Ever wish you could have a space where you can collaborate with others to gather, update and share information without having to keep re-sending updated versions by email or other means? There is, and it’s easier than you think. With Google Shared Documents, you can easily create a document and allow others to view or edit it or alternatively do so with an existing document. In this post, we’ll show you the steps to take to create a shared document from scratch.
How to Create a New Shared Document
On your computer, in a new window, go to docs.google.com/document/.
In the top left, under ‘Start a new document’, click Blank . (See yellow circle below).
This will open up a blank Word document (see below). As with any standard Word doc, you can start by typing or pasting from elsewhere what you’d like.
How to Share Access to your Google Doc
At the top on the far right, you’ll find the “Share” button. Tap this to get a pop up window prompting you to choose with whom to share your document. There are 2 ways to do so. 1) Start to type in their email address in the top (see yellow arrow below left). You’ll be prompted with commonly used email addresses. Or 2) Create (“copy”) a link which you then share with your recipients by email or message (see yellow circle below right).
Now choose the “level” of sharing you’d like for the chosen recipient(s). You’ll see from the image below, you can choose that they simply view it, add comments, which you can then review before choosing to integrate (accept) or reject or they can have full editing privileges. A great feature of Google Shared docs is that you can always find and revert to an earlier version if you find that someone with editing privileges has somehow messed up the document.
You have the option to include a covering message along with the notification that you’ve shared the document XYZ with them. I find this helpful to allow me to explain what I would like the recipient(s) to do with the document and by when.
Click “Done”. The person(s) you’ve shared with will now get an email notifying them. Whenever they open the document, they’ll always see the latest version.
Help! Where’s my Shared Document?
Overall using Google Docs is easy and very intuitive. However one of the aspects I found least intuitive is where to find the document once it was shared! I know I’m not alone in this as I get asked all the time where to find a document I’ve previously shared with someone.
Initially the document will appear as a tab alongside any Internet pages you have open. Once it’s closed, you can easily find it again.
Go to Google Drive. You can find this by tapping the 9 dots (top right of screen) when in any other Google app (gmail, calendar, etc). Look for “Drive” in the drop-down menu. Tap that and your documents kept in Drive should appear, and simply double-click the one you’d like to re-open.
In the next post, we’ll cover how to turn an existing document into a shared Google doc.
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