How To Use Google Docs

What program do you use to write a blog post? Do you use the WordPress platform or your own word processor? How about Google Docs? Google Docs is a free online word processor that allows you to create and format documents that you can work on with other people at the same time.

In this lesson we’ll show you the benefits of using Google Docs and offer you a step-by-step guide on how to use this program.

Benefits of Google Docs

The benefits of using Google Docs are plentiful:

  • Easy: Google Docs is intuitive, efficient and very easy to use.
  • Teamwork: You can work with other people in the same document, at the same time. This makes it a great way to e.g. ask for feedback on your blog posts. Google Docs allows more than one user to edit a document at the same time. You don’t need to email back and forth anymore.
  • Online: Google Docs (as all other Google programs) is cloud-based, which means you can access your documents anywhere at anytime at any device.
  • Save: Your documents are perpetually backed up and automatically saved, so you don’t need to worry about forgetting to save your work and losing data due to computer crashes or other disasters.
  • Revision history: Google Docs provide a revision history so you can always go back to an older version of your document.
  • Spell-check: Google Docs automatically shows you any misspellings as you type.

Ready to get started? Follow our step-by-step guide and you’ll see how easy it is to work with Google Docs!

Step #1: Create a new document

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Go to your Google Drive and open a new document by clicking on “New” > Google Docs.  If you haven’t got a Google account yet to access your Google Drive, create one at first.

You can also go directly to Google Docs via and then click on the red circle + to create a new document.

Make a file from a template

  1. Click on “New” to create a new document.
  2. Hover your cursor over the arrow from Google Docs and choose “From a template” instead of “Blank document”.
  3. This will show you the Template gallery.
  4. Choose a template to your liking.

You can also use templates when you’re in a file. Click on the tab “File” > New > From template.

Step #2: Edit and format your document

Just like in Microsoft Word you can copy, paste, edit text, paragraphs, spacing, make text bold, italic, underline it, use different colors etc. Although Google Docs doesn’t have the advanced features, it does have all the basic features that you need.

To edit a word, double-click on a word or use your cursor to select the text you want to change. Choose an option from the top menu.

→ Google Docs saves every step automatically. If you need to undo or redo an action, click on “Edit” in the top menu > Undo or Redo.

Add a title for your document in the top left corner of your screen where it says “Untitled document”.

Use different heading tags

A heading tag helps Google and your visitor to grasp the main topics of your post, and gives structure to your text. You use it to divide your content into scannable sections.

→ Copy-pasting your text from Google Docs into your WordPress platform (the visual section of the new blog post, not the text/html section) doesn’t change anything to the structure and headings of your text created in Google Docs.

When you open a (new) document and click on “Normal text” from the options under the top menu, you see 6 different options.

  1. Normal text: use this formatting for the body of the text.
  2. Title: use this for the headline of your document.
  3. Subtitle: if you have a second headline, use the subtitle formatting.
  4. Heading 1: this is for every new paragraph or block of paragraphs in which you discuss a new topic.
  5. Heading 2: this is for subheadings of heading 1 sections (still discussing the same topic, but making it easier to grasp for your reader).
  6. Heading 3: is for subheadings of heading 2 sections.

Step #3: Share your work with other people

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By default your documents are private, so they are only visible to you. By sharing a file, other people like your colleagues or clients can view, edit or comment on your work.

Sharing by invites

Go to your file, and click on the blue “Share” button in the top right corner of your screen. This makes a window pop up where you can fill in the email addresses of the people you want to share your work with.

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Sharing by sending people a link

You can also click on “Get shareable link”, which copies an URL to your clipboard (or just copy it yourself). You can share this link with people anywhere (e.g. via email, Facebook or other channels), which gives them access to that specific document.

You can specify who can see the file as well as who can edit it. Or change people’s access by clicking on the link next to their names.

Accessing files that other people shared with you

If you want to see a file that other people have shared with you, go to your Google Drive Dashboard and click on “Shared with me” on the far left under “My Drive”. You’ll see all the files that other people have shared with you.

Sharing your file with the world

If you want to publish your file online, go to your file that you want to share, click on the “File” tab on the top of your screen and click on “Publish to the web…”. This creates a copy of your file that anyone can see. It becomes a separate webpage that is not linked to your original file. This allows you to share your work with anyone you want without changing your sharing settings.

→ A published document can’t be edited, but you can always edit the original file that you have in your Google Drive.

Choose what people can do with your document

When you share your work with other people, you can choose what they can do with it.

  • View: People can see, but can’t change or share the file with others.
  • Comment: People can make comments and suggestions, but can’t change or share the file with others.
  • Edit: People can make changes, accept or reject suggestions, and share the file with others.

Stop sharing a file

  1. Open Google Drive or Google Docs.
  2. Select the document you want to stop sharing with someone else, and open it.
  3. Click on the blue “Share” button in the right top corner of your screen.
  4. At the bottom right of the “Share with others” window, click “Advanced”.
  5. Next to the person you want to stop sharing with, click “Remove”.
  6. Click on “Save changes”.

Step #4: Make suggestions to other people’s work, or have other people make suggestions to your work

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When you’ve shared your work, or other people share their work with you, you can make suggestions to their work or have other people make suggestions to your work.

Suggest changes to a file

  1. Open a document in Google Drive or Google Docs. In the top right corner you see “Editing” under “Comments”. Click on it, which shows you a drop-down menu. Choose “Suggesting”.
  2. Make any change in the document. The changes you make are shown in a new color.
  3. Anything you delete, will be crossed out.
  4. You can add a comment by clicking on your suggestion and clicking on “reply”.
  5. The owner of the document gets an email about your suggestions and can decide if they want to keep it or not.

Accept or reject suggestions from other people

When you have other people commenting on your work, you can either reject or keep their suggestions.

  1. Open your document in Google Drive or Google Docs.
  2. Click on the comment that you want to accept or reject.
  3. In the top right corner of the comment, click on “Accept” or “Reject”.
  4. To see all accepted and rejected suggestions, go to the top right corner of your screen and click on “Comments”.

Step #5: Change ownership

You can change the owner settings of your document if you want to deliver a document to e.g. a client.

  1. Open your document in Google Drive or Google Docs.
  2. Click on “Share” > Advanced.
  3. Click on the down arrow next to the person’s name you already share your document with.
  4. Click on “Is owner”.
  5. Click on “Save changes”.

You can still edit the file after you’ve made someone else the owner, unless they decide to change your access.

Step #6: Edit and use a document outline

If you need to structure your document quick and easy, use the document outline in Google Docs. The outline shows you the titles and headings of your document.

Open a document outline

  1. Open a document in Google Docs or Google Drive.
  2. To open the outline, click “Tools” in the top menu of your screen. The outline will open on the left.

Close a document outline

  1. Open a document in Google Docs or Google Drive.
  2. On the left side of the document next to “Outline,” click “Close”. The outline will stay closed until you open it again.

Add headings to an outline

Google Docs will automatically add headings to the outline, but you can also add them manually.

  1. Open a document in Google Docs or Google Drive.
  2. Select the text you want to make a heading.
  3. On the toolbar styles menu, click Normal text.
  4. Click a heading style. The heading will be added to the outline.

→ Subtitles will not appear in the outline.

Step #7: Upload Microsoft Word documents to Google Docs

If you’ve started your blog post in Microsoft Word, or you have some older texts that you want to transfer to Google Docs so you can share them with other people, you can easily create a new Google Doc by uploading your Word file.

  1. Go to Google Docs or Google Drive and select “New” > File upload.
  2. Choose your Word document.
  3. Open it in Google Drive or Docs and edit to your liking or share with others.