Tech & Work

Top 5: Tips for getting the most out of Google Docs

Want to work towards becoming a Google docs power user? These tips will help you with file sharing, collaboration, and more.

Remember the time before Google Docs? It was 2004. The Cubs and Red Sox had not yet won the World Series. It was a different time.

But now Google Docs is everywhere. Let's make the most of it, shall we?

Here are five tips for getting the most out of Google Docs:

1. Use the desktop version from a mobile browser for easier file sharing

The mobile app on iOS only allows file sharing to an email address. If you need a link to share, you can request the desktop version of the Google Docs website from a mobile browser. Then you can get a link to share the way you would on your laptop.

Edit: You can now do this by turning on "link sharing." Click share & export and then toggle on link sharing.

2. For a cleaner view, use the review suggested edits option

Sometimes there's so much awesome collaboration you can't see the text anymore. If you want a clean version of the doc you're working on without comments or suggested edits, choose Tools then review suggested edits. You can preview as if you're accepting or rejecting the edits. This menu also has options to accept or reject all changes at once.

SEE: Cost comparison calculator: G Suite vs. Office 365 (Tech Pro Research)

3. Use version history to know where you are in the collaboration process

Collaboration is great, but it's important to know where you are with a document. Is it in outline, draft, or final form? In the Web version of a doc go to File, then version history then choose name current version. Now everybody knows.

4. Use the web as your clipboard

Need to copy a piece of text from one device to another? Go to edit, then web clipboard, then copy selection to web clipboard. You can then use it in other docs, slides or drawings. Unfortunately, this feature doesn't work in Google Sheets.

Edit: This functionality was deprecated in September 2017 but you can now use the Chrome or Firefox browsers for copy paste between Docs, Sheets and Slides.

SEE: Comparison chart: Enterprise collaboration tools (Tech Pro Research)

5. Use Google Docs to edit PDFs and other files

Need to edit PDFs or other files in Google Docs? In the browser, go to settings, and check the box that says "Convert uploaded files to Google Docs editor format." Uploads will take a little longer but they'll all be converted to text with images inserted.

Congratulations. You are now a Google Docs power user. Please claim your prize by passing these tips along to everyone you know and reaping their endless gratitude. Or get yourself a coffee. Whichever seems more appropriate.

Also see:

About Tom Merritt

Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont. He also hosts Daily Tech News Show, coverin...

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