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Tips to edit and collaborate on files

Google Workspace productivity guide

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Tips for authoring & editing

Track file updates & comments

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Tips for authoring & editing

Use shortcuts to create new files

Constantly creating new files to make edits using Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms? Skip the multiple clicks and use a shortcut URL instead.

Learn how

Open a new Google file in your browser

In your browser, enter one of these URLs:

  • docs.new
  • sheets.new
  • slides.new
  • forms.new

A blank file opens and you can start adding your content.

 

 

Add text with your voice

Chrome Browser only, microphones required

You can type and edit by speaking in Google Docs or in Google Slides speaker notes. Anything you say turns into text.

  • On the go? Speak your notes, edits, and feedback to add them to documents.
  • Use voice commands to change font styles, add tables, insert links, and more.
Learn how

Start voice typing in a document

  1. Check that your microphone works.
  2. Open a document in Google Docs with a Chrome browser.
  3. Click Tools and then Voice typing. A microphone box appears.
  4. When you're ready to speak, click the microphone.
  5. Speak clearly, at a normal volume and pace (see below for more information on using punctuation).
  6. When you're done, click the microphone again.

Start voice typing in Slides speaker notes

  1. Check that your microphone works.
  2. Open a presentation in Google Slides with a Chrome browser.
  3. Click Tools and then Voice type speaker notes. The speaker notes open, and a microphone box appears.
  4. When you're ready to speak, click the microphone.
  5. Speak clearly, at a normal volume and pace (see below for more information on using punctuation).
  6. When you're done, click the microphone again.

Learn more at the Google Docs Editors Help Center

 

 

Share “Make a copy” links to your files

Want to let people make copies of your Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Forms files with a single click? Just make a simple change in the link you share.

  • Create templates for files, such as Docs proposals, Sheets project plans, Slides pitch decks, and more. Your teammates can quickly copy them to keep your organization’s branding consistent.
  • Allow colleagues to create personal copies of your files—such as presentations, reports, or designs they like—so they can adjust it for their own purposes.
Learn how

Invite people to make a copy of a file in Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Forms

  1. On your computer, open a Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Forms home screen.
  2. Open the file you want to make a copy of.
  3. In the menu, click File and then Make a copy.
  4. Type a name and choose where to save it.
    • If you want to copy comments from a document, spreadsheet, or presentation, click Copy comments and suggestions. You can choose to include resolved comments and suggestions in your new copy.
  5. Click Ok.

 

 

Email your collaborators

Not available if you use Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, & Slides

Email collaborators right from a Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides file. If you’re working on a shared drive file, you can email all members of the shared drive at once.

  • Ask questions about a file.
  • Follow up on a conversation that’s too long for comments.
  • Add a copy of a file directly to an email.
Learn how
  1. In Docs, Sheets, or Slides, open the file.
  2. Click Fileand thenEmailand thenEmail collaborators.
  3. (Optional, shared drive files only) To email all members of the shared drive, check the Members box.
  4. (Optional) Change the email recipients or add a subject.
  5. Add a message.
  6. (Optional) To send a copy of the email to yourself, check the Send yourself a copy box.
  7. Click Send.

 

 

Insert smart chips & building blocks

Insert smart chips in your Google Doc to include information about:
  • Other users with Gmail or Workspace email addresses
  • Other Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides files
  • Dates or Google Calendar events
  • Places and map directions

Where there’s a smart chip in your document, you and other users can hover or click on a chip to get more information.

You can also insert placeholder chips, time trackers, and dropdowns, and use building blocks to track projects, files, and more.

Transforming collaboration in Google Workspace with smart canvas
Learn how

Add smart chips for people, files, dates & events

  1. On your computer, open a document in Google Docs.
  2. Type "@" anywhere in your document or click the "@" button on a blank line.
  3. To narrow your suggestions, select from the list of suggestions or enter letters, numbers, or symbols.
    • Tip: To add a people smart chip, start typing the name or email address of the person you want, or type @me to add yourself.
    • Tip: To add a file smart chip, enter the file name or related keywords.
  4. To add a smart chip that a collaborator can fill in, select "Placeholder chip." Then select the type of information you want your collaborator to add when they fill in the smart chip.
  5. Hover over the chip to view related information.
Important: When you mention another user in a smart chip, they don't automatically get access to your document. To grant access to another user, you must share your document.

With Google Docs, you can add and customize dropdown chips that display multiple options. You can also use building blocks to insert table templates that help you track projects, files, and more.

Learn more at the Google Docs Help Center

Track file updates & comments

See who changed what

Not available if you use Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, & Slides

If you’re collaborating with several people on a single file, it can be difficult to pinpoint who made certain changes and when. Keep track of changes in shared files by identifying changes and who made them. 

Learn how

See who's viewed your file or who you've shared it with

Availability of this feature depends on your edition of Google Workspace and permissions set up by your administrator. Who is my administrator?

  1. In Docs, Sheets, or Slides, open the file.

    Note: You will need to have edit access for the file to see the Activity dashboard data.

