Today I am going to introduce Google Documents to the social workers that read this blog and may not know how to use it.
Why You Need It
I am presenting this free tool in the context of resource development. In other words, it is important for those of us who often need to refer to documents in practice to have a central location in which to produce, edit, and access these files.
The resources can be anything from community resource information that one would type out for clients, a psychotherapy intervention that helps the client develop boundaries, or a type of assessment that you are utilizing and may need to reference at a later time.
What it Is
Google Docs is a free tool which Google provides to those with a google account (i.e. Gmail).
It allows you to use tools for creating documents for word processing, spreadsheet, and presentations.
One can also create forms in which a user enters information for collection by the form creator (i.e. you). This is especially useful when needing to collect information or data from participants in a study. [A tutorial on this is forthcoming because I will be using this in a program evaluation].
Read more on how to use Google Docs after the jump!
Microsoft Office Replacement?
Not quite. Google Docs provides a stripped down, bare-bones approach to document creation. In essence, Google provides a scaled down version (i.e. equivalent) of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
On the start page for Google Docs (http://docs.google.com), you would click the “New” button to start a new document.
Then you would select your document type:
Upon entering text and using the format buttons, one can figure out how to center text, apply italics or bold font, etc. in their documents. It’s really quite easy.
Document Export and Import
A very handy aspect of Google Docs is the ability to export your created file to various file types. For word processing, file-types include Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx), PDF, or Real-Text File (.rtf). Spreadsheets can be exported in Excel format (,xls) or PDF. Presentations can also be exported via Powerpoint (.ppt) or PDF formats.
This is wonderful because a file that you created online can be downloaded to your personal computer. On your computer, you can continue to edited it on your native Microsoft Word software, which most people (myself included) prefer working on.
Another nifty feature is being able to import/upload your already in-progress (or final) version of your document. While some things may get lost in translation (e.g. the font you used not showing up, things out of ordered or misaligned, etc).
Client Information / Client Database
Once again, I impose upon thee to NOT utilize this service to put identifying client information up on the internet.
How to Upload a File Into Google Docs
Step 1: Find The Button
Step 2: Upload Your File [Click image for larger detail]
Step 3: Click the blue link to access your file
Step 4: Click to edit your file online
Step 5: Uploaded file, ready for editing!
A document that is uploaded to Google Documents can also be shared with your colleagues! [a future post may showcase this!]