How to use Google Apps

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Perhaps you have been living under a rock. Perhaps you are not mentally capable of tying your shoelaces together. Perhaps you are a hopeless idealist who is not ok with Google adbots or the NSA reading your email and documents. But for most of us, who are ok with giving our digital souls to Skynet, we're happy with Gmail and Google Docs.

For you foolios that do not know how to use Google Docs, here are the basics.

Important Notes

  • You need an internet connection
  • You need an account on gmail or google apps (
  • You need a VPN


If you do not know how to use gmail... man. You're going to need a bigger tutorial than this.

Google Drive - Docs

Basically to get to Google Drive / Docs.

  1. Login into gmail
  2. Go to Google Drive

Inbox graphic drive arrow.gif

Creating a Document

If you have used basic office software, you should have an idea of all of these things. Creating them on Google Docs is very simple. The bottom line is that you will need an internet connection and you'll be using these features inside your browser.

  • Document - Word
  • Presentation - Powerpoint
  • Spreadsheet - Excel
  • Form - Survey

Creating google drive doc.gif

Google Documents

  • Can you use Microsoft Word? Can you wipe your butt?

New google document.gif

  • After you click on create new document, you can start typing.

Useful Features

  • Export to PDF - Export documents that do not need future editing or collaboration to PDF. PDF is a friendly format for static documents because the receiver does not need any special software and the formatting will be consistent.

Google Spreadsheets

  • Better than a calculator.

Google docs sample spreadsheet.gif

  • Spreadsheets is certainly slower and has fewer features than Excel. However, it is definitely powerful enough for probably anything that a typical organization would use a spreadsheet for.

Useful Features

  • Export to CSV, XLS, ODS - You can export documents into any format that you may need when working with other people. CSV is good if the data fields are static and not formula based. XLS is the probably the format most often used for exporting.

Google Presentations

  • You have seen bullet points before. Now you too have the power.

Google doc sample presentation.gif

Spreadsheets is not particularly pretty at all. For our purposes though, it is fine. Collaboration is the key here.

Useful Features

  • Export to PDF - If you're going to be giving a presentation offline later, or need to send an actual document to a client, you'll be using this feature. I think it's a good idea to download this in general, because you may always need a backup.
  • Export to PPT - If you will need to collaborate / share the document with people outside of the organization, this is what you'll need to do. Be warned, not all of the formatting will be preserved. There are tricky issues with fonts and formatting. This is another reason to keep your presentations simple.

Google Forms

  • It's like Mad Libs. Actually more like making a Mad Lib.

New google form.gif

  • This is like a poor man's surveymonkey. It totally works and is user friendly.

Useful Features

  • Link to Google Spreadsheet - This is probably the best feature of Google Forms. The data that you gather on Google Forms can automatically be put into a Google Spreadsheet, which you can immediately start analyzing.
  • Show answers in charts - This is a nice way to visualize the results of your polls. We did this at that presentation about Xinchejian strategy.

KEY SKILL: Sharing Documents

  • You can share Google documents and collaborate with other people. This is the key benefit of using Google Docs.

New google document sharebutton.gif

How to do this

Google docs how to share.gif

  • Go to SHARE the button

  • POINT A: WHO TO SHARE WITH: Type in the email addresses of the people you want to share the document with. The people need to have an account on gmail or google apps (
  • POINT B: PERMISSION LEVEL: You can set the permissions of people you share with. Most of the time you'll let them edit, but you can just leave it at comment or view if you want.
  • POINT C: EMAIL THEM: Generally, you should also send them an email. This way the person knows that you've shared a document with them. If you don't send the email. You should send the URL to the person, so they know how to get to the document.
  • POINT D: EXPLANATION: You don't need to write a message, but it generally helps. This message is shown inside the email, so it's pretty helpful. This is particularly useful if you don't give a good name for the document. Please don't send documents titled "untitled document". Nobody will have any idea what's in the file.

See also