  2. Click Toolsand thenActivity dashboard.
  3. You can see information about the activity on your file, including:
    • Shared with tab: Shows people you’ve shared the file with. You can also email collaborators.
    • All viewers (organization) tab: Shows people in your organization who have viewed the file.
    • Viewer trend tab: Shows a chart of viewers over time.
  4. (Optional) If you don’t want your view history to appear in Activity dashboard, click Privacy Settings and choose an option:
    • Turn off view history for all files: Under Account setting, turn off Show my view history for all Docs, Sheets and Slides files.
    • Turn off view history for one file: Under Document setting, turn off Show my view history for this document.
  5. Click Save.

See who commented, edited, moved, or shared a file

You can see activity on files in My Drive or in a shared drive.

  1. On your computer, go to drive.google.com.
  2. On the left click My Drive.
  3. In the upper right, click Info Info.
  4. To access recent changes, click Activity.
  5. To access the activity of a specific file or folder, click the file or folder.
  6. To access recent changes, scroll down on the right side.

 

 

Check or revert to earlier versions

In the past, you might have kept multiple drafts of your files in case you needed to refer or switch to earlier versions. Google Drive keeps all your drafts in one file. You can easily view or restore earlier versions.

  • View, delete, download, or revert to previous versions any time
  • Access any version of your file anytime, from any device
  • Refer back to existing comments in a previous version
  • Keep your folders clean—there’s no need to keep multiple drafts of your files anymore
Learn how

View or revert to earlier versions of Docs, Sheets, and Slides files

Note: You need Owner or Editor access to see the version history.

  1. In Drive, open your file.
  2. Click Fileand thenVersion historyand thenSee version history.
  3. Click a timestamp to see a previous version of the file. Below the timestamp, you’ll see:
    • Names of people who edited the document.
    • A color next to each person’s name. The edits they made appear in that color.
  4. (Optional) To revert to this version, click Restore this version.

Upload a new version of a file to Drive

  1. On your computer, go to drive.google.com.
  2. Click the file you want to replace.
  3. At the top right, click More More and then Manage versions and then Upload new version.

Learn more at the Google Drive Help Center

 

 

Get notifications of file activity in Chat or Gmail

In Google Chat and Gmail, you can use apps to connect with services. To get notifications in Chat about activity in your Drive, use the Google Drive app.

Learn how

Turn on Drive notifications in Chat or Gmail

Normally, app notifications are turned on. If you previously turned them off:

  1. On your computer,  open Google Chat or Gmail.
  2. Send any direct message (such as "hello") to the Google Drive app.
  3. In the response, click Turn On Notifications.

After you turn on notifications, you get direct messages about Drive events, such as:

  • A new file or folder has been shared with you
  • A new comment or action item mentions you or is assigned to you
  • Someone has requested access to a file you own
  • You're close to running out of storage

Note: If you want to delete an app message, in the conversation, point to the message and click Delete .

Turn off Drive notifications in Chat or Gmail

  1. Send any direct message (such as "hello") to the Google Drive app.
  2. In the response, click or tap Turn Off Notifications.

To turn notifications back on, send another direct message to the Google Drive app.

 

 

Get notified about spreadsheet changes

If you need to know immediately when someone changes your spreadsheet, set up an email notification.

You’ll know exactly what’s changed and who to ask for details.

Learn how

Set up email notifications

  1.  On your computer, open a spreadsheet in Google Sheets.
  2. At the top, click Tools and then Notification settings and then Edit notifications.
  3. In the window that appears, select "when" you want to receive notifications. Notify you when:
    • Any changes are made: Set notifications when someone makes a change to a spreadsheet.
    • A user submits a form: Set notifications when someone fills out a form.
  4. In the window that appears, select "how often" you want to receive notifications. Notify you with:
    • Email - daily digest: Send a daily summary of all changes.
    • Email - right away: Send an email for every change.
  5. Click Save.

Learn more at the Google Docs Editors Help Center

 

 

Find and act on comments

Use the Activity tab in Drive to find and act on unresolved comments that are assigned to you.

Learn how
  1. On your computer, go to drive.google.com.
  2. On the left, click Activity.
  3. Next a comment, click Open comment

Learn more at the Google Docs Editors Help Center

 

 

Show resolved comments (non-Google files)

With Google Drive, you can show or hide any resolved comments on Microsoft Office and Adobe PDF files, images, and other files, directly in Drive preview. 

Learn how

Show or hide resolved comments (non-Google files)

Note: To show or hide resolved comments, there must be at least one active comment and one resolved or unanchored comment.

  1. Open Drive and sign in with your username and password.
  2. Double-click a Microsoft Office, PDF, image, or other non-Google file. 
  3. In the preview window, at the top right, click Moreand then Show comments column.
  4. (Optional) To hide the comments again, click Moreand then Hide comments column.

Learn more at the Google Drive Help Center


Google, Google Workspace, and related marks and logos are trademarks of Google LLC. All other company and product names are trademarks of the companies with which they are associated.

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