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Getting started with Google Workspace

Learn how getting started with Google Workspace can empower you to begin utilizing these resources in your everyday life.

Back to Smithville Smart: Digital Fluency Series

With multiple applications at your fingertips, getting started with Google Workspace may seem overwhelming. This how-to guide explains how to start using each of these applications and includes helpful tips for formatting documents, collaborating on projects with others, creating an email, and more.

Creating a Google Doc

Getting started with Google Workspace begins with one of its more popular applications—Google Docs. When you open Google Docs, you will be taken to the dashboard. Click on the rainbow “+” button to start a new document or choose from the template gallery on the left. This will open a new Google Docs document. You can start typing, formatting, and editing your document from here.

Helpful tips:
  • Google Docs is cloud-based, so your work will automatically save.
  • You can name your document by clicking on the “Untitled document” in the upper-left corner of the screen. Type in a name and press “Enter” on your keyboard.
  • View the version history by clicking on the clock icon in the right-hand corner.
  • View all conversations by clicking the chat box with three lines in it.
  • Click the video camera icon to join a call or begin presenting in a call.
  • Share a document with others by clicking on the “Share” button in the right-hand corner.
  • The toolbar located above your document will help you format your text. Here are a few basics:
    • The “B” icon lets you bold your text.
    • The “I” icon lets you italicize your text.
    • The “U” icon lets you underline your text.
    • The “A” icon with the line under it lets you change the color of your text.
    • The pencil icon lets you highlight your text.
      • To change the color or highlight text that has been already typed, position your mouse at the end of the text you want to change. Then, click your mouse and drag it over the text. Once you do this, click the icon with the action you want to take.

Creating an email with Gmail

Another way to become more familiar with Google Workspace is getting started with Gmail. When you open Gmail, you will see a “Compose” button on the left side. In the “To” field, enter the recipient’s email address. To email multiple recipients, separate the emails with commas. Then, fill in the subject by highlighting what your email entails. To start writing your email, click in the blank space below the “Subject” line. Click the “Send” button in the lower left corner.

The toolbar located at the bottom of the compose window has helpful tools. Here are a few basics:

  • Files: To attach a file, click the paper clip icon in the toolbar. You can select files from Google Drive or your computer.
  • Format: Use the formatting options by clicking on the icon that looks like the letter “A” in the toolbar. A menu will pop up with tools to bold, italicize, or underline your text, to name a few. 
  • CC and BCC: Include additional recipients by adding their email in the CC or BCC sections. CC notifies all recipients; BCC keeps the addresses hidden.

Creating a Google Calendar Event

After selecting Google Calendar in Google Workspace, you can get started with your new event by clicking the “+ Create” button. You can also choose a time slot on your calendar to create an event for that specific time. From there, you can add event details such as event name, date, time, time zone, location, and a description. You can even set up notifications to receive reminders about your event. Once you’ve added all the details for your event, click the “Save” button.

Creating a Google Slides Presentation

Once you log in to Google Slides, you will be brought to a dashboard. This is where your presentations will be saved to. To get started with a presentation, click the rainbow “+” icon. You can also select from a template that fits your project’s needs by clicking “Template gallery.”

After clicking the “+” button, you will be able to start creating your presentation. Since Slides is a Google App, the functions are similar. In the upper left-hand corner, you can name the presentation where it says, “Untitled presentation.” When adding text to a slide, you can use the same tools that you saw in Docs to format it.

Helpful tips:
  • You can name your slideshow by clicking on the “Untitled presentation” in the upper-left corner of the screen. Type in a name and press “Enter” on your keyboard.
  • View the version history by clicking on the clock icon in the right-hand corner.
  • View all conversations by clicking the chat box with three lines in it.
  • Click the video camera icon to join a call or begin presenting in a call.
  • Share a slideshow with others by clicking on the “Share” button in the right-hand corner.
  • The toolbar located above your slideshow has helpful tools. Here are a few basics:
    • New slide: Click the “+” to insert a new slide into your presentation. Click the down arrow button on the right to add a new slide with a layout.
    • Image: To insert an image, click the square with mountains in it. Then, click where you want it on your slide.
    • Shape: To insert a shape, click the circle and square icon. Pick your shape. Then, click where you want it on your slide.
    • Line: To insert a line, click the diagonal line icon. To choose a type of line, click the down arrow button on the right. Then, click where you want it on your slide.
    • Comment: Add a comment on a slide by clicking the icon with a “+” sign inside of a chat bubble.

