Are you working on different computers but on the same set of documents? Do you need to share things online and are not using a shared file on a server?
Here I will explain how to share docs online using Google Docs (recently renamed Google Drive) so that different people can work on the same document at the same time.
Sharing documents helps collaboration amongst team members and allows people to contribute to the overall project. These are easy to follow instructions that you can use to share documents and work together with your friends, colleagues, students or whomever you wish.
Google drive is great because documents are worked on while online. What happens is your documents are hosted by Google and people can work on them simultaneously. This saves the need to download, edit and then upload docs where you could potentially be erasing versions that have been worked on at the same time by others.
You have options to allow others to edit or not edit documents and you can easily upload and download your work to/from your hard drive. Google docs is extremely receptive to different formats of documents. If you have a smart phone you can download the Google Drive app and access the documents from your phone. Google is constantly looking at different ways of improving this facility.
Google drive is free up to a certain amount of space. I use it frequently and haven’t gone over the free limit.
Here’s how to sign up and start using Google Drive:
1. Go to www.google.com
2. Click on ‘documents’ on the top menu bar. This has recently changed to say ‘drive’ instead of ‘documents.
- Click on the on the ‘sign up’ option (red writing) on the top right hand of the screen.
3. This page asks you for your particulars. These are your name, password, email address, birthday (month, day, year).
The email address you enter will receive notifications on documents. If you don’t want to use a gmail account then after you have written your name click on the blue box that says “I prefer to use my current email address”.
Fill in each box and then complete the security verification at the bottom and click ‘Create My Account’.
You may be asked to let this app access your info, this is mainly for you to easily find email addresses to share your document s with.
4. Verify your email address. Google Docs will have sent an email to the address you specified in the previous form. Go to that email address and open the mail from Google Docs. Click on the link provided.
You will then be taken to the Google Doc home page which looks like this:
Left hand side options
On the left hand side are a list of options, have a play around with these. Anything you open will create a new tab in your web browser, if you need to go back to something have a look at the tabs along the top.
- Click on ‘Create’ to create a document.
- Click on to upload a file.
- Click on ‘Shared with me’ to find documents that others have allowed you to see and use.
How to share a document
To share a document go to the doc that you want to share and on the top left there is a ‘Share’ button. Click this button.
You then get presented with a ‘Sharing Settings’ box with options on who you can share your document with. Enter the persons email address where it says ‘add people’. To the immediate left of where you have entered the email address there is a drop down box of options: ‘can edit’, ‘can comment’, ‘can view’. Highlight whichever option is appropriate and click on the green ‘share & save’ button at the bottom.
The person you have shared with will receive an email notifying them of the share and can sign into Google Docs (follow these instructions) and open the shared document. From here everyone with access can work on the document online. You can even see each other writing in real time!
I suggest playing around with working on a document and uploading and downloading that doc before you work on something you can’t afford to loose.