By the end of this section, you will be able to:
- Use advanced sharing settings in Google Docs
- Use advanced editing level and access settings in Google Docs
- Use advanced settings to view comments and suggested edits
The WorldCorp market trends report needs to advance fast, and the best way to do that is by multiuser collaboration. By using Google’s cloud service, Google Drive, you can have multiple users work on their portion of the report simultaneously. As you work in the document, you may see these collaborators typing all at the same time, as they have their own cursor with their username. This kind of online, synchronous collaboration will speed up the review and revision process.
Advanced Sharing Settings
The chapter on Creating and Working in Documents discussed basic sharing capabilities of Google Docs. But understanding the more advanced settings in Docs can maximize your work in the app and help you get the most out of collaborating in it.
Docs allows up to one hundred persons working on the document at the same time. This can be useful when many people need to view a file at once, such as real-time meeting notes or a report being discussed on a conference call. But keep in mind that some of the same limitations exist in Docs as they do in Word Online: having many people working and editing the document at the same time can cause problems. When several individuals are working on the same file at the same time, you might see text shifting around, people making changes in areas you just changed, or conflicting information added by different collaborators.
Fortunately, you can see how many people are accessing the document, and who they are, as seen in Figure 5.65. You can communicate with them using the Google chat software called Google Meet, as Figure 5.66 shows. Collaborators can also chat directly in the document by adding comments as they make edits and revisions. You can also see where your document collaborators are typing by choosing their icon in the title bar. Docs will jump down to where their cursor is in the document. The collaborator’s cursor uses another color, and it moves as the collaborator types.
You can check who has access to this document (at all times, not just when they are online and active) when you click the Share button at the top right of the document. This will reveal a dialog box displaying all the people who have been granted permission to view, edit, or comment on the document, as you can see in Figure 5.67. As you are collaborating on documents with colleagues at WorldCorp, it is helpful to be able to restrict editing to certain individuals, while receiving comments from others. With Docs, you have the ability to see where changes are made and by whom.
Sharing Without Adding Collaborators
There may be times when you want certain people to have access to a Doc, but they do not have a Google account. Or, you may not want to add them as a formal collaborator to the document, but rather just give them access to review the document instead of making edits. Luckily, there are ways to do this in Google.
To share the document with people who do not have a Google account, you should generate a shareable link, and choose Anyone with the link. This is accessed through the Share option in the upper-right corner of the screen. You can then choose the access level (Viewer, Commenter, or Editor), generate the shareable link, and copy it into an email or elsewhere for everyone to access, as shown in Figure 5.68. These contributors with no Google account will be able to open and edit the document with an Anonymous user name.
You may also want to share your document with a third party, without adding them to your group of collaborators. This can be done using the command Email this file found in the File menu, as Figure 5.69 shows. This command sends the file as a .docx or .pdf to their email.
You may also convert the document into an embedded document so that it is published on a web page. The command Publish to the web, located in the File menu, will open a dialog box (Figure 5.70). Here, you have two options: either to provide a Link to the file or create the .html code to embed the information directly on the web page. Using either method will make the information available to anyone on the internet, so use caution when choosing to publish information from a Google file to the web. Check the box Automatically republish when changes are made if you want the embedded object on the web page to be updated when you change the document. If you do not choose this option, you will need to update the embedding when changes to the document are made. Then, click on Start publishing and the .html code will be generated, as shown in Figure 5.71. Copy and paste these codes onto your web page.
The other option of Publish to the web is to get a public link, as shown in Figure 5.72, which can be shared via social media or in an email. This public link is different from the Anyone with the link shareable links, because the public link is searchable in search engines.
Advanced Editing Access Settings
The chapter on Creating and Working in Documents discussed the different levels of access you can grant your collaborators. Granting someone Editing access to your Doc means that they can make any changes they want to the document. They do not have to track changes, or work in Suggesting mode, if they do not want to. This is the most open of all sharing settings.
One way to give someone editing access to a Doc is via a shareable link. The user that opens a shareable link can be restricted in different ways. You can set up the settings to restrict the opener of the file by selecting Anyone on the internet with this link can edit. As we’ve learned, non-Google users can access shareable links that have the designation of either Anyone with the link or Public link (Figure 5.68). The other option, Restricted, allows sharing and collaborating, but with some limitations. If you check this option, the editor, commenter, or viewer combo box disappears, as seen in Figure 5.73. This means that the link will only open for people who are listed as collaborators. Figure 5.74 summarizes the kinds of restrictions on shareable links.
For all types of shareable links, there are the three standard types of readers of the document, as seen in Figure 5.75. Again, there is also a Share with people settings options at the top-right corner of the Share dialog box. If you uncheck Editors can change permissions and share, it will prevent editors from changing access and adding new people. This allows editor recipients to edit, comment, or read, but doesn’t allow them to share the document. The other option, if unchecked, is directed at commenters and viewers, as they cannot download, copy, or print the document.
Advanced Settings for Viewing Comments and Suggested Edits
Once you are ready to view comments in a Doc, navigate to the top-right area of your document and click on the Comment history icon (shown in callout 1 in Figure 5.76). Then, click on the bell icon to view and customize notification settings (shown in callout 2). As shown in Figure 5.77, if you choose Only yours, the email notifications of changes on the document will be sent to you only if you are being mentioned by an @ operator, or if someone edits some passage you wrote. If you choose None, you will not be notified by email, even if the changes and comments (and mentions) are related to your written passages.
Once you have chosen your notification settings, return to the Comment history icon. In Figure 5.78, you can see the sidebar that appears when you click on the icon, showing the comment history. You can view all comments together in this sidebar. Without the sidebar, you would have to scroll down the screen slowly, to see all the comments on the document. (The sidebar is similar to the Review pane in Word.) If you want to filter the comments on the sidebar, you can click on the Comments drop-down command, and filter by For you, Open, and Resolved (Figure 5.79).
Filtering by For you gives you all comments that are directed to you directly with the @ symbol. Filtering by Open gives you all comments that are marked as open, regardless of who the comments are directed toward. And, finally, filtering by Resolved shows all the comments that have been marked resolved and are no longer active comments to address.