What can you do with Docs?

Write reports, create joint project proposals, keep track of meeting notes, and much more.

With Google Docs, you can create and edit text documents right in your web browser—no special software is required. Even better, multiple people can work at the same time, you can see people’s changes as they make them, and every change is saved automatically.

What you need:

account_circle G Suite account

schedule 10 minutes

What can you do with Google Docs

Create or import

To start, you need a document to work with.

In this section, you learn how to:


Create a new document

You can create a new document right in Docs or in Google Drive.

In Docs, click Create new document add.

In Drive, click New > Google Docs > Blank document or From a template.


Import and convert old documents to Docs

If you have existing text documents, such as Microsoft® Word® or Adobe® PDF files, you can import and convert them to Docs.

  1. Go to Drive.
  2. Click New > File Upload and choose a text document from your computer. Supported files include .doc, .docx, .dot, .html, plain text (.txt), .odt, and .rtf.
  3. Right-click the file you want to convert and select Open with > Google Docs.

Converting your document from another program creates a copy of your original file in Docs format. You can then edit it in your browser like any other document.

Have a Word document?

If you've already stored Microsoft Word documents in Drive, you can also update them without converting to Docs.

Import and convert old documents to Google Docs

Edit and format

Now that you have a document open, you can edit it as you like, change how it looks, and work in it much like you did in your old program. Docs automatically saves every change you make.

In this section, you learn how to:


Add and edit text

Rename your document: At the top of the page, click Untitled document, enter a new title, and click OK.

Add or edit text: Just click in the page and start typing.


Add colors and styles

To change margins, page color, and orientation, click File > Page setup.

Use the toolbar to customize your document further. Here are some highlights:

Docs undo redo

Undo or redo your last changes

Docs paint format

Copy formatting from one section of text and apply it to another section



Normal text

Assign styles for headings and titles

Arial 10

Change font and font size

Docs bold italic

Add bold or italics, underline, or change the font color

Docs insert link

Insert a link for selected text


Insert a comment

Docs text align

Choose text alignment


Choose line spacing, bulleted and numbered lists, indents, background colors, and other tools.


Add pictures, links, tables, and more

The Insert menu lets you add different features to your document. Here are the highlights:

Image—Insert an image from your computer, the web, Drive, and more.

Link—Add a link to another page or to a header or bookmark in the same document.

Drawing—Create shapes, pictures, and diagrams right in your document.

Table—Select the number of columns and rows to create a table.

Bookmark—Add shortcuts to specific places within your document.

Table of contents—Create an auto-generated table of contents that links to each heading in your document that has a heading style applied.

Add pictures, links, tables, and more

Create page columns

If you’re working on an academic paper or another large document, you can organize your text in columns.

  1. Click Format > Columns.
  2. Select the number of columns you want.
  3. (Optional) To adjust the spacing, or add lines between column, click Format > Columns > More options.
  4. Click Apply.

Share and collaborate

To work on your document with teammates or people outside of your company, just share it. People can make changes at the same time, and you can see their changes as they happen. You can share with people who aren't on G Suite, too.

In this section, you learn how to:


Share documents

  1. Open the file you want to share.
  2. Click Share.
  3. Enter the email addresses or Google Groups you want to share with.
  4. Note: If you can't add people outside your company, see your G Suite administrator.

  5. Choose what kind of access you want to grant people:
    • Can edit—Collaborators can add and edit content as well as add comments.
    • Can comment—Collaborators can add comments, but not edit content.
    • Can view—People can view the file, but not edit or add comments.
  6. Click Send.

Everyone you shared the document with receives an email with a link to the document.

Share with your team

Add comments and replies

If you can’t collaborate in real time, you can leave feedback and questions on the side of the document for team members to look at when they open the file.

  1. Open Docs and select a section of text.
  2. On the toolbar, click Add comment .
  3. Add your notes and click Comment.

If a comment is important for a specific collaborator to see, enter + followed by their address. They’ll get an email with your comment, along with a link to the document. They can then reply to your comments to answer questions or start a discussion.

When you’re done with a comment, click Resolve.

Add comments and replies

Suggest edits

You can also propose changes directly in the document without editing the text by suggesting an edit. Your suggestions won’t change the original text until the document owner approves them. You must have edit or comment access to the document to suggest changes.

  1. In the top corner, make sure you’re in Suggesting mode, which may also appear as .
  2. To suggest an edit, simply begin typing where you think the edit should be made in the document. Your suggestions appear in a new color, and text you mark to delete or replace is crossed out (but not actually deleted until the document owner approves the suggestion).
  3. The document’s owner will receive an email with your suggestions. When they click any suggestion, they can Accept check or Reject close it.
Suggest edits

Chat with people directly

You can collaborate in real time over chat, too. If more than one person has your document open, just click Show chat chat_bubble to open a group chat. You can get instant feedback without ever leaving your document.

Chat with people directly

Print and download

If you need a printout, another format, or copies of your document, Docs can do that, too.

In this section, you learn how to:


Print your document

To print your document, do one of the following options:

  • Click File > Print.
  • Click Print print.

In the preview that appears, you can scroll through your document on the right, or choose print options on the left.

Print your document

Download versions in other formats

To download your document so it can be opened by other programs, click File > Download as and choose one of the following formats:

  • Microsoft Word (.docx)
  • OpenDocument Format (.odt)
  • Rich Text Format (.rtf)
  • PDF Document (.pdf)
  • Plain text (.txt)
  • Web page (.html, zipped)
Download versions in other formats

Make a copy in Docs

Copying a document is useful for creating templates. For example, if you write a lot of proposals, you can make copies of one proposal and then update each copy for a new project without having to format it again.

To make a copy of your document, click File > Make a copy. You can rename the copy, change where you save it in Drive, and optionally share it with the same collaborators.


Email a copy as an attachment

If you need to collaborate with someone on your document in a different program or format, such as Word or PDF, you can email it as an attachment. However, this sends a copy of the document instead of sharing the original, so you won’t be able to use Doc’s collaboration tools.

  1. Click File > Email as attachment.
  2. Select a format.
  3. Enter the email addresses or Groups you want to send copies to.
  4. (Optional) Enter a message.
  5. Click Send.

Next steps

Try it now

Try Docs by copying and customizing this proposal template.

Get more training

Edit Word documents without installing Microsoft® Office®, automatically add citations to research papers and proposals, instantly translate Docs in other languages, and more.