Creating a Google Sheet

To get started with Sheets, you will need to select it from the Google Workspace menu. Once you log in to Sheets, you will be brought to a dashboard. This is where you can access all your spreadsheets. To start a new spreadsheet, click the rainbow “+” icon. You can also select from a template that fits your project’s needs by clicking “Template gallery.” After clicking the “+” button, you will be able to start creating your spreadsheet. Since Sheets is a Google App, the functions are similar. In the upper left-hand corner, you can name the spreadsheet where it says, “Untitled spreadsheet.” When adding text, you can use the same tools that you saw in Docs to format it. When formatting text, you can use the same tools that you saw in Docs.

Helpful tips:
  • You can name your spreadsheet by clicking on the “Untitled spreadsheet” in the upper-left corner of the screen. Type in a name and press “Enter” on your keyboard.
  • View the version history by clicking on the clock icon in the right-hand corner.
  • View all conversations by clicking the chat box with three lines in it.
  • Click the video camera icon to join a call or begin presenting in a call.
  • Share a spreadsheet with others by clicking on the “Share” button in the right-hand corner.
  • The toolbar located above your spreadsheet has helpful tools. Here are a few basics:
    • Currency: To format as currency, click the “$” icon.
  • Percentage: To format as percent, click the “%” icon.
  • Decimals: To decrease the decimal places, click the “.0” icon with the arrow pointing to the left. To increase the decimal places, click the “.00” icon with the arrow pointing to the right.
  • More formats: For more formats, click the “123” icon.
  • Fill: To fill a cell with a color, click the icon that looks like a dripping paint can.
  • Borders: To add borders to a cell, click the square that’s divided into four sections.
    • Background: Change the background of a slide. Choose between a color or an image.
    • Layout: Change the layout of a slide by clicking this button.
    • Theme: Change the theme of a slide(s) from premade styles by clicking this button.
    • Transition: Add a transition between slide(s) or apply it to all slides by clicking this button.

Creating a Google Form

To create a Google Form, click the “+Blank” button to start from scratch. Click on the “+Add question” button to add your first question. From there, you can choose what type of question it is. Then, you can enter your question text, provide options or answer choices, and mark if the question is required. Click “+Add question” to continue adding questions.

Helpful tips:
  • You can name your spreadsheet by clicking on the “Untitled spreadsheet” in the upper-left corner of the screen. Type in a name and press “Enter” on your keyboard. Add a title and description by clicking the “Tt” icon next to the top of your form.
  • Send your form to others by clicking the “Send” button in the upper right-hand corner.
  • View responses by clicking the “Responses” tab at the top of your form.
  • There is a toolbar to the right of your first question with helpful tools. Here are a few basics:
    • Add question: To add a question, click the “+” sign at the top of the toolbar.
    • Import questions: To import prepared questions, click the second icon from the top of the toolbar.
    • Title: Add a title and description to your question by clicking the “Tt” icon.
    • Images and videos: To insert images or videos, click on the corresponding icon in the toolbar.
    • Sections: To organize longer forms, insert section headers or page breaks to divide them into sections by clicking the icon with two rectangles.
  • Preview: To see how your form looks to respondents, click the “Preview” button that looks like an eye.
  • Theme and color: Click the color palette icon in the upper right corner to customize the theme and color of your form.

Creating a Google Meet Video Conference

Once you have started creating different files, documents, and slideshows in Google Workspace, you can begin integrating them into video conferences. Log in to Google Meet, click the “Join or start a meeting” button. From there, you can enter a meeting name or choose “Start an instant meeting.” Click the “Join now” button to start the meeting, and you will be provided with a meeting link. Share this with participants you wish to invite.

You can also create a Google Meet video conference through Google Calendar. Simply follow the instructions provided earlier to create an event, then click the “Add Google Meet video conferencing” option. Set the date, time, and add additional information, then click “Save.” You can invite participants by entering their email addresses. They will receive an email with the Google Meet Link.

Next: Creating a resume with Google Docs

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