Google Docs can be used to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings and forms. The software is free and accessed online using your computer web browser or your iPad. There are limited editing functions available for documents and spreadsheets opened on iPad. There is no app to install, just use the iPad Safari web browser. You can also upload files from your computer to Google Docs for online storage.
If you want to try Google Docs, you will need a Google Account. If you don't have one, you can create a free account on the entry page for Google Docs:
1. The image below is the entry page for Google Docs that will load if you use a computer. If you don't have an account, use the Create an account now link. Otherwise, log in to Google Docs with your Google email address and password.
2. If you are using a computer, your Google Docs should be similar to the image below after you log in. Use the Create new button to create a new document, etc. You can also create folders to organize your files. Use the Upload button to upload files from your computer for storage online. In the example illustrated below, there are three files stored in the Spanish folder. Two are Google Docs format, which can be edited online in the web browser. The file Sp101syll.doc is a MS Word format file and can be viewed online but can't be edited online. This file was uploaded from a computer.
3. You have two options when uploading files to Google Docs, represented by the check boxes in the image below. For example, if you are uploading a MS Word document, you have the option to convert it to the Google Docs format. By converting the document, you will then be able to edit it online. The other option is to convert PDF or image files to Google Docs format. In this case, if the text in the file is actually an image, OCR (optical character recognition) will be applied to convert to true text.
Editing a Google document with your computer
The image below is the toolbar for a Google document. The tools and menus provide many options for creating a document with a specific font, text formatting, images, tables, etc. Documents created using Google Documents can be downloaded in various formats. With a document open, select Download as in the File menu. The available download formats are: ODT (OpenDocument Text), PDF, RTF (Rich Text format), Word (MS), Text (simple text file) and HTML (zipped) (a web page archive).
Using Google Docs on the iPad
Editing of a Google Docs format document on the iPad is restricted to text entry and deletion. All other formatting must be done using a computer. Here are the directions for editing text on the iPad.
1. Open Safari and enter this address: http://docs.google.com
2. Enter your Google account email and password.
3. The image below is an example of Google Docs on the iPad. Touch a file to open.
4. If the file is in Google Docs format, you may edit it on the iPad by touching the Edit button.
5. Edit the text using the onscreen keyboard. When finished, touch the Refresh button (sometimes this button is labeled Save). When you are finished editing the document, touch the Back button (labeled here with red arrow).
Use this link for more information on Google Docs.