You have many tools for creating and sharing documents. Report builders, document editors, and email applications all play a part in your daily duties.
But have you ever considered Google Docs in earnest?
Google’s own office productivity suite has features that can help you create, edit, and share your documents quickly and easily. Wherever you are and whatever your work, Google Docs can save you time — and you don’t have to spend a dime.
Let’s see the helpful Google Docs features that can work for you and your team.
Use Google Docs for Business Collaboration
When you work in a team environment, collaboration is key. Google Docs has the tools built right in that make collaborating on any document a breeze.
Basic Document Sharing
If you would like to share a document with your coworker or team, Google Docs makes it simple with two different methods.
Share from Google Drive. Just click the Share button in the top-right corner to start. If you did not name your document, you will see a prompt to do so before sharing it.
Then, you can enter names from your Google Contacts or their email addresses to send them the document directly. But, before you send it, should select the privileges by clicking the Edit files button. The sharing choices will allow others to edit, comment on, or view your document. When you finish, click Done.
Share with a link. If you would rather share a link to your document, click Get shareable link in the pop-up window instead of entering your contacts. You will then see similar options for allowing others to edit, comment on, or view the document. Then just copy the link and pop it into a message or chat window where you want to share it.
Advanced Sharing Settings
You have more options when you have a document with sensitive information or one that you want to really limit the access to.
In the sharing popup window, click Advanced in the bottom right corner.
You can then restrict editors of the document from changing access or inviting others. You can also prevent commenters and viewers from printing, copying, or download your document. Plus, you can change the access you set originally.
If you decide to share your document via email, you can do so from this window, click Learn More if you have questions, or just hit Done when you finish.
Comments are the true fuel for collaboration. You can use comments to add notes to specific parts, images, or words in the document. This is beneficial for better edits because you can have an actual discussion on the content before making any changes.
To add a comment, select the part, image, or word that the comment refers to. Then, either click the plus button that appears on the side of the document or the Comments button at the top. Type your note and hit the Comment button.
Once you add a comment, it remains on the side of the document as unresolved. This is handy because when a decision is made on the item, you can click the Resolve button and the comment will disappear from the screen.
If you would like to view resolved comments or reopen them, just click the Comments button at the top. Any comments that you reopen will display these actions on both the document screen and Comments section.
Additional comment actions allow you to edit, delete, or obtain a direct link to the note. And, when you click the Comments button from the top, you have the option to receive email notifications. You can get a notification for every comment or only those that involve you. The alerts are a big timesaver because you don’t have to worry about missing out.
Document versioning is a required feature for sharing and collaborating on a document in real time. This is especially important when the team has the ability to edit the document.
Click File > Version History from the menu. You can then name the current version separately from the main document name or simply view the version history.
If you select See version history, a sidebar will open and display the document’s history. You can click the button to show only named versions or view them all. For an unnamed version, you can click the more (three-dot) icon to add one if you like.
For each version in the list, you will see the date and time it was edited. You can click on one to view that version which offers you an option to restore it at the top. Named versions are very helpful for lengthy documents or those with many collaborators.
Use Helpful Google Docs Templates
One of the best ways to get a head start on creating a business document is to use a template. Luckily, Google Docs has many built-in templates that you can use. Plus, you can find many more Google Doc templates from outside sources. Here are several that can help you create well-formatted and professional business documents.
To view all of the Google Docs built-in templates, just click the arrows at the top next to Template Gallery after you sign in. You can then see those for work like proposals and meeting notes, those specific to your industry such as sales or human resources, and those for business letters and resumes.
Select any one of the templates and it will open in the editor window. Then just replace the template text with your own and you are set.
If you do not see a template built into Google Docs that fits what you need, you can check out outside options. Here are just a few to get you started.
Complete with a table of contents for what you should include, this business plan template is neat and clean. And, if you need additional help follow these steps to create your own business plan.
When a formal letter of termination is what you need, this template is helpful. It includes a spot for your company logo at the top and useful prompts for the details you should include.
If you are looking for a simple meeting agenda with table formatting, this one is perfect. It also includes spots for items your participants should read or bring, which is handy.
Add Google Docs Business Add-Ons
If you are unfamiliar with Google Docs Add-Ons, these are tools similar to browser extensions that you can add to the application. They range from business to productivity to utilities. To access the Add-Ons store, open a Google Docs document, click Add-Ons from the top menu, and then Get add-ons.
Here are several add-ons that might be ideal for your business tasks:
For flowcharts, process diagrams, and similar visuals, Lucidchart Diagrams is a great tool. And, if you already use the online application, just sign in and access your diagrams right from within Google Docs. Or create a free account to try it out.
If you work with contracts, agreements, and other documents requiring a signature, take a look at HelloSign. Sign up for a free account to give it a try with three documents per month and then check out the paid version for unlimited signatures.
When you create documents that contain inconsistencies, it can be bad for business. Consistency Checker is an add-on that will scan your document and check for items like hyphenation, abbreviations, and spelling variations.
Are you a mind mapper? If so, then MindMeister is the tool for you. While you can certainly use an add-on like Lucidchart Diagrams for your mind maps, MindMeister makes it easy. Just select the text in your document, open the add-on, and a mind map will be created for you and inserted into your document automatically.
To create and update financial data from your books, Bkper is a cool tool. You easily add a new book on the Bkper website like a general ledger, record book, or expense report. Then with the add-on, pop the details into your Google Docs document.
Other Helpful Add-Ons
- Mail Merge: Merge documents into emails and letters
- Supermetrics: Insert your business metrics into a document
- Essential Legal Dictionary: Get definitions of legal terms
- LanguageTool: Access proofreading in over 20 languages
- Ultradox Email Designer: Create professional messages in Google Docs and track them in Google Sheets
Do You Use Google Docs for Business?
As you can see, Google Docs has features built right in along with tools you can obtain to make it useful for business documents. You can create, edit, share, and collaborate on your next business document with ease.
Do you already use Google Docs for business? If so, do you have tools, tips, or tricks that make it even more beneficial in the business world? Share your thoughts below!