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Tip of the Week: Using Google Drive to Collaborate

Tip of the Week: Using Google Drive to Collaborate

At this point, the term “collaboration” has fully transitioned from an intriguing operational ideal, to an overhyped buzzword, to a legitimately essential consideration for any modern business to embrace. As such, it makes sense that there are so many collaboration-geared applications available today, with so many options to pursue this collaboration baked into each.

Let’s consider the many, many collaborative capabilities that are available in Google Drive—a tool that is used by many businesses today.

Sharing a Document

Let’s begin with the most basic of collaborative processes: sharing a file and the capability to edit it with others. Google Drive offers users a few means of doing so:

  • From the My Drive page, just click one of your various documents to highlight it and click on the Share icon that appears in the toolbar at the top-right of the page.
  • Alternatively, right-clicking the document you want to share and picking Share from the menu that appears will provide you with the option of doing so.
  • Google Drive’s various assorted applications, like Docs, Slides, and Sheets, each feature a prominent Share button at the top of the page.

All of these options will lead to the same window appearing: The Share with people and groups panel. Let’s examine this panel to see what options it gives us.

The “Share with people and groups” Panel

From this panel, you can customize with whom and how access to your document can be shared. Need to share it with a certain department, or amongst a specific group of coworkers? The sharing panel makes it simple to do so by just typing in the appropriate names and email addresses, adding in a brief message, and specifying how much access you want to share:

  • Editor­—As the name would suggest, someone with editor-level access privileges can make whatever changes to a document that they see fit, as well as extend permissions to others to share the document in question.
  • Commenter—A commenter has some much more limited capabilities. While they are not able to directly change the content of a given document or share it out, they can leave their feedback and suggestions for an editor to review and approve or deny.
  • Viewer—Finally, a viewer can read through a document, but can leave no feedback or send it along to others.

You also have the ability to tweak these settings further, rescinding or inflating some of your invited collaborators’ capabilities as needs will dictate. The document owner can also edit or even remove these permissions outright at any time. With the Share pane open, simply click the button where a user’s access is displayed and select the appropriate option. Their ability to access the document can even be given an expiration date in this way—former viewers and commenters losing access with editors turned into commenters after a set number of days (of your choosing) have passed.

Using the Share pane, you can also open up your document from feedback to anyone that has the link to it. Under the Get Link area, simply select the option that states that anyone with the link can comment or edit, whichever is appropriate. When you no longer want your document to be shapeable by anyone who gets their hands on the right link, you can easily rescind this access as well.

Identifying Shared Documents

Google Drive also makes it easy for you to identify which of your documents have been shared, by virtue of the small icon depicting two silhouettes next to the file name (although this won’t appear in Grid view).

Hopefully, this brief taste of the collaborative capabilities that Google Drive can offer helps to illustrate the value that it may be able to bring your business. Interested in finding out how else your team can use technology to improve their collaboration? Give us a call at (713) 979-2090 to talk to one of our team members about your options.

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