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Google Docs Overview


This article is designed to guide users within CAS through some of the features of Google Docs–the word processing portion of the Google Apps suite. Many of its features are similar to other word processing programs like Microsoft Word or Pages from Apple. Google Docs in fully integrated with Google Drive and is accessible online via web browser and through its own mobile application (on iOS and Android platforms).

For faculty, staff, and graduate teaching fellows (GTFs) within CAS, a CAS Google account can be acquired through an opt-in process here.

Getting Started in Docs

In order to create a document in Google Docs, you will first need to go to, click the New button, and select Google Docs

From here, the user will be directed to a new screen with a full word processor.

  1. Here the document can be named (click to edit)
  2. Standard File Menus
  3. Standard toolbar (with print, font, rich text, spacing features)
  4. Body of document (Letter size default)
  5. Takes user to Docs home page (see below)


Since Google Docs is entirely web-based, many of its features are collaborative in several ways. The author of the document share the file with collaborators and assign access levels to each if preferred.


First, any document can be shared with fellow collaborators. The author of the document can also determine how collaborators can interact with the document.

First, click on the Share button in the upper-left corner.

Then, add the e-mail addresses of your collaborators.

Note: Those who have CAS Gmail accounts will see fellow CAS Google users when typing in e-mail addresses.

  1. This link can be copied into an e-mail with collaborators
  2. The document’s visibility online can be set to private (default) or public
  3. The owner of the document
  4. Invite people via e-mail (or names if they’re in your contacts list from Gmail) and set view/edit permissions
  5. The owner can set the global permissions for the document (default setting is shown)

Click Done once all preferences have been set.

Exporting Documents

The document can be exported to other standard formats. Click File > Download As… > select export format

The document will save to your web browser’s default download folder.

Research Tools

Google Docs allows for users to conduct searches from a sidebar within the document.

Under the Tools menu, select the Research option.

Any information found within the research tool can be added into the document. Any results found within this sidebar can be correctly cited into your document in MLA, APA, or Chicago formats. Just click the small arrow below the search field for the available options (as seen below).


There are additional features that can be enabled through free add-ons from third party vendors. Click the Add-Ons menu, then select Get add-ons…

Docs Home Page

When the user clicks on the Docs icon in the upper left of the window, they will be directed to the Docs home page (which bears similarities to the main Drive page):