A Guide to Google Docs and Slides

Table of Contents

If you wish to view this guide in a different format , you can download it as a Word DocumentPDF Document or view online as a Google Document

Creating a gmail account

1 Go to

2 Click ‘Create account’.


2 If you want to create an account with a ‘’ address, follow the steps as you would normally. If you’d really rather not gain a new email address, click ‘use my current email address instead’ and type it in the box that appears.

3 When you’ve finished adding your details, click ‘Next’.

4 Scroll through the terms and conditions to the bottom. Click the two boxes to say ‘I Agree’, then click create account.

5 If you’re using a non-gmail account, follow the instructions to verify your email address. Click ‘Verify now’, and then click ‘Yes’ in the pop-up box that appears.

Using Google Docs

How to create a Google Doc

On the home page, click on the 9 squares to see your Apps, and click on Drive.

In your Google Drive, click ‘New’

And choose Google Docs.

Alternatively, open the Google Docs App, then click on the + for a new blank document.

How to save documents

Google Drive automatically saves your work for you every few seconds. To see if your work has been saved, click on the little cloud icon at the top of the screen. It should say ‘All changes saved in Drive’. This means you can close the document and not lose any of your changes.

You can also see when the last edits were made.

How to name documents

When you create a new file, it will say ‘Untitled …’ in the top-left corner. Click on this area to give it a name.

Your document name will now appear in the top-left corner. If you want to change the name later, click on the name or click File > Rename.

Any new file you create is automatically saved and added to your Drive.

Click on the icon in the upper right corner to view documents in Drive as a list or a grid:

How to add comments to a document

1 Select the text you want to comment on (1) and click the comment icon that will appear on the right (2).

Or, click the comment box at the top of the page.

2 Type your comment and click ‘Comment’.

3 You can reply to other people’s comments on your own work or that of others by clicking ‘Reply…’ at the foot of the comment, …

… writing your reply and clicking ‘Reply’

How to share documents

One of the most useful features of Google Drive is the ability to share your documents with other people to either work collaboratively or just let them see what you’re working on. In Docs, Sheets and Slides, an easy way to do this is by using the ‘Share’ button in the top-right of the document.

The dialogue box below will open. If you want to share it with specific people, write their names or email addresses in the box.

If they are at the University of Sheffield, suggestions for their email address will automatically appear.

Use the box below the names to send addressees an email message with the document.

Sharing is automatically set so that people you share it with can edit the document. This means they can make any changes they want to. If you want to restrict what changes they make, click ‘Editor’. ‘Commenter’ allows the person you share it with to comment, but not to change the text. ‘Viewer’ means they can only view the document and can’t annotate it in any way.

When you have chosen who you want to share the file with and what level of access you wish to grant them, click ‘Send’.

How to share documents via a link

An alternative way to share documents is via a weblink. To get this, click ‘Share’ and choose Copy link’. The default is only people you’ve added above can open the document.

You can change the restrictions for the weblink by clicking on ‘change link to University of Sheffield’. This will open further options of who can open the link: Restricted, University of Sheffield, or Anyone with the link. Again, you can change the options to allow people to view, comment, or edit the document.

Click Done to save these settings.

The current level of access and editing rights are always shown below the link.

You can change the level of access and type of sharing of a document at any time by clicking ‘Share’ in the upper right of the document. Then you can see who currently has access, and you can adjust the access of individual people.

Use the arrows next to each name to adjust. Click the Remove to remove sharing rights from an individual. Click ‘Done’ when you’re finished.

How to see changes people have made to a shared document

1 Click ‘File’ (1) and ‘version history’ (2) and ‘see version history’ (3)

2 A panel will appear on the left with a list of periods in which the document has been edited and the name of the editors. Use the arrow next to the date/time to move through the revisions made in the editing session highlighted.The top right will say how many total edits have been made to the document.

3 The changes made in the revision highlighted on the right will also be highlighted in the text in the same colour. Multiple editors leads to multi-coloured highlighting.

4 If, at any time, you want to change your document back to an earlier version, click ‘Restore this revision’ in the upper left corner of the page. NB: Don’t panic if you do this by accident. Just click at the top of the page again to see the version history, the list of previous versions, and select/restore the previous version.

