We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Google is taking over the world (but we like to think they’ll be fun, benevolent overlords). While we’ve already gone over how to hack your Google Chrome and your Google Calendar, we think it’s time to let you in on the best group project facilitator ever: Your Google Drive.
What is Google Drive?
Google Drive is the Google cloud service (kind of like DropBox) where you can store all of your files up in the ether. You can save Word documents, PowerPoints, PDFs, pictures… you name it. It’s super convenient because it is a cloud service, so you can get at all of these documents from any computer, and can even download the app to your smartphone to be able to access things from there, too.
How does Microsoft Word work with it?
Microsoft Word works pretty well with Google Drive. If you’re emailed a Word attachment, you’re able to open it and save it in Drive, but you can’t edit it as a Word document. If you want to edit it within Google Drive, you’ll have to open it as a Google Doc.
Pro Tip: Google Docs is Google’s version of Microsoft Word. They also have Google Slides and Google Sheets, which serve as PowerPoint and Excel respectively. All of this information applies to both of those programs, too.
You’re also able to turn a Google Doc into a Word document by clicking “File” and then “Download As” and selecting “Microsoft Word (.docx).” This back-and-forth is really convenient if you ever find yourself doing work on two different computers and one of them doesn’t have Microsoft Word.
What’s this “sharing” business?
Sharing a document on Google Drive is different from emailing a Word Document back and forth. When you share a document, you essentially give another Google user complete access to edit and work on a Google Document. Sharing also lets the other user save the document in their own Google Drive.
This is really convenient when you’re working in groups on an essay. Instead of having to email one Word document back and forth, you can just share it with everyone and they can open it to see changes whenever they want. It’s also pretty nifty because you can take a look at all of the changes that have been made to the document.
For example, say you’re working on a lab report with three other people. You can write part of it, and share it with your group. Someone else can go in, add to it and maybe change a spelling error you had. You can then go in and look at the changes they made by clicking a little link at the top of the page that says, “See Changes.”