Part 2 of my Google Apps Blog Series describes what Google Documents is and the benefit of using it over conventional office applications like Microsoft Office.
What are Google Documents?
Google Documents is a collection of basic office applications such as a Word processor and Spreadsheet available for free through your browser. A Google Account is needed. The documents can be access, saved, shared and edited all through your browser therefore providing a quick and convenient way to access documents anywhere at any time.
Why Should I Use Google Documents?
Here is a list of advantages of using Google Documents:-
- Free – its a free service so you do not need to pay for expensive licenses
- Browser Based – you can access the applications through a browser so your documents are available anywhere at any time
- No Software Installation – the applications are dynamically run on Google Servers and fed through your browser, so no need to install software
- Open MS Documents – You can open Microsoft documents within Google Documents such as .doc, .docx and .xls files. Some formatting may be lost though.
- Share Documents – You can share document access (Read and/or Write) with other people to create better collaboration and save emailing different versions back and forth.
- Online Forms – You can create an online form using Spreadsheet to collect data and enter it into a spreadsheet.
Are There Any Limitations?
At the time of writing the main limitation of Google Documents is Basic Functionality. You can only access basic functions in Documents and Spreadsheets such as text formatting, and cannot access more advanced features like formatting and aligning images. Therefore when opening MS documents that use advanced features, it is possible they will be removed in Google Documents.
Google Documents is therefore only good at basic Word processing and spreadsheets. You will still need a suitable Office application to do more advanced formatting.
How Do I Get Google Documents?
Sign up for a Google Account and Documents account at http://docs.google.com/
Are There Any Alternatives?
Yes, the following are common office applications you can use instead:-
Read more information from Google at http://docs.google.com/