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How To Share and Collaborate With Google Docs

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You've uploaded or created a word processing file or a spreadsheet with Google Docs. Now what? Here's how you can share that document with others and get started collaborating.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. Go to Google Docs at docs.google.com and log in using your Google ID.
  2. Find your document in your list. By default, Google only lists the "active" documents, meaning that there have been recent changes. If you don't see your document in the list, click on the green Browse Docs & Spreadsheets tab on the upper right hand corner of the window, and then select all from the drop-down list. This will list all the files.
  3. Click on the file name on the list to open the file.
  4. Click on the Collaborate tab on the upper right hand corner of the window.
  5. You have two choices on how you can share this file. You can invite them as collaborators by entering their email address in the upper text box. Collaborators have access to view and change items on the document or spreadsheet. They can also invite others to view or collaborate.

    You can also invite viewers by entering their email address in the lower text box. Viewers have access to view a file, but they cannot make any changes.

  6. Enter as many email addresses as you wish. Separate each address with a comma. Unless you have reasons to do otherwise, set the "Invitations may be used by anyone" option. This will allow people to change their email address to match that of any existing Google account they may already have.
  7. Click the Invite these people button. Google will confirm that you want to email the invitation. Press the OK button.
  8. Google will open up a dialog box. Type in a custom email message if you wish. By default, Google will send a copy of the message to your email address. You can turn this option off by clicking on the check box next to CC me.
  9. Once the person you've invited receives their email invitation and clicks on the link, they'll have access to your file. If they don't have a Google account, they'll be prompted to create one.

Tips:

  1. You may want to use a Gmail address when possible, because some spam filters may block the invitation message.
  2. Always save a copy of your document to your hard drive before sharing, just in case someone makes changes that you need to reverse.
  3. Remember that collaborators have the power to invite others to view or edit the document, too.

What You Need

  • A Google account
  • A document or spreadsheet in Google Docs
  • The email address of anyone you wish to invite

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