Basics of Using Google Docs

Although the change-tracking features of Microsoft Word are usually at top of mind for the typical working editor, reliance on these features (and indeed the use of Word) may not be indispensable in every case. The client may possibly be fine with reviewing and either accepting or rejecting any tracked changes (or may not care to see any tracking) while working within an environment such as Google Docs.

Under such circumstances, editing within that other environment may well be a smoother process than editing in Word. So here (actually inspired more by my translation experiences than by my editing experiences) are some thoughts on working in Google Docs.

First and foremost, file updates are automatically saved every few seconds! Likewise attractive is that there’s nothing to buy, as Google Docs access comes free with any (also free) Gmail account.

Icons on the toolbar can be used to print, undo, redo, paint, zoom, change style or font or size, apply bold or italics or underlining, change text color, insert links or comments, change justification or line spacing, make numbered or bulleted lists, increase or decrease indent, clear formatting, or change the change-tracking mode. (Speaking of which, as you may have inferred from the first paragraph of this article, one drawback of Google Docs is that it does not handle tracked changes very well when it comes to importing and exporting files.)

Above the toolbar is a menu bar, with these options: File, Edit, View, Insert, Format, Tools, Table, Add-ons, Help. The first seven have under them the kinds and numbers of sub-options that you would expect, the numbers ranging up to twenty. And the first makes it possible to download to PDF, RTF, or even the native format for Word.

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