How to make editable copies of view-only documents

If you receive a document that is view-only, don’t worry, you can make an editable copy of it. To do this:

1 Click ‘File’ and ‘Make a copy’

2 Change the name of the file in the highlighted area (or keep it as ‘Copy of…’) and click ‘OK’.

This can be a very useful thing to do if you want students to work from a template (though this does rely on them all having a Google account). Click here to see an example of a template presentation on students’ home towns. Click here to see an anonymised student response.

How to download Google files as other file types.

You can create files in Google and then download the file as another file type, e.g. MS Word, which can then be attached to emails, etc.

Click File (1), then Download (2), then select the file type (3).

Using Google Slides

How to create a presentation

1 Go to your Google Drive

2 Click New and Google Slides.

Your screen will look like this. To give your presentation a name, click on ‘Untitled Presentation’

How to change the overall design of slides

Google Slides has various design templates to choose from. They will show automatically when you first open the slide show. To choose one, simply click on the template you wish to use. To close this side panel, click on the X in the top-right.

If you need to change the theme, go to the top of the page and click ‘Slide’, then click ‘Change theme’ at any time.

How to add new slides

There are several ways to add new slides. You can:

1 Click on the + symbol in the top left.

2 Click on the arrow next to the + symbol and choose the layout of slide they want


3 Move your mouse to the left-hand panel and right click. Choosing New slide (1) will insert a new slide after the slide highlighted in orange. Choosing Duplicate slide (2) will create and insert a copy of the slide highlighted in orange.

How to change the layout of slides

If you want to change the layout of an existing slide, e.g. to have two columns, either right click on the slide you want to change and click ‘Apply layout’ and select the layout from the menu.


Go to the top of the page and click ‘Slide’ and choose from the menu that appears; this will change the layout of the slide that is selected/highlighted in orange.

How to add text boxes

1 Click on the symbol for a text box or click Insert and choose ‘Text box’ from the menu.

2 Hold down the left button of your mouse and drag the small blue boxes (shown circled in red below) to determine the size of your box.

3 The default setting is for a transparent background. To give your box a background, click on the edge of the box, then click on the paint pot symbol that will appear in the toolbar and choose your colour. The end result will look as shown.

How to add animations

1 Click ‘Insert’ and ‘Animation’.

2 A panel will appear on the right. The default slide transition is none, and the animation for objects on the slide is Fade-in. Click on the arrows and choose from the drop-down menu to change this.

3 Use the other commands on the panel to finetune the speed etc.

How to insert images

There are two easy ways to find and insert images into presentations.

The first method is:

1 Click on the image symbol in the toolbar.

2 Click ‘Search the web’. Type a search term in the box (Here the example word was ‘Sheffield’, and select a picture below. The selected picture will have a blue tick box. Click Insert. The image that is then inserted into the slide can be resized, repositioned etc as desired. Alternatively, use ‘Upload’ or ‘Google Drive’, or Google Photos or a URL or your camera, to insert your own images.

The second method is:

1 Click Tools and select ‘Explore’. This opens a panel on the right of the screen.

2 Type your search term in the box. Google will make suggestions for how to complete the search. When you have the correct option, press enter.

3 Click ‘Images’.To preview an image, just click on it and it will appear in a full screen version. If you like the image, click ‘Insert’ or the + symbol to add it to your Slides. If you don’t like it, click on the arrow or the shaded part of the screen to return to your search.

If you’re confident you like an image and don’t need to preview it, just click on the + to insert it.

How to add video

You can embed videos into your presentation, from YouTube or from your Drive.

1 Click ‘Insert’ and choose ‘Video’.

2 Type what you’re looking for in the Youtube search box and click the magnifying glass. Choose a video from the list. The video will be highlighted blue. Click ‘Select’

If you are uploading an unlisted video (one that isn’t public), click on ‘URL’ (1) and copy and paste the link to your video (2). Then click Select.


You can resize your video (i.e. make it bigger or smaller) by clicking and dragging any of the blue squares in the corners.

If you want to select a video from Google Drive, you’ll see the options to choose a video from your Drive, Shared drives, or videos shared with you.

How to add comments

To add a comment to a presentation:

1 Click on the frame or object you want to comment on (a blue frame will appear around it) and either click on the comment symbol in the toolbar or click ‘Insert’ and choose ‘Comment’.

2 Type your comment and click ‘Comment’. If you don’t click ‘Comment’, your comment will not be saved.

To edit or delete your comment at any time, hold your mouse over the comment, click on the three dots and select what you want to do.