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9:01am: Helping with your daughter’s homework (from the office)
The moment you step in the office, your daughter IMs you to say she needs you to proofread her homework before she hands it in. You’re on your work computer, and her homework is on hers, but it’s not a problem – she’s using Google Docs, which you can get to from any computer with a web connection. Task: Check your email for the invitation we sent you to view the ‘Homework’ document, and open that link. If the page that comes up has a yellow bar on the top that says ‘To start editing, sign in,’ see below for help signing in.
Help signing in to Google Docs: • If you already have a Google account (e.g., for Gmail, iGoogle, or Google Docs), click ‘Sign in’ and enter your Google account username and password. • If you don’t have a Google account yet, click ‘Create an account’ and follow the instructions. You can use any email address, but this demo will be easiest if you use the email address we sent your Google Docs invites to. • If you would prefer we send these document invites to a different email address of yours, or if you have any trouble with your account, please email us right away and we’ll help out.
Now that you’re signed in, you can edit your daughter’s homework as she heads off to school – Google Docs lets you work on a shared document together or asynchronously. Task: Make some changes to the homework paper. Okay, you’re pretty sure you’re set. In the upper right corner, click on ‘Save & Close.’ (Don’t close the browser window yet.) You’ll be taken to the Google Docs document list. Uh oh...after calling your daughter to let her know what edits you made, you realize you shouldn’t have made some of those changes. How do you get back to a previous version? First, you need to find the document again. Take a look at the document list – it’s the central place for all your online documents. The folders and filters on the left keep your documents organized and easy to navigate, and you can use the search bar at the top to do a quick search of the full text of all your documents. Task: In your document list, go to the search bar at the top and type “Homework.” Click on the ‘Homework’ document to open it up again.
Bonus Tip: As you type, Google Docs automatically suggests possible documents – useful if you have a lot of docs. You can click on the document name to open the document directly. Bonus Tip: This is high-powered Google search in Google Docs. You can pull up documents by searching for words you know are in the title or in the docs themselves, or search on the name of someone you’ve shared a document with. Bonus Tip: You can drag and drop individual documents to folders to stay neat and organized.
Now that you’re back in the document, you can roll back those changes you made – Google Docs keeps a record and lets you revert to previous versions. Task: Click on the ‘Revisions’ tab. Choose an older version and click to open it up. Task: Revert to this older version by clicking ‘Revert to this one’ at the top of the list. Whew, back to the better version! Hit ‘Close document,’ and close out of the browser window.
11:14am: Editing the company newsletter
The company newsletter is due in less than two hours, and you still need edits from a few colleagues. Emailing everyone with attachments and collecting and comparing all the revisions would take hours...so instead, invite them all to put their edits and comments in the same Google document: Back in your email, find the invite we sent you to ‘Newsletter.’ Click the link to open it in Google Docs. Task: Share the document with your partner: • Click on the ‘Share’ tab. • Enter your partner’s email address. • Click ‘Invite collaborators,’ and click ‘Send.’
Bonus Tip: Before you send the invite, you can add a personal note. Bonus Tip: You can also check the box that says ‘Paste the document itself into the email message’ so your recipient can see the entire document right in their inbox. It’s useful for those people who are checking their email from a mobile device and just want to review the document quickly. Bonus Tip: Google Docs will draw from your Gmail contact list to suggest the email addresses of collaborators.
Partner: Check your email – you should see a note inviting you to open ‘Newsletter.’ Follow the link to open the document. If you need help, see ‘Help signing in to Google Docs’ above. You decide that the most efficient way to get the newsletter done is to divvy up the work: you’re in charge of editing the headline, and your coworker is in charge of editing the first paragraph. Google Docs lets you edit the document simultaneously and watch each other’s progress. Task: Click on the ‘Edit’ tab to return to edit mode. Task: Make changes to the top headline, and ask your partner to edit the first paragraph at the same time. Partner: Make changes to the first paragraph, such as adding text, highlighting sections, and making something bold, so that your partner can see your changes appear in real-time. You’ll see each other’s edits show up every couple of minutes as they’re saved – or just click ‘Refresh’ in the orange bar at the bottom where you can see who else is editing. As people come and go from the document, you’ll see them appear and disappear from that bar. Before you close out, you want to leave a few comments that your boss can look over later.
Task: Add a comment: Find a spot you want to make a comment appear. Click on the ‘Insert’ tab up top, and click ‘Comment.’ Alright!! You’ve gotten everyone’s edits in less time than it usually takes – without emailing attachments back and forth, deciphering conflicting changes, or suffering version control issues. Finally, you want to publish the newsletter so your coworkers and clients can read it from any computer with a web connection. Task: Click on the ‘Publish’ tab. You can either freeze a copy as it stands now, or check the box to ‘Automatically re-publish when changes are made’ so it stays current.
Bonus Tip: The ‘automatically re-publish’ option is useful when you want to keep people in the loop but 1) you don’t have time to keep sending them fresh versions and 2) you don’t want them to be able to make changes. It’s a nice option for a bride-to-be who has a very opinionated mother-in-law. Bonus Tip: If you use Google Docs through Google Apps (a suite of Google products for groups and organizations), you can publish to anyone within your company without having to share it with the whole world.
As a follow-up, your boss asks you to schedule a meeting to discuss progress on the newsletter a week from today. Google Docs is integrated with Google Calendar, so you can create a Calendar appointment from inside Google Docs in a few clicks. Task: Click on the ‘Share’ tab, and below the list of collaborators, click on ‘Create event with collaborators’ to create a Google Calendar appointment. Your collaborators will automatically be added to the Google Calendar invite, along with a link to this document. Whether or not your collaborators use Google Calendar, they’ll receive your invitation by email and can click ‘Yes,’ ‘No,’ or ‘Maybe’ to indicate whether they’re coming. Close the Calendar window, and close the Google Docs browser window.
12:15pm: Planning the evening’s entertainment
On your lunch break, you decide to plan a restaurant outing for tonight. But where to eat? Fortunately, you’ve been keeping a spreadsheet of the ‘Top 100 Restaurants’ in your area on Google Docs, and all your friends have been adding their opinions. Back in your email, find the invite we sent you to ‘Top 100 Restaurants.’ Click the link to open it in Google Docs. Then click the ‘Share’ tab in the upper-right corner, and enter your partner’s email address and hit ‘Send.’ Partner: Check your email – you should see a note inviting you to open ‘Top 100 Restaurants.’ Follow the link to open the spreadsheet. Poke around on the spreadsheet together. Note that you can spot your collaborators – the cells they’re working on are color coded, highlighted for each user, so you can’t edit the same field at once. Task: Locate the cell your partner is working on and try editing fields at the same time.
Google Docs also lets you chat while you edit the spreadsheet, so you can discuss what you’re working on. (If you don’t see a chat box and list of collaborators on the right side of your spreadsheet, click the Discuss tab in the upper right-hand corner.) Task: Chat with your partner until you agree on the restaurant. Okay, dinner plans are set! Close your Google Docs browser window.
3:30pm: Delivering a sales presentation to the team
It’s time to present to the sales team. Each of you is in a different time zone, and some of you are working from home. Google Docs makes it easy for all of you to view the presentation together. Back in your email, find the invite we sent you to ‘Sales Presentation.’ Click the link to open it in Google Docs. Then click the ‘Share’ tab in the upper-right corner, and enter your partner’s email address. Click ‘Send.’ Partner: Check your email – you should see a note inviting you to open ‘Sales Presentation.’ Follow the link to open the presentation. (Of course, if you have any last-minute edits, you can always edit now before you make the presentation.) Now, to deliver your presentation! Task: Start the presentation – click on ‘Start presentation’ at the top. Partner: With ‘Sales Presentation’ open, click ‘Start presentation’ at the top.
Bonus Tip: You can share the presentation with other people simply by copying the URL at the top-right corner and emailing or IMing it to them. They can follow the link to jump directly into the presentation, whether they have a Google Docs account or not. Bonus Tip: You can ‘Publish’ a presentation just like you can a document or a spreadsheet. Just paste the published link on a website and anyone on the web can see it without your having to explicitly invite them.
You’re going to drive the presentation first, so anyone watching can see you flipping back and forth through the slides. Task: Take charge by clicking ‘Take control of presentation’ in the upper right corner. Task: Move forward and backward through the slides by clicking on the arrows in the lower left corner. Your audience can go through the slides at their own pace – great for when they show up late to a meeting and need to catch up – or they can choose to follow you automatically. If they opt to go at their own pace, they’ll still see a thumbnail view in the upper-right corner of whichever slide you’re on. Partner: Click ‘Follow the presenter’ in the upper right to follow along. Now you decide to take the back seat while your partner takes control of the presentation. Your partner will flip through the slides, and you (and everyone else in the audience) can either go at your own pace, or choose to follow along automatically.
Partner: Take control by clicking ‘Take control of presentation’ in the top right corner. Partner: Move forward and backward by clicking the arrows in the lower left corner. When your partner takes control, you’re left free to go back and forth on the slides independently. You let your partner drive the presentation for a while while you review other slides. When you’re ready, you follow at your partner’s pace. Task: Click ‘Follow the presenter’ in the upper right. During the presentation, you chat with other audience members in the group chat on the right side. Someone asks how these figures compare with last year’s, and you type the answer so everyone can see – without interrupting the presentation. Task: Type some lines in the chat window to the right of the presentation.
Bonus Tip: You can hide the chat pane by clicking the vertical bar between it and the slides. The slides will expand to take up the whole screen. Bonus Tip: Don’t miss the emoticons menu in the lower right corner.
Great job – the team loved your presentation, and they gave you kudos during the show! Time to head out and enjoy that restaurant.
We hope you’ve gotten a good sampling of how Google Docs can help people share and collaborate more easily thanks to the web – we call it “life in the cloud.” Please contact us at email@example.com if you have any more questions.
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