In this session participants will learn the basic skills needed to create, edit and share a Google Document.
  • Have you ever assigned a class writing project you wanted students to complete in groups?
  • Do your students ever have problems working with classmates that do not live near them or cannot meet at a time convenient for everyone?
  • Have you ever wanted to grade papers without having to carry them from place to place?

Google Docs is the answer! Google Documents allow students to work in groups sharing a single document while providing a revision history of all additions and deletions to the work. Students can work all at once or at separate times to complete the work. Everything is stored online making materials accessible, for teacher and student, from any computer with Internet connection.


  1. Create- a new document
  2. Learn- how to use the basic editing tools
  3. Share- share the document to collaborate with others
  4. Send- use the sharing feature to email your final work

Skills Required

  1. Have a current GAFE account at Rockford Lutheran.
  2. Knowledge of basic software highlighting and copying commands.
  3. A willingness to learn new tools!
  4. This unit will require approximately one hour to complete.

Prior to starting this module please answer a few questions about your previous experience with GAFE. Click here to locate the questionnaire.

Content and Guided Practice

Step One: Sign into your account

  1. Sign in to your GAFE account at RLS. The sign-in page is located at
  2. Remember your sign-in name is your first initial and last name.
  3. The following screen should appear (with your account name)

Keep this tutorial open in one tab on your browser and your GAFE account open in another tab so you can work back and forth.

Step Two: Creating a Document

(The document you create will be used to assess your skills. Make sure and keep each completed step of the process as you practice during this tutorial session.)
  1. Click on the "Docs" service listed on the right side of the screen.
  2. Click on the CREATE button in the upper left corner of the Documents Page.
  3. A pull-down menu will appear when the CREATE button is clicked that provides several options. Choose the "Document" option from this pull-down list.

Step Three: Learn layout of the toolbar and document name-

  1. The toolbar is located at the top of the screen. The function of each of the tools in the bar will be revealed if the pointer (mouse) is held over the icon. A small window should appear that reveals the function of each. This will be very useful as you learn the icons. Go to your new document and hover over each icon to get a feel for the capabilities of the software.
  2. Name your document. All docs that are created start with the name "Untitled". It is important to remember to rename them before adding content. In the upper left of the document there is a box currently labelled "Untitled document". Clicking on this box opens a pop-up window requesting you rename the document. Rename the document "Doc Tutorial - (your name)". For instance "Doc Tutorial - Mrs. Jones". Rename your document now.
  3. Note that adding a title to the document does not add a title on the page. Retype the title used to name the document on the blank page. Your document should now appear similar to this:


Step Four: Learn five basic tools- fonts, spacing, tables, links, sharing

  1. Fonts- Google docs currently has eighteen fonts to choose from. Each of these fonts can be displayed in several different sizes and styles.
    • Using the document you have created, leaving two blanks lines under the title, type the school name and address.
    • Highlight the address and change the font type, using the pull-down in the toolbar currently labelled "Arial", to "Syncopate".
    • The default font size is 11pt. On the next line re-type the address, highlight, and change the font size to 24 using the icon on the toolbar labelled "11".
    • The default text style is normal text. Type the address one more time, on the line below the font 24 example. Highlight the text and change the style, using the tool "Normal text", to "Heading 2".
    • By following the steps above your document should look like this now:

  1. Spacing- Spacing can be adjusted using several commands including indents, alignment and line spacing.
    • Type the following passage into your document (below the address work already completed): "Responsible digital behavior makes every user a role model for students. Students watch how others use a technology and assume if others can use it in that manner so can they. Teachers must be cautious to use technology responsibly."
    • Highlight the passage and make three copies to avoid re-typing. Number the passages 1, 2 and 3.
    • Indents- Indentations in the passage can be made using the "tab" key on the computer keyboard. The indent command in Google Docs creates some interesting affects if used several times in succession. Place the cursor to the left of the first line in passage 1. Pressing the tab once results in a 1/2 inch indent. Try pressing the tab several more times in succession. This changes the centering, alignment and can even create a column. When you are done experimenting leave the indent at one press of the tab (1/2 inch).
    • Alignment- highlight passage 2 and test the four alignment icons found at the right end of the toolbar. Click between the options of left, center, right and justify. When you have viewed the four possibilities leave this passage in right alignment.
    • Line spacing- this is the last icon on the right of the toolbar (or in some browsers in moves to the second row left). The default spacing in Google Docs is 1.15. Other spacing options include 1, 1.5 and 2.0. Highlight passage 3 and change the spacing to 2.0.
    • By following the steps above additions to your document should look like this:


  1. Tables- Tables are easy to create in Google Docs and allow for organized storage of material or creation of simple forms.
    • Place the cursor at the location on the page where the table is to be located. For our example we will place it below the alignment passages.
    • The table command is found just above the toolbar. Using this pull-down click "Insert table". Hold and the mouse button down and drag over the number of boxes required for the table. At the bottom of the pull-down menu a number will be displayed indicated the size of table. Add a 4 x 3 table to the document.
    • Once the table is in place the cells can be modified and the size of the table may be changed.
    • Place the cursor in the top left box of the table. Click on the table command and options will be in the pull-down menu to insert or delete rows and columns - or to remove the entire table! Add one row and one column. The table should now be 5 x 4.
    • Rows (going across) can be adjusted in height by spacing. Press the enter key on the keyboard in the top row to make it deeper.
    • The columns can be adjusted in width by moving the cursor over the dividing lines between cells. This will create a double-arrow icon. Hold down the double arrow icon with the mouse button and change the width. Move the line so that column one is twice the size of column two. Notice this shrinks column two.
    • Text can be typed into any of the cells as needed. Leaving the upper right cell blank, number the cells in the top row and left column.
  1. Links- Links, also called hyperlinks, allow text to be linked to an online resource.
    • Open a new tab in the browser.
    • Type in the following URL: into the bar at the top of the browser and search.
    • The site at this URL, created by Google, provides an overview tour of what Google Docs can do. Let's embed this link into the document for future use.
    • Two lines below the table type the words "Google Tour". Highlight these two words and move up to the link icon in the toolbar (it appears as a link of chain, right of center on the toolbar). Click the link.
    • A box will pop-up asking if the link is attached to a web address, email or bookmark. This example is a web address. Copy the URL for the Google Tour page and paste it in the "URL for the link" bar in the pop-up. Click okay.
    • The words Google Tour will now be blue in color indicating they are linked. When these words are clicked on the URL appears which can be clicked navigate to (or changed/removed).

  2. Sharing- Sharing is one of the most valuable features of Google Docs. In GAFE accounts the administrator can set the sharing to be public or private. For our school sharing is private which means that documents created in school accounts can only be shared with other members of our account. Member of the school account include all students, teachers and staff.
    • All accounts at RLS end in in the GAFE account. Student accounts include the full first name (Elizabeth not Liz), the last initial, and year of graduation. An example for a student graduating in 2015 would be Teacher and staff accounts include the first initial and last name.
    • To share a document click the large blue SHARE button found in the upper right corner of the page. This will bring up a pop-up box that requests the account of the person or person that will share the document. The GAFE addresses of users for the document would be typed in the large box at the bottom of the page.
    • There are three options when sharing- "can edit", "can comment" or "can view". When names are added to the document the owner (initial creator) of the document determines the level of sharing they would like. For most group projects the owner must allows all workers to edit.
    • Add the following address to the document you have created in this tutorial: Click the "share and save" green button at the bottom of the window. Once the address has been added indicate on the privileges pull-down (right of the user address) that this user "can comment". Click done and you have now submitted your work. Any changes made to the work will be made on the shared document as well.
    • Comments on the shared document will be visible to both users. Only the owner can edit the document now unless editing privileges are change by the owner of the document.

Feedback and Assessment

  1. The document you have shared will be assessed to check that all tools were correctly used.
  2. The assessment will be returned to you with comments to guide and improve your skills as well as applaud your work!


You have now:
  1. Created a new document
  2. Learned how to use the basic editing tools
  3. Shared the document to collaborate with others
  4. Used the sharing feature to email your final work


Helpful Sites for additional information:
  1. Google Docs Tour- for possibilities
  2. Google Apps Education Training Center- tutorials that will make you a GAFE ninja!

Next training session: Creating a Google Presentation!