How does Google Docs work?

What Google Docs is and how it makes Microsoft Office redundant

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Whoever works with the PC has at least heard of Microsoft Office. And perhaps there are some Microsoft Office programs on your PC. For example Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Outlook.
For many computer users, a PC is incomplete if it doesn’t have Word and Excel installed on it. Because writing or calculating something on the PC is not possible without Word or Excel, isn’t it?

What is Google Docs and how does it work?

No, it isn’t. Writing or calculating something on the PC can be done with Google Docs for example. An Office package that you can work with without the program being installed on your PC.

Usually a PC is directly and permanently connected to the internet as soon as it is switched on. That makes it unnecessary that online software such as Google Docs should be installed on your computer before we can work with it.

Because of the permanent internet connection, software can now be worked with anywhere on the internet. And the only thing we need to be able to work with software on the internet is a web browser.
And you may even have been using software on the internet for a very long time, without realizing it. Because online e-mail such as Gmail and Hotmail are well-known examples of online software that is used by many people and that we load in our web browser.

For example in Google Chrome, which is the most used web browser. And Mozilla FireFox of course. But Microsoft Edge is also allowed. The web browser that is available to you by default when you have Windows 10. Using Internet Explorer is not recommended. This web browser is now too old. As a result, software that you want to use online may not work properly, or may not work at all.

Anyone who is used to having software, such as Microsoft Office, on the computer knows that the icon of the relevant software has to be double-clicked to start the program.

Working with a program that is on the internet is slightly different. Because as mentioned, you use a web browser for that. The software you want to use can then be accessed via a specific internet address.
This is how you start Google Docs by typing docs.google.com in the address bar of your web browser.

Log in to Google Docs.

If you have a Google Account and you are already logged in to your Google account, then Google Docs will be displayed directly in your web browser.

If you are not logged in to your Google account, a page with your Google Account (s) will appear in your web browser. Clicking on the Google account that you want to use for working with Google Docs and then entering your password, will then take you to Google Docs.
Once you are logged in to Google Docs with your Google Account, you can start using it immediately.

If you have multiple Google accounts, then it is advisable to always use the same account for Google Docs. You can log on to Google documents with different Google accounts, but documents are linked to the Google account with which they were created. This means that documents created with an account other than the one with which you are logged in, will not be visible. In short, using different Google accounts for working with Google Docs could quickly lead to a badly organized system.

Working with Google Docs.

As soon as you are logged in to Google Docs, an overview will be displayed of available templates that you can use to format your documents. The documents that you have already created will also be shown.

Start a new document.

If you do not necessarily want a certain layout, you can immediately start a new document by clicking on the white rectangle with a blue plus sign.

If you want to permanently format your new document, you can go through the template gallery and click on the template or layout you want, for example the Letter template. A new document will then also be started. Only the new document is then immediately provided with the layout that Google Docs engineers have designed for a letter.

Name and save a document.

Every document that you create in Google Docs starts as an untitled document. Of course it is recommended to provide a document that you create, with a name. This will help you to find the contents of the document even after a long time. You do not need to save documents, because that is already done automatically for you as you type. So, you should give your document a name first. You can do this (at any time) by clicking on Untitled Document at the top of the window. A name for the document will then be suggested by the program. You can accept the suggested name for the document by pressing the Enter key. However, if you want to give a name to the document yourself, you can do this by typing in the name and confirming it by pressing the Enter key.

Every document that you create is saved on your Google Drive by default. Google Drive is your free piece of online disk space that you get with your Google Account. By storing documents on Google Drive, they will be always available on every computer with connected to the internet. That means that you can continue to work on any document that you create on one PC, on other computers with an internet connection, worldwide.

Edit a document.

If you are working in a document, you can return to the Google Docs homepage at any time, or the page where you start a new document where you get an overview of the documents that you have already made. You return to Document Homepage by clicking the icon that appears to the left of your document’s name. Among other things, you will see that in the overview of your documents, the document that you created last, or edited last, is displayed first. You open an existing document from the overview by simply clicking on it.

Download documents.

As mentioned, you don’t have to remember to save the documents you create in Google Docs. Because this happens automatically. As well as saving your documents on Google Drive. Like many Windows software, Google Docs has a menu bar. The menu bar is displayed under the name that you have given your document. If you now open the File menu in the menu bar, you may notice that the Save file option is missing, as well as the Save file as option. This is surprising because you will find these menu options in just about every program in which you can create something. In these programs the Save file as menu option is used in particular to save an existing file under a different name or location. However, in Google Docs you have the option Download file as for saving a document in another location. With this option you can download documents that you have created to your PC and save them as a Word document.

This makes it possible to view documents you have created in Google documents and to edit them in Word. Because that is often what stops people from using a program other than Word for editing text documents. Because Word is most often used for creating, editing and viewing text documents. And when you provide a text document that was created in a program other than Word, that might cause problems if someone else wants to read or edit your text document. But by downloading a text document that you create in Google Docs as a Word document to your PC, you eliminate this problem. Every document that you download is by default placed in the Downloads folder on your PC unless you changed the folder. From the Downloads folder on your PC, you can then place the document in any folder that you want.

Create something else than a text document.

Creating text documents is perhaps what we do most often when we work on the computer. But making a calculation on the PC is convenient too. If we have a spreadsheet program such as Excel.
Google Docs also meets that need and makes Spreadsheets available to you in addition to Docs. By the way, Presentations is also part of Google Docs, so that you can also make a presentation if you wish.
You can find the Spreadsheets and Presentations sections on Documents Homepage. On Documents Homepage you will find a menu bar above the template gallery and the overview of your documents. At the far left of the menu bar is a button, the main menu, which displays 3 horizontal lines. It’s called a hamburger menu. As soon as you click on it the main menu appears. In this menu you will find the menu options Documents, Spreadsheets and Presentations . By clicking on it you start one of the components and you can work in it.

Print documents.

You can of course also print every document that you create in Google Docs. The print is done in a similar way as you are used to in any other program. Below the menu bar there is a toolbar that contains frequently used operations, including printing a document.
You can start the print operation by clicking the icon on the left side of the toolbar. As mentioned, Google Docs is online software that runs in your web browser. If you click on print you will also see the print window from your web browser. Through this window you can indicate, among others, what you want to print and whether you want to print in color or black and white before you click the print button. In short, the print menu of your web browser hardly differs from the standard print menu in Windows. If there are differences, they will usually relate to how the different print options are displayed.

So with Google Docs you can create text documents in a way that you are used to in Microsoft Word for example. The biggest difference will be that the program is not on your PC, but on the internet. You therefore need a web browser and a connection to the internet to be able to work with Google Docs. I hope this post answers your question “ What is Google Docs? ” and also how Google Docs works. Did it?

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