Do you use Google Docs at your office? I have been using them off and on for a few years now. I sort of forgot about the tool for a while then finally picked it up again this past fall. As I started using the spreadsheet tool for tracking an internal technology transition, I had that “duh” moment of, ‘why haven’t we been using this more?!’

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ToolTypesForGoogleDocsAs an account manager, I work on various projects with different internal and client facing individuals every day. Being able to share and communicate timelines, due dates and supporting documents is much easier without having to shuffle multiple versions of files back and forth. Not to mention it creates a better, more open line of communication between you and your client.

Data Dog is an office with a “World Headquarters” but we also have a few employees and freelancers who do not work in the office. Having the ability to conduct team meetings (enter Google Hangout and/or Skype) while looking at the same files in real time helps everyone stay on the same page (and stay focused).

Since I’ve been using Google Docs so frequently lately, I thought I might share how I’ve put the tools to use:

Project Tracking – Being able to share a project tracking spreadsheet with client that they can check at anytime, provides a useful reference as the plan progresses.

Project Calendars / Scheduling (as a spreadsheet) – Having a marketing calendar that internal team members and external clients can refer back to at any time is helpful when there’s a question about scheduling. Not to mention it allows everyone to look ahead and stay on track.

Creative Briefs – When working with our off-site team members or vendors, sharing a creative brief is faster and more flexible via an online document. You treat it just the same as any other word processing software.

Collections – These are basically the same as a file folder you Collections on Google Docswould have on your computer. If you are sharing multiple docs with a certain person or group, sharing the entire collection may be a better option so that the team doesn’t have to keep trying to find each link to each individual document.

Presentations – of course there’s a “slide presentation” tool and a simple design tool as well. I don’t use these options quite as much, but I have put them to use when presenting simple logo designs to clients, though I tend to use an “offline” program for more complicated design and presentation projects.

Best part? You can maintain different levels of document privacy. Documents default to accessibility only by you, the owner, but when in a document or collection, you can click the blue “share” button in the upper right hand corner and adjust both accessibility and editing capabilities.

And not to worry, it’s easy to export the files into formats compatible with most software used for office functions (.doc, .pdf, .xls, etc.), you can also upload documents.

Of course no program is perfect and you may feel slightly slow when starting to use the online tools since buttons/tools may be in different places than you’re used to, but it really has turned into a great sharing tool. You do need a Google account (gmail – personal or business) to sign in, but that should come as no surprise.

How are you using Google Docs to help improve work flow? Do you take advantage of any other Google tools for the office? I’d love to hear your tips for tools in the comments below or on our Facebook page.