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By Susan Metz | Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sharing a Google Doc with a non-Google user

UPDATE 7/22/14: Check out our new article on how to Share a Google Doc with a Non-Google User for the very latest tips.

You’ve just completed a Google spreadsheet with charts, formulas, and data galore. Now you’re ready to share your spreadsheet with your colleagues and you realize that you don’t know whether or not they have a Google account. The good news is that there are many ways to share a Google Doc with a non-Google account holder. The easiest solution is to simply ask your colleague(s) if they have a Google account. But in this case, we’ll assume that you either don’t have time to ask, you need to share a document with several colleagues under deadline, or it is a situation in which you simply can’t get that information ahead of time. image1 In this post, we’ll discuss three of the most common scenarios for sharing a Google Doc with a non-Google account holder, but first we should probably get clear on some vocabulary. A Google account is not a Gmail account. A Google account is a unified sign-in system that gives one access to Google products like Docs, Groups, AdWords, and so on. A Google account can be associated with any email address—not just Gmail addresses. It’s very likely that the person you are trying to share a Doc with already has a Google account that they have created at one time or another. A Doc is a Google document, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, or form. Docs can only be edited within the Google Docs application. A Google account is a user name and password that allows a person to sign into Google Drive. This may be an @gmail account, a Google Apps account, or any email address associated with a Google account. You can associate any email address in the world with a Google Apps account.   Three scenarios for sharing a Doc with a non-Google account holder Scenario one: You’ve created a document, spreadsheet, or presentation and you need to share the completed version with a non-Google user. In this case the best thing to do is send the document as an email attachment. With the Doc open, click the File menu and choose Email as attachment. A dialog box will appear where you can adjust the format for the file, enter the email address of the recipient(s), and send a message along with the Doc. image2 You can send your Docs in the MS Office format, as text files, as HTML files, or even as PDFs. This is the best option if you are sending a completed file, like a report. However, if your recipient makes edits to the file in Microsoft Excel or Word and sends it back to you, you can always convert the file from MS Office format back into a Google Doc to edit. Scenario two: You need to share a doc with a group of people who do not have Google accounts and you would like them to make edits to the doc. If this is the case, the best thing to do is to change the visibility options of