterns of numbers, etc.)
  • Hit Ctrl+/ (or Cmd+/ on a Mac) to pull up the list of shortcuts.
  • Same sharing and visibility rules apply with spreadsheets as well as collaboration features.
  • You can insert comments in cells, chat with other collaborators, protect sheets and set up notification rules for spreadsheet modifications.
  • You can add, remove, copy, and hide sheets within your spreadsheet.
  • You can create dropdown lists in individual cells through the data validation tool by validating against a range of cells in your sheet or by creating a custom list.


  • Again, the same sharing and visibility rules apply, as well as collaboration features and revision history.
  • You can either upload and convert an existing presentation, create a new presentation or choose a template from the gallery.
  • You can insert images (upload, snapshot, or URL) and even embed videos into your presentation.
  • Easily add (4 different ways), delete, move and modify slides or customize the look with backgrounds, layouts, and themes.
  • Add transitions between slides and animations to individual elements on your slides.
  • You can also embed your entire presentation using HTML code by publishing it to the web.


  • Create forms with 7 types of questions: text, paragraph text, multiple choice, checkboxes, choose from a list, scale, and grid.
  • You cannot limit people to one response per form. However, if you create a form with your school Apps account, you can choose to record the email addresses of people who fill out your form and track responses that way.
  • Forms can be formatted with themes, shared via link, email or embedded with HTML, and responses are collected in a Google spreadsheet.
  • Multiple choice questions offer the option to go to a page based on an answer and using page breaks (ex: If yes, skip to page 4).
  • You can also allow users to edit their response after they have submitted the form.
  • To stop accepting entries to the form, click the Form menu of your spreadsheet and uncheck Accepting responses by clicking on it.
  • Responses to your form are automatically entered into a spreadsheet where you can view, organize, and visualize the data.
  • Choose "publish response summary" in Edit Confirmation to allow responders to view results.
  • Use Flubaroo to create self-grading quizzes!

Let's try it!


  • With Google drawings, you can create and collaborate on flow charts, diagrams, mind maps, graphic organizers and more.
  • You can insert text boxes, shapes, word art and even links.
  • Use the web clipboard to copy the whole drawing, or any selection within the drawing, and paste it into your doc using the web clipboard. Or you can go to Insert > Drawing to create a new drawing in your current doc.

Jessica Johnston

Instructional Technology Specialist

Google Certified Teacher