Get started with Docs

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What can you do with Docs?

Write reports, create joint project proposals, keep track of meeting notes, and 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 A G Suite account. Don't have one? Sign up.

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

Choose an option:

  • In Docs, scroll down and 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.


Customize your document

Depending on what you want to change, choose an option:

  • To customize margins, page color, and orientation, click File > Page setup.
  • To customize text, images, tables, and more, use the toolbar options.

Note: Some options only appear for certain types of content, such as tables or images.

undo redo   print

Undo or redo your last changes or print your document.


Copy formatting from any text and apply it to another selection of text.

Normal text  Arial 11

Change the style, font, or font size.

format_bold format_italic format_underlined format_color_text

Make text bold, in italics, or underlined or change the text color.


Add or change the text highlight color.

link add_comment image

Insert a link, comment, or image.

format_align_left format_align_center format_align_right format_align_justify

Change the text alignment.

format_line_spacing  format_list_numbered  format_list_bulleted

Change the line spacing or add numbers or bullets.

format_indent_decrease format_indent_increase

Change the text indentation.


Remove text formatting.

Table and image options

format_color_fill  border_color  line_weight  line_style

Add background color to a table or change the border color, width, or style.


Crop an image.

Image options…

Change the color, transparency, brightness, or contrast.

Replace image arrow_drop_down

Replace an existing image with a new one.


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.

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

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

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

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

Share a file or folder with specific people:

You can only share files that you own or have edit access to.

  1. In Drive, right-click the file or folder you want to share and select Share person_add.
  2. Under People, enter the email address of the person or group you want to share with.

    Note: If you can't add people outside of your company or organization, contact your G Suite administrator.

  3. Click Edit edit and choose the access level:
      • Can edit—Collaborators can add and edit content as well as add comments.
      • Can comment (Select files only)—Collaborators can add comments, but can't edit content.
      • Can view—People can view the file, but not edit or add comments.

    Everyone you share with receives an email with a link to the file or folder.

  4. (Optional) To add a note to the email, enter your note. To skip sending an email, uncheck the Notify people box.
  5. Click Send.

Share a link to a file or folder:

You can send other people a link to a file or folder so that anyone with the link can open it. When you share a link, your name appears as the owner.

You can only share files that you own or have edit access to.

  1. In Drive, right-click the file or folder you want to share and select Share person_add.
  2. At the top right, click Get shareable link.
  3. Click Anyone at your organization with the link can view and choose an access level:
    • Can edit—Collaborators can add and edit content as well as add comments.
    • Can comment (Select files only)—Collaborators can add comments, but can't edit content.
    • Can view—People can view the file, but not edit or add comments.
  4. Click Copy link.
  5. Click Done.
  6. Paste the link in an email or any place you want to share it.

Share with your team

Unshare documents

Stop sharing a file or folder you own:

  1. In Drive, select the shared file or folder.
  2. Click Share person_add.
  3. At the bottom, click Advanced.
  4. Next to the person you want to stop sharing the file or folder with, click Remove close.
  5. Click Save changes.

Delete a link to a file or folder you own:

When you delete a link to a file or folder that you own, the only people who can still see it are you and anyone you share it with.

  1. In Drive, select the linked file or folder.
  2. Click Share person_add.
  3. Click Anyone at your organization with the link > Off - only specific people can access.
  4. Click Done.


Add comments and replies

  1. In Docs, Sheets, or Slides, select the text you'd like to comment on.
  2. Click Comment comment > Add comment add_comment.
  3. Enter your comment in the box.
  4. (Optional) To direct your task or comment to a specific person, enter a plus sign (+) followed by their email address. You can add as many people as you want. Each person will get an email with your comment and a link to the file.
  5. (Optional) To assign the comment to a specific person, check the Assign to box.
  6. Click Comment or Assign.

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_show_chat_24dp 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.

Access your calendar, notes, and tasks

See your schedule, reply to invitations, and keep track of your to-do lists without leaving Docs.

Note: If you don’t see the Calendar, Keep, and Tasks icons on the right, they might not be enabled for your organization. Talk to your G Suite admin.

In this section, you learn how to:


Open your Google Calendar and events

  • Open Calendar: On the right, click Calendar  .

    Your daily events and a mini monthly calendar appear.

  • See event details: Click an event to open it and see details.
  • Reply to an event: Open an event. At the bottom, next to Going?, click a reply.

To do more with Calendar, see Get started with Calendar.


Open notes in Google Keep

  • Open Keep: On the right, click Keep   .
  • Add a note or list: Click + Take a note or New list format_list_bulleted.
  • Edit a note: Click a note and enter a message. Click Done.

To do more with Keep, see Get started with Keep.


Open your to-do lists in Google Tasks

  • Open Tasks: On the right, click Tasks   .

    The current list appears at the top, with any tasks below it.

  • Add a new list: Click the Down arrow arrow_drop_down > Create a new list.
  • Change lists: Click the Down arrow arrow_drop_down and select a list.
  • Add a new task: Click + Add a task. To add a new task from an email, drag the email into a task list.
  • Edit or delete a task: Point to a task and click Edit  . From the Edit window, click Delete delete_outline to delete a task.

To do more with Tasks, see Keep track of tasks.

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.