Google Drive not only acts as a place for all kinds of data that you can upload and access from anywhere, but also offers a range of services that make it quick and easy to create common documents, spreadsheets or presentations, share them with other people, and keep them up-to-date with the ability to edit them all the time.
We’ll take a look at how to create Docs, Sheets or Slides in Google Drive (i.e. alternatives to Microsoft Office applications – Word, Excel and PowerPoint, but completely free), and how to share them and set permissions.
Table of Contents
Create a Google account
Go to Google Drive
You can go to Google Drive by clicking on this link, or go to Google.com (or basically any other site with a service from Google), click on the 9 dots symbol in the top right hand side of the screen. When you click on it, you’ll see the available apps, so select the Drive app
Create a document, spreadsheet or presentation
On the left side we see the Menu. The most important items are My Drive, which are your uploaded or created files, and Shared with Me, which are files that someone has shared with you from their Google Drive. Above this menu, we see the Add icon. Here we can create folders, but mainly new files like Documents, Sheets or Slides. For the purposes of the tutorial, we’ll select Document, but in principle it doesn’t matter what type we create.
Creating and editing a Document works very similarly to the Microsoft Office applications already mentioned. We can leave the resulting document on Google Drive, but if necessary, we can also download it in various formats that are compatible with Word / Excel / PowerPoint, but also in .pdf format and many others, for example. Just select File > Download and then select the format.
Share the file with other people
Some files you may only want to keep private, others you may want to share with someone. To share, select the Share button in the top right corner of the screen. If you want to share an entire folder with all of its contents, or any other file, you can also right-click on the file directly in the file list and select Share.
This will open a window with sharing options. Enter the email addresses of users with Google accounts (these can also be linked secondary addresses), or entire groups if you have them created on Google. You will then see the permissions of the users you are sharing files with:
- Editor: can edit the file, change permissions, but also share the file further
- Commenter: Can add comments to the file
- Reader: Can only read the file without editing it
It should be noted that both the Commenter and the Reader can download and edit the file on their own. They just cannot edit the shared version
Then set the file to share and you can also add a message or email notification.
Share the file via a link
In the window after clicking the Share button, you will also find the option to share via link. You can copy the link, but it will only work for users who have already been set up to share the file. You can change this option and set it to make the file accessible to everyone who has the link. You can also edit the permissions to the file during this setup. The share via link option comes in handy the moment you share a file with someone who doesn’t have a Google account.
You can edit files together in real time
If you share a Document, Slideshow, or Spreadsheet with someone and grant editing permissions, you can all easily make edits in real time. If someone adds something to the document, everyone will see the change immediately.