Google docs: a super-site

A drop-down menu of Google docs options. Photo courtesy of Juliana Rube

A drop-down menu of Google docs options. Photo courtesy of Juliana Rube

Google docs is a simple software suite provided by Google. You can use it just like Microsoft Office: writing docs, making spreadsheets, creating presentations, and drawings. Google, in creating the Docs program, has gone for simplicity over beauty of the program — and that shows.

While the word processor lacked some very basic features I like to use with MS Word– the ability to automatically indent the first line of a paragraph, a strong presentation software — I do like the idea of writing on a simple word processor. I’ve often felt like using Microsoft Word for the documents I write is like using a winter jacket in the midst of fall– just too much.

The only thing I don’t like about Docs is that it’s really slow on certain browsers. While using Internet Explorer and Firefox, Docs constantly froze up, taking several moments to start working. Docs worked better on Opera and Chrome, though it still freezes up– especially if you have more than one Docs Tab open.  Plus, if you’d like to add a graphic to your document, it slows the site down.

The spreadsheet supports common functions like totaling up a column or adding two cells together. You can even create a function by typing in the name of the function and highlighting the cells you want it to cover, similar to other spreadsheets. It also supports multiple sheets, and you can import your existing Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

The presentation software might be where it does not match up to the Microsoft programs. Currently, the presentation is limited to text and pictures, and the lack of integration with the word processor and the spreadsheet, makes it less than ideal, except for very simple presentations.

Despite its issues, Google Docs is worth taking a look at if you need a word processor or spreadsheet to perform simple tasks. I used Google Docs to write up this very news article. And I absolutely love it. Unlike Word, it saves work on The Cloud; a big server where everyone saves their docs and you can reach it from any computer. I don’t have to continuously email myself the doc I’m using or carry the USB drive, and my editor can easily access it when shes ready to edit it. Plus, my editor and I can work on the Doc at the same time.

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