Monday, February 05, 2007

A New Way to Process Words

If you haven't figured it out by now, I love stuff that's FREE. Imagine my joy when I discovered Google Docs. It's a free basic word processor. There's no software to install - it runs right inside your web browser. You can import a variety of word processing documents from Word (.doc), Star Office, Open Office (.odt), and Rich Text files (.rtf). While you can't import pictures or add clip art, you do have the advantage of being able to access, edit, and print from any computer with Internet access. Just log in with your Google username and password. (I was able to use the same one I use for Blogger.)
But wait there's more!

What makes Google Docs so powerful is the fact that you can Add Collaborators to your documents. By "inviting" others to edit your documents, you can have several people working together on the same document at the same time. You see changes as they happen. What a powerful tool for learning! When a document is finished it can be posted directly from Google Docs to your blog. If you make a document "public" users can subscribe to an RSS feed so they can be updated when any changes are made.

While a great tool like this doesn't convince me to put good old Microsoft Word in mothballs just yet, it sure does make me look at word processing in a whole new way. Google Docs is a great Web 2.0 tool.

Oh, wait! Did I forget to mention you can also do spreadsheets too? It imports Excel (.xls), Open Office (.ods), and Comma Separated (.csv) files.

For more info about Google Docs, take the tour.


Dennis Grice said...

CORRECTION: I mentioned in this article that you can't add pictures or clip art. That's not entirely true. You CAN copy and paste pictures from the Internet. (Remember to cite your sources.)

Dennis Grice said...

CORRECTION OF THE CORRECTION: You can upload your own images by clicking on the INSERT tab and selecting Image. Browse for the file you want to upload to your document.

When you finish with your document, you can save it on your computer as a Word Document. Go to the FILE button next to the toolbar (NOT the File menu on your browser) and select SAVE AS WORD.

John said...

Dennis, thank you for the great information and the lead on this useful tool!