By now, you probably know that Google Drive is a great tool you can use to store your files with online access from any of your devices, but you may not know the full extent of its powerful productivity and collaboration features. While there are a number of document storage options out there, Google Drive has some abilities that are pretty distinctive…
Work on files at the same time
Once you’ve uploaded or created your file in Google Drive, whether it be Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms or Drawings, you can invite your whole team to work on the file at the same time. Regardless of where they are in the world, or what device they’re using, they can all collaborate as long as they have an internet connection and a Google account.
To get started, simply click on the blue “Share” button and enter the email addresses of those you’d like to include on the document. You can select from either ‘Edit’, ‘Comment’ or ‘View’, depending on how much contribution you’d like from each user.
Every time someone edits the document or adds anything in, the changes will automatically appear on everyone else’s screen when viewing the file, with their name popping up next to the cursor to indicate who’s typing.
Chat with others in a file
You might think that having multiple people making changes to the same document at the same time could get a little messy and out of hand, but not if they have the ability to communicate with each other and discuss what should be added to each section. That’s why Google Drive has a built-in chat feature to ensure everyone sings from the same hymn sheet.
When you have the file open at the same time as others, you can click on the ‘Chat’ button at the top right of your screen, and the chat box will appear. This allows you to stay in touch with the other users and make decisions together, without having to open and close the window to email back and forth.
You can easily convert Microsoft Office files to Google formats by uploading to Drive and selecting the “open with” option using the appropriate Google file type. However, most people don’t realise that you can also edit Word, Excel and Powerpoint files from within Google Drive on your browser using the Office Editing for Docs, Sheets and Slides extension. Which means no more worrying about old versions and missing content that you were sure had been added.
Google Drive allows a range of file sharing options for different scenarios. You are able to share: to individual users; anyone at your organisation; anyone with the link and publicly on the web. Drive also allows you to grant three different levels of access for collaborators so you are in total control of your files: edit, view and comment.
Imagine the work of a typical small business owner to illustrate some of these file sharing capabilities:
- Company Policy Doc – shared with everyone at the organisation with view access
- Marketing Strategy Doc – shared with users within the organisation (marketing department) with edit access and users external to the organisation (partner company) with comment access
- Customer Feedback Form – embedded on a website using ‘public on the web’
It’s clear that no single setting would meet the requirements for all of these different situations, which is why it’s as easy as a couple of clicks to change the setting on each of your documents when you need to.
It’s also worth noting that if you’re sharing a document with a small group of people that everyone included will need to be signed into their Google Accounts to have access. But if you have a large group who will be reading or contributing, you can set the file to ‘anyone with the link’ which will allow access to the document for everyone, regardless of whether they have a Google Account or not.
You can find out more about Drive and it’s other powerful features on our Google Apps pages as well as a the helpful walkthrough video below.
If you’d like any further information on Google For Work or are interested in finding out how your organisation could benefit from taking its first steps into cloud computing, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to have a chat.