How To Create a Google Doc on a Computer and a Mobile Device
Updated June 24, 2022
Google Docs refers to both a word processor and a suite of cloud-based productivity applications. These programs are popular free alternatives to on-premise or subscription software, providing much of the same functionality with greater collaborative capability. If you're interested in learning how to use Google Docs for your work, it's important to understand the basics of opening the apps and creating a file. In this article, we define Google Docs, discuss the types of Google Docs and describe the steps for creating Google Docs files on a computer and a mobile device.
What is Google Docs?
Google Docs refers to specific applications within Google Workspace, a suite of cloud-based productivity and collaboration software. Through Google Docs, you can create, modify and share various types of files, including but not limited to:
The files save automatically to your Google account, allowing you to access them through multiple channels and platforms—Google Drive, the Docs page, web browsers and mobile devices. Anyone with access to a Google Docs file and editing permissions can make changes to the file, collaborating with others doing the same.
Types of Google Docs
There are four main types of Google Docs:
Google Docs text documents are created with Google's word processor, also called Google Docs. The application offers wide functionality in terms of document layout and formatting. Users can apply variable margin and line spacing, different fonts and typographical elements. Other features include offline editing and automatically saved version histories, allowing users to view the revisions made, the dates of revision and the identity of the editor.
Google Docs is compatible with other word processors, and users can download a document to their hard drive in various formats, including:
Rich text format
There are also various templates provided by Google, and more that have been created by Docs' users. The default templates include:
Related: How To Create a Google Docs Resume
Sheets refers to spreadsheets and the Google software used to create them. It is comparable to and compatible with Microsoft Excel, another popular spreadsheet program. The basic features include editing, exploring, offline editing and integration with other Google services and products. It can be especially useful in a business setting, as the multi-user functionality allows a large number of employees to input data simultaneously. Like Docs, it allows access to the version history for tracking changes.
Sheets also offers default and user-built templates. The default templates include:
Related: How To Create a Google Spreadsheet
Slides is Google's presentation software, comparable to Microsoft PowerPoint. Users can create richly detailed slideshows that include images, multimedia, animations and formatted text. For added visual appeal, they can also edit the transitions between slides with such effects as fades, wipes, cuts and covers. As with Docs and Sheets, users have offline editing capability and access to version histories.
A special feature of Slides is add-ons, third-party applications that extend the functionality of the program. Users can access the add-ons store from the toolbar. Popular add-ons include tools for:
Google Forms is software for creating forms such as surveys, quizzes, registration forms and polls. You can customize your form with photos, logos and color schemes. Anyone with whom you share the form can submit their own responses, and you receive an email notification with each submission. Only you, the creator, can view the responses and summaries of results in graph or chart form. There's also an option to export the results to a spreadsheet.
How to make a Google Doc on a computer
Follow these steps to make a Google Doc on your computer, through your preferred web browser:
1. Log in to your Google account
A Google account is necessary to access and create Google files. If you have an account, you can log in through the Google search page, Drive or Gmail. If you don't have an account, you can create one via the Google account sign-in page.
2. Navigate to the appropriate portal
Each Google Docs application has its own portal. You can access the portals directly or navigate to them from your log-in starting point. Whether you're starting from the Google search page, Gmail or Drive, the procedure is the same. In the top right-hand corner of the page, click on the grid icon next to your account profile picture to reveal the Google applications. Scroll down and select either Docs, Sheets, Slides or Forms.
Alternatively, in Drive, you can select the "+ New" icon in the top left-hand corner of the interface to open up an expanded menu of options. The links to Docs, Sheets, Slides and Forms are available there.
3. Select an option
The portals all have similar layouts. At the very top is the template gallery. The first option there is the Blank template. You can expand the gallery by selecting "Template gallery" in the top right-hand corner of the interface. Underneath the template gallery are your recently opened files, with various sorting options available to you. To create a new document, select one of the templates in the gallery. If you'd like to determine your own layout and components, the Blank template is ideal. Click once to open.
4. Title your file
Opening a template directs you to a different interface. The four Docs types are all unique in appearance, but each shows its brand icon in the top left-hand corner, next to which is a title that reads "Untitled." Click on the title to activate the text box, and input the title you want. Press "Enter" on your keyboard or click outside of the text box to save automatically. The file is now saved to your Drive.
How to make a Google Doc on a mobile device
Creating a Google Doc on a mobile device is different from the above, and Google Forms has its own procedure. To create a Google Doc on your mobile device, follow these steps:
1. Install or access the appropriate apps
The easiest way to begin creating a Google text document, spreadsheet or slideshow on mobile is through the respective apps. In your app store, search for and install the following:
Alternatively, you can download the Google Drive app, from which you can access all of the above.
There's currently no dedicated app for Google Forms, but you can access it by opening your web browser and searching for "Google Forms." The appropriate portal is likely to be the first result.
2. Log in to your Google account
Open the app you want to use. If you're opening the mobile app for the first time, it prompts you to sign in to your account. Input your username and password to log in. If you don't have an account, select the "Create an account" option.
For Google Forms, on the Forms mobile portal, tap on "Go to Google Forms." Log in with your credentials or create an account.
3. Create a new file
On the Docs, Sheets and Slides apps, the "Create new" icon is a plus symbol located in the bottom right-hand corner. Tap on the icon. From there, you can opt to choose a template or to create a new, blank file. If you're using Drive, the icon is in the same spot. The options for Docs, Sheets and Slides all create blank files.
There's no corresponding step for Google Forms on mobile at this point.
4. Start typing
In the interface for Docs, Sheets or Slides, start inputting text. The application saves the file automatically to Drive associated with your account. The same is true for Forms, through the mobile web browser. You can access the newly created file via the Drive app or on a personal computer.
5. Title your file
To title your Docs, Sheets or Slides file from within the interface, tap on the vertical ellipsis points on the far right-hand side of the top toolbar. This opens up a context menu at the top of which are the words "Untitled document," "Untitled spreadsheet" or "Untitled presentation." Tap on that field to rename the file.
For Forms, the title field is in the top left-hand corner of the interface.
Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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