With Google Docs you can work on documents online and share them in different ways with other people. Those people do not always need a Google account. It is also a myth that you should have a Gmail address to use Google Docs. You can use your own email address for a Google account.
For several Google products and services you need a Google account. But many people don’t want a Gmail account, and it’s not necessary, you can create a Google account with your own email address. Google will not send you spam or advertising, they earn money by placing ads on web pages.
Create Google account
When you create a Google account it includes Gmail and Google Plus account automatically. The following procedure can be slightly different.
Go to google.com/accounts, click on the red Sign Up button on the right top and create a Google account with your own email address. You will receive an email with a link to verify your registration. If the authentication is successful, the Google Account page lists all Google products which you are registered, after the first time there is probably nothing. On the Google Account page you can customize your profile information and change the password. In the Products tab you can choose and register one of the Google products. Registering goes usually directly, sometimes you have to enter your information again.
How Google Docs works
Google Docs has the possibility to store and edit files in the Cloud. It is a kind of Office application in the Cloud. Cloud means that everything will be done online and you don’t need any software on your computer. The files you store will be spread over the Google server network, and they will assure you that the files are always available, and if a server in the network fails or becomes overloaded, other servers will take it over.
After you activate Google Docs you can see how much space you used. Only saved files (. PDF,. DOC,. JPG, etc.) count in reaching the storage limit. A Google Document is using no storage space. This is very nice, because you can create so many Google Docs files as you want. Only files which you want to keep in Google Docs cloud count towards the limit of 1024 MB (1GB). If you need more space in the future you can purchase additional for an attractive price. This space is distributed across several Google products like Gmail, Google Picasa Web Album and Google Docs.
In Docs you can create five types of documents: text documents, spreadsheets, presentations (slide shows), forms and drawings. These online documents are stored in your Google Docs account. You can download the documents by converting them to a certain file, and share them with other people on different levels. It is possible to show the documents to others, or give them permission to edit. This last option makes it possible to work together on a document, only they need to have a Google account.
To create a new document, select the red Create button on the left and choose the desired type of document. Enter directly a name to the new document and they are automatically saved, but before you close the window it is better to click Save again. Creating or editing a document goes the same way as Word / Excel or another program. Through File –> Download you can download the file in different formats to your computer, and if you want to print the file, the document will convert first to pdf format. To exit the document you just close the tab window of the browser. The document is now stored in the list of documents, possibly you have to refresh the page with F5).
Click on More or right-mouse click on the document name and a menu will show up with different options. Click on Share to indicate with whom you want to share the file.
A new file is set as default to Private, this mean that only you can see it.
Click on Change to adjust the visibility options:
- Do you want to share the document to several people, whether they use a Google account, then select: Public on the web, now everybody on the internet can find and access the file. Registration is not required. The link you can send by email to everyone you want to show the document. The link will also be available on the Internet and can be found by other web surfers. It is indexed by the Google and other search engines.
- Anyone with the link – accessible to anyone with the link. Registration is not required. The link you can send, but will not be found on the Internet.
Optionally: let people edit the file.
Documents created with Google Docs you can embed on a webpage or blog, but you have set the visibility options to Public on the web. Select Automatically Republish when the file changes and you want to published immediately after editing. Click on Start Publishing, and you will see a link that you can use to share the document with other people online and an embed code to show the document on your website or blog.
If you want to share the document only with people who also have a Google account, then set it on Private. Type in the box Add People the email addresses of people you want to share the file, but these people need a Google account. You can specify the permission whether the file can be edit or only allowed to read by someone. Finally, click the Share button.
You will see a list of the people sharing the Google document and what rights they have. Open the document to change the rights, someone else can be the head administrator of the document. Optionally you can specify if the users have rights to share the file with others or only yourself.
Work together on a document
If you shared the document with someone, he will see the file in his Google Docs list, and it’s possible to work simultaneously on a document. You will see the text appear that the other is adding. Through File –> Revision history you’re able to see the changes in the document and also the name of the editor. This is only possible with documents made by Google Docs.
Upload documents to Google Docs
All documents in Google Docs you can share with other people, whether they have a Google account or not. In the Google Docs overview is the red Upload button beside the Create button which makes it possible to upload files to your Google Docs account.
Before uploading choose the Google Docs format for converting your documents, presentations, spreadsheets and drawings. This has the advantage that you can edit and share it in Google Docs. For example, you save a Word document but not converting to a Google Docs document, you can share it but not editing. Converted documents has still advanced features, but not all the things which you can do in Excel or Word.
Google can also convert PDF documents to text format, but this is only possible if the PDF contains text and not text-in-picture. While uploading you can directly specify the file in any folder, and if you want to share it or not.
Even documents that are not Google documents can be shared with other people, but you can’t embed them in a blog or webpage.