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Google Docs Basics for Collaboration

You only need to know the basics to start using Google Docs in a Hands-Off Leadership culture. Here we show you enough to easily use Neverboss Google Docs to start the transformation in your own team or company. The basics we'll cover are:

  • ​Open a Google account if you don't have one
  • Create new Google Docs
  • Copy documents
  • Find documents
  • Basic editing
  • Share documents

Open a separate browser tab or window now to practice these new skills as you read. Once you go through these steps once, you shouldn't need to practice them further. They will come back to you as you start using the documents in your meetings, together.


Create (or Sign in to) Your Google Account

Step 1. If you don't already have a free Google Account, you'll need to create one to access all of our templates.

Step 2. ​Browse to docs.google.com and log in using your Google account.

IMPORTANT TIP: When you open any of our templates, if you are not logged in to your Google account, click SIGN IN at upper right corner to get full access to the document to copy it, etc.

Log out of your Google Account now, and click the image below to try this.

How to sign in to Google Docs NEVERBOSS templates

Create New Google Docs

Step 1. ​Browse to docs.google.com and log in using your Google account. This is your Google Docs home.

Step 2. Use the options to Start a new document.​ Blank is your best option for meetings and collaboration.

Create a new Google Doc

TIP: You can close the template pictures to save space—just click the three dots at top right. Then you'll create documents by clicking the three lines at the top left and choosing Docs.


Copy Documents

Most of the resources we provide are Google Documents. Click the links to open them, then make copies like this:

Step 1. ​File > Make a copy.

When copying our resources for your own use, don't check the box to "Share it with the same people." Your copy is just for your organization.

Step 2. ​Edit the document name to remove the words Copy of and add your own company or team name in place of Sample or Template where you see it in the document name.

Step 3. ​Edit the title inside the document to match the document name.

Step 4. Follow any special instructions inside the document to customize it for your team.​


Find Documents

YOU DO NOT try to find Google Document​s the way you do on your PC or Mac. You find Google Docs the same way you find web sites.

Step 1. Click in the Google Docs search bar. (Do NOT click in the regular browser search bar.)

Google Docs search

Step 2. Enter a unique word from the document. It doesn't have to be from the title, it can be from inside the document!

The more unique the word or phrase, the more exact the search results will be.

Step 3. Look for the document in the drop-down list and click on it.

Step 4. If the document doesn't appear in the drop-down list, hit ENTER and look in the full list of results.​

TIP: You use some documents all the time, like meeting agendas. You can "pin" these tabs to keep them open. In Chrome, right click that tab and choose Pin Tab. It will always stay open at the left.


Basic Editing

For collaboration, you don't usually need fancy-looking documents. Great leadership is usually about safety, clarity, focus, and speed. Beautifying things only adds complexity and slows you down. So, focus on simplicity when rolling out your Fast Flex meeting agendas, Quick Biz Cases, scorecards, and other Hands-Off Leadership tools.

Therefore, you only need a few crucial skills to get started with editing.

Just Place Your Cursor and Type

Editing is ​as simple as typing where you want stuff. Paste anything into a document where you need it. Don't normally worry about making it pretty when you paste it, just get the information in there where people can see and discuss it.

​Use the Toolbar

Google Docs toolbar

The toolbar icons at the top have the simplest, most common features. Try to use those when possible. And stick to one font. It's the information you need, not the appearance.

You will especially use​ (from left to right):

  • Style selector (headings, subheadings, normal text​)
  • Bold, Italic
  • Text Color (including background color)
  • Links
  • Comments
  • Left/Center/Right justification
  • Numbered and bulletted lists
  • Indenting
  • Clear formatting (to get rid of pesky codes when you paste things into your documents)

Then Try the Menus

Google Docs menu

If the feature isn't in the toolbar, it's in the menus. Take a minute now to look through the menus to see what's there.

Use These Keyboard Shortcuts

To change and move things around more easily, these few shortcuts will save a ton of time:

  • Indent:     Ctrl​ ]     Mac: ⌘ ]
  • Reduce indent:     Ctrl [    Mac: ⌘ [
  • Bold:     Ctrl B     Mac:     ⌘ B
  • Italic:     Ctrl I     Mac:     ⌘ I
  • Cut, Copy, Paste:     Ctrl X, Ctrl C, Ctrl V     Mac: ⌘ X, ⌘ C, ⌘ V
  • ​​See Other Keyboard Shortcuts:     Ctrl /     Mac: ⌘ /

​TIP: Indent and Outdent and next to each other in the order you would expect.

TIP: Cut. Copy, Paste are next to each other. X is like cutting, C is for Copy, V is like a down arrow pasting into the document.


Share Documents

You can share documents simply with a link, or you can share more securely to specific people, or you can use a combination of both.

Share with a Link​

​You can give a shareable link to others, and the link alone can give them access to the document. This is less secure but is fast and easy enough for many companies without trade secrets or confidences to protect. Click the blue Share button at top right, then click Get shareable link and choose the option you want.

Google Docs get shareable link

TIP: If you send a link to a Google Doc using Gmail, it prompts you to share it with them if they don't have access. Watch that option carefully, by default it can make the document available to anyone with the link unless you choose another option.

Share with Specific People

​For more security, you can easily share documents with specific people (up to 200). Click the blue Share button at top right, then click in the box and type one or more names or email addresses (green arrow below). To see who has already been shared with, click on Shared with (names) (blue arrow).

Google Docs share with specific people

TIP: If a person already has a Google account for a certain email address of name, you will usually see the email change to a name, and their picture. This helps you choose the best email address for sharing documents.

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Kevin Crenshaw
 

Kevin, our approachable CEO, is the author of NEVERBOSS: Great Leadership by Letting Go. He's also a consultant, keynote speaker, Rapid Turnaround CEO, and creator of both Hands-Off Leadership™ and Total Relaxed™ Organization. He loves people, leadership, coaching, speaking, tackling tough problems, and physics, but not usually all at once.