Years ago Ethan Pope and I wrote a book together called There’s No Place Like Home (Broadman & Holman). Thanks to email, the phone, and a fax machine, we were able to communicate pretty well back them. But not nearly as well as Karen Jordan and I recently did as we worked together on a book proposal. Our collaboration was so much easier because of Google Docs!
What is Google Docs? It’s a free online word processor available to anyone who has a gmail account (which you can get for free). Like most word processing programs, it makes it possible for you to change the appearance of a document: the size of the text, spacing of lines, paragraph styles, headings, etc.
It also allows you to write, edit, and collaborate with others at the same time. And you can upload a Word document and then convert it to a Google document that can be edited by multiple people from different locations.
Levels of Editing Permission
When you want to share your Google Doc, you can grant three different levels of editing permissions:
- Can edit: This is the default for sharing with specific people. It allows them to make changes and share the file with others.
- Can comment: Allows others to view and comment on a file, but they cannot make any changes.
- Can only view: Gives permission for someone to open a file but not to change it or comment.
The sharing settings can be changed anytime.
Other helpful Google Doc features
Another neat feature of Google Docs is that it allows you to see your revision history. If needed, you can restore a document to a previous version. When you are satisfied with your Google Doc, you can download it in another format such as Microsoft Word, pdf, plain text, etc. And, you can even publish it to the web.
If you would like to email your documents to other people, you can do that, too. And if all of this isn’t enough, you can put Google Docs in your Android or iPhone.
I consider myself to be a novice when it comes to Google Docs, but using it was invaluable to Karen and me! Those wanting to try it out could learn much more about it by visiting Google’s “getting started guide” and the Google Docs blog.
Also, you may want to watch this free webinar given to teachers about how to use Google Drive and Google Docs. I watched it and thought it was helpful.
Yes, a lot has changed in the world of technology in the last decade. One wonderful tool for writers who want to work together is Google docs!
If you have been using Google docs, what tips and suggestions do you have for writers who want to collaborate?