Thursday, August 14, 2008

Google Documents - A review
As most of you probably know, one needs a universal Google account that can be used across all Google services. This means that in case you use Gmail then you already possess the requirements. To start off with the Google Documents, start of by visiting the URL, and enter your user ID and password. A new rival to the Microsoft Office.

Just below the logo on the top left of the screen that says Google Docs Beta, you can see a drop down menu which says New. Once you click on New, you are given either of four options; namely, a new Document (Word), Spreadsheet (Excel), Presentation (PowerPoint) or Folder. Here we will know about the Document Function— go to New > Document.

If you have ever used Microsoft Word, you would be able to navigate through easily. As you would have figured out by now, the blank page with the cursor is the beginning of your document. You could continue typing in your leisure as much as you require. Similar to Gmail, Google Docs periodically saves the changes made, which comes in quite handy. In fact, keyboard shortcuts are similar to Microsoft Word, thereby giving you a feel of working on Word itself. You can adjust font sizes with the button marked “T”. Most of the functionalities here are similar to MS Word. Once your document is complete, the next step is saving.

Now consider this— you get a word processor, with password protection, data storage, and to top it all, an option to save it either in .rtf, open office, .zip, Word, and even .pdf formats. Another important function here is that these documents can be shared online. Data could be added by your chosen users— all you need to do is invite them to use this document. You can set their privileges similar to the way you do for a shared folder in Windows— for example, deciding on who gets permission to read and who gets permission to write. This speeds up the process of data compilation from multiple sources, yet maintaining security. The Insert tab lets you insert objects to make your document more lively.

The Revisions tab keeps a track of every change made to your  document— both by you and those who you have shared your document with. That’s the best part, because as the owner of this document, you can then track any error that may have crept in and isolateit, without having to correct other areas of the document.For example, if you first typed a word, a friend deleted it andthen a second friend added it again. You may have been (verbally) informed of the deletion,but not of the re-addition. You would get all the relevant information from the revisions tab along with a time stamp. To the right hand side of the page, are two vital tabs, namely, Share and Publish. Click on the Share tab to share our document.

As you would see, from the window, there are two options: “as collaborators” and “as viewers”. Collaborators are those with special privileges to change the data just like you, while viewers are those who have no permission to write, but rather just read. Let us consider an example: the principal of an institute wants to release the results of a recently conducted test, and fast— everything’s already overdue. There is a tremendous amount of data to be compiled. Conventional office suites would require one person like a data entry operator to key in the marks of each student for each subject— this can be time consuming. It is in situations such as these that online office suites come in handy. They can be time-saving in data segregation from multiple sources. The easiest way would be to start a Google Document session. She could then invite the teachers as collaborators, who would enter the marks in the respective fields. At the end she could invite all the students as viewers.

The next important function on Google Docs is Publish. Clicking on this gives the document a unique URL, whereby anyone can view it. Google Docs also empowers you with the option of publishing your document right away as a blog! This gives a reasonably brief idea of using Google documents, the first alternative to the typical MS Word processor. One must note that this is in fact just the tip of the iceberg.

Overall, Google Documents may not give you everthing MS Word gives, but it is one of the best you can get free.

No comments:

Post a Comment