By Howard Miles, IT Manager
Do you ever find yourself needing to create a new document, spreadsheet, or slideshow, but you don’t have access to a personal computer with Microsoft Office installed? Do you ever need to write a quick document or create a small spreadsheet and don’t want to wait for the software to load? Do you need to be able to work on a document or spreadsheet with someone else, both of you making changes at the same time? If so, Google has a free solution for you.
Google Docs, Sheets and Slides are free Internet-based applications from Google that are compatible with, and designed to compete against, Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Some users have complained that the applications do not have all of the full functionality of the Microsoft products, but most users have found that the functions they need are present. The interface is a little different from the Microsoft products, but it is similar enough that you should be able to use the Google products without much difficulty.
You don’t need to load anything on your PC to start using Docs, Sheets or Slides. While logged in to your email account, simply click on the square of nine dots in the top right and select the application that you want to use. A new browser tab will open and you can start working. To name the document, just click where it says “Untitled” and type in a new name for the document.
A few things you should remember when using Google Docs, Sheets or Slides:
- Your documents are saved to your Google Drive. This means that they will be available to you anywhere you can access the Internet. It also means that you can share them with other people.
- There is no File/Save command. All changes are saved as you work. This is good because you don’t have to remember to save the file, but bad if you ever want to revert back to a previous version. If you need to make revisions and still keep the original, make a copy with a different name BEFORE you start editing.
- You can download a copy of your document to your PC as an Office formatted document. This article was prepared in Google Docs, then downloaded as a Word document before being submitted.
- If you want to work on documents on your phone, there are apps that can be downloaded for that purpose, both for Android phones and for iPhones.
For more information please refer to one of the following websites: