Google Docs Tips For Beginners

Google Docs is Google’s online document creation and management application. If you haven’t used Google Docs and you have a Google account, it is really worth checking out. It could easily save you from purchasing MS Office or upgrading.

Like many Google applications, Google Docs has been doing some testing behind the scenes. Being able to use and manage your documents well can save lots of time. Here are a few tips to help you be more versed with Google Docs.

Starting from scratch

If you are just starting with Google Docs, here are a few things you will want to start with. Note there are features you can add via web apps and extensions if you are using Google Chrome browser.


These are folders where you can organize your documents. I cannot stress enough how much easier it is to organize from the start. If you need to go back and sort through all of your documents and files, it will be a daunting task.

To create a collection, click on the Create button in the top left of the Google Docs homepage. In the drop down, you should see Collection as an option. Name the collection and you are ready to go.


By default, you will be taken into the new collection. If you want a sub-folder, this is a good time to make one. If you need to add a sub-folder, you can always do it later.



To move your current documents to the Google cloud, there are a couple of methods. If you have a lot of them to import to the cloud, you may want to consider an application like Gladinet. What Gladinet can do for you is upload all of the files from a certain folder or set of folders. You will need to sort them after they are all uploaded.

The other option is to upload them individually or by the folder. If you choose this method, you can import the files into collections you have already created.



If you are an Excel user, this may be slightly different for you. However, many of the same features and settings will be in Google Docs. If you are a hard-core Excel user, you may not have everything you need. Also look at used for Google Forms. These export to a spreadsheet and stored in Google Docs.

Keyboard shortcuts

These are a few of the many keyboard shortcuts when you are using spreadsheets.

  • Show all formulas Ctrl + ~
  • Make a copy Ctrl + Up arrow + S
  • Add new sheet Up arrow + F11
  • Select column Up arrow + Space
  • Select row Ctrl + Up arrow + Space
  • Strikethrough Alt + Up arrow + 5
  • Redo Ctrl + Y
  • Move to next sheet Ctrl + Up arrow + PageDown


Google Docs is a fantastic replacement for most desktop If you an everyday user, you will do great. It is an easy transition from Microsoft Office. Having the flexibility to access your documents from anywhere with an internet connection including your phone, outweighs the small features that are lost.

What did you find useful when you first switched to Google Docs?

Image credit: Kinologik

Trevor Dobrygoski
Trevor Dobrygoski

Trevor is a freelance writer covering topics ranging from the Android OS to free web and desktop applications. When he is not writing about mobile productivity, He is coaching and playing the world's greatest game... Soccer.

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