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Google Docs and Drive: What to Love About Them

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By Chris Winans

Chris Winans is an organizational geek and guru (a geeku?). His suggestions on how to get more done with Google Docs and Google Drive are in this 3-part series:

Part 1: Google Docs and Drive: What to Love About Them
Part 2: Make Google Drive Your New File Management System
Part 3: Organizing Shared Google Docs

Questions? Just let Chris know via Comments and we’ll get our resident geeku to help you get organized using Google products.

For those of you who haven’t used Google Docs yet, you really should give them a try. The group sharing and collaboration features are outstanding. After using them heavily and deciding to move our company’s file management system to Google Drive, I have some observations to share that I think will be helpful for people who are considering using them.

Why the Conversion Max team likes Google Docs and Google Drive

  • They are web-based (providing access from anywhere you have an Internet connection)
  • Changes are saved automatically within seconds (no more continuously hitting the save button)
  • They can be shared with colleagues, friends, whomever you choose
  • You decide what level of access and sharing to grant each user (view, comment, or edit)
  • Multiple users can have a file open simultaneously, and updates can be made in real-time
  • They’re intuitive, which means very little training is required to start using them

 

Compare this functionality to your old process: Emailing documents back & forth, sorting out changes to multiple versions, what a mess!

 

sharing permissions

 

Wait a minute… doesn’t Microsoft Word have a collaboration feature? The short answer is yes, but listen to this: I recently took a class on Microsoft Word, and when we got to the chapter about sharing and collaboration the instructor said, “I’m going to teach you how to share files with Microsoft Word, but if you ever need to actually do this you should just use a Google Doc.” After comparing the two, I completely agree that Google Docs is the way to go.

I don’t want to sound like I’m trashing Microsoft. To be fair, Google Docs and Google Sheets don’t have all the functionality of MS Word and Excel. The advanced features of Microsoft’s products are valuable and necessary in some cases. But think about this: how often do you actually use the more advanced features in Word and Excel?

 

excel file

Good news for Microsoft fans: You don’t have to choose!  If you decide you need the functionality of Word and Excel, you can still save your Microsoft files in Google Drive and access them from any computer that has those programs installed. In fact, I still use Word and Excel for some projects, but now I save those files in a Google Drive folder, so they’re Cloud-based giving me more convenience and flexibility.

 

Thanks for reading my blog post, I hope it was helpful. Do you have a question or observation about Google tools for organization? Let me know via Comments (below).

Stay tuned for my next post on using Google Drive for file management.

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Chris Winans

Chris brings more than 11 years of experience in project management and writes about applying that to web. Over the years, he has worked in many different roles including strategic planning, marketing, sales, accounting, and customer relations management (CRM). Chris' goal is to bring the various parts of the company together for a seamless and high-quality experience for clients. Chris holds a B.A. degree from Linfield College and has studied marketing, web development and digital media. He's also a Google AdWords Qualified Individual. As an avid outdoorsman, he enjoys skiing, cycling, backpacking, and landscape photography. He also enjoys time with his wife and two kids, ages six and eight.

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