Google docs is by far one of the easiest and most full featured collaboration tools available online. To get the most out of your collaboration, you need to make your documents do more for you, and go beyond just sharing them. Here are the 6 features that help you collaborate better, and more effectively using Google Docs:
Of course, we cannot leave out the sharing option. Although most Google Docs users are aware of it, a newbie might not be and it is the beginning of your entire collaboration, so we can’t skip this step.
There are several ways to share:
- In your open document, click the share button in the top right corner of the screen. You can choose to share access to your document, or to email it as an attachment to someone. If you share access, you can choose whether to give editing or just viewing privileges.
- In your main documents ‘home page’, you can select several documents, and share them:
2. Group your contacts
Now you no longer need to invite each collaborator individually anymore if you often share documents with the same group of people. You can create contact groups, and when you hit the share button you can select and entire group at once, instead of individual collaborators.
3. Work together in real-time
If you are logged into Google Docs and editing a document together at the same time, you can open a chat window and toss comments back and forth while the document is open. I couldn’t get this feature to work in regular documents, but it does work for spreadsheets and presentations. The chat window can be pulled down from the top right-hand corner as well, as you can see in the picture below.
After clicking on the blue bar shown above, you will see a fully functional chat window:
4. Color code your spreadsheets
It is very important to stay organized when making changes or adding comments to a spreadsheet. If several people are contributing, it is easier to see at a glance who is leaving what kind of comments making changes to your spreadsheets by color coding the text in the cells. You can do this by setting up rules (such as turning the text of every cell with your name in it blue). You can also insert comments by right clicking on any cell to get your message across without taking up space.
To do this, right click and select “change colors with rules”. Now you will get a screen where you can set your ‘rules’ and decide what type of text will show up in a different color:
Now, this is what will happen to your spreadsheet if you would have used the same parameters I set above:
Note how I also added a comment. Comments can be added without taking up spreadsheet space (they pop up when you move your mouse over the comment), by right-clicking and selecting “add comment”.
5. Go back in time with revision history
If your collaborator was a little too overbearing and changed too many things for your liking, then you can go back to a previous version with revision history:
You will see a list of the latest changes made to the document, and you can easily review those previous versions and you can choose to reinstate the older version you like best.
6. Sheet protection
You now have even finer control over who can edit which sheet in your shared spreadsheet. Recently, Google introduced sheet protection. This is an additional layer of control giving you the option to determine which one of the collaborators can edit which individual sheet. To do this, just go to the sheet you are sharing, bring up the menu, and select ‘Protect sheet’.