The last few years, I’ve used Google apps extensively for sharing documents via the “cloud” to friends and co-workers. Google has their own apps that are very similar to Microsoft Office’s Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. These apps are Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Once you create any of these types of documents, you can simply share out a shareable link (URL), or with specific Google account holders. Collaboration is seamless if the users are online and you don’t have more than 50 editors (at the time of this writing), or a combined total of 200 editors and viewers.
The only downside is when you have a user that does not have a Google account. Some options for those users (no worries, they can still edit the document!) are the following:
- give them a shareable link so they can download the document and edit it offline – this kind of takes away from the whole instant collaboration piece of Google Docs/Sheets/Slides
- give them a shareable link where they will also be able to edit the document in their favorite browser – I have not tested this feature, but only found out about it while writing this article which is a huge plus
- have them create a Google account and share the document explicitly with them – while this might not make your friend or co-worker too happy, at least they’ll now have an account to use many of Google’s apps!
To share a document that you created with Google, you can either right-click the document and click the ‘Share…’ button, or click the visual icon for sharing (seen here). Then you can either copy a shareable link, like I mentioned above, or you can add people’s Google email addresses and then click ‘Done’ to send them an email verifying that they have access to the document.