Google Docs Tutorial

What are is Google Docs?

Google Docs lets you create and share online documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. It’s free. You can:

  • Access your documents online from any computer (and smartphone) with an internet connection.
  • Add collaborators to your document and Docs will send them a link to access the doc online (no need to send email attachments back and forth)
  • Decide who can view and edit each document (only you, some people, or everyone)
  • Upload and edit existing documents (e.g., Word, PowerPoint, Excel, PDF).

Google Docs @ ODU

ODU uses Google Apps to provide students with email, document creation, and many other features. To learn more, check out ODU’s Google Apps page.

What to do with Google Docs

You can do a lot of things with Google Docs, like…

Collaborate on class note taking (hint, hint)

Or even write a love letter.

In this class, I’ll use Google Docs for sharing course materials (e.g., the Syllabus and the Schedule), as well as lecture materials and assignment / activity guidelines. You’ll use Google Docs to write your Assignment 1: Career Application Essay and for collaborating in your groups. You can create and share your group presentations using the presentation feature Google Docs, and take and share notes during class. You’ll also use Google Docs to do other assignments. I’ll let you know as we go along. Of course, feel free to use Google Docs in your other classes as well!

How do you get started?

Getting started with Google Docs is very easy, since it’s already part of your ODU Gmail account.  Learn more about each of the features.

Just sign-in to your ODU Gmail account or bookmark the link below to go straight to Google Docs @ ODU. Use your email address and pasword to sign-in.

Important: If you have a personal Google Docs account, make sure you log out of that BEFORE accessing or creating a new document. Or, enable account switching between your personal account and your ODU Google Apps account.

If you get the following permission prompt, you’re still logged into your personal Gmail account. Sign-out or switch, then try again.

How to create and share your first Google Doc

Once you’re in Google Docs, you’ll create new documents from the Create button and share them with me and others via the Share button.

In the share window, simply type in the email address of the person with whom you want to share the document. You can then allow them to view only, comment, or edit (make sure you let me comment or edit!).

Please share your documents and presentations with me as soon as you create them so that I know you’ve started.

How to share a document with a specific person in Google Docs

You can of course continue revising on up until the deadline. The sooner you begin, the quicker we can troubleshoot problems. I can also provide comments as well directly in your document (just let me know that you want me to).

How to name / rename Google Docs

Here is how to change the name of a Google Doc from the default “Untitled” name.

Saving Google Docs

Google Docs autosaves continuously. There is no manual save option. However, if you do choose to do download and/or print your document:

How to download a Google Doc document to your computer
How to print a Google Doc document

More quick tips

How to embed media in Google Docs

How to spellcheck in Google Docs

How to create a header in Google Docs

How to create section headings in Google Docs

How to adjust font and line spacing in Google Docs


When you need help, you can always click the Help menu in Google Docs for specific information, or simply visit the Google Docs Support Center.

Post any questions you have below

One Response to Google Docs Tutorial

  1. Pingback: Assignment 1: Career Essay Guidelines and Examples « Technology and Your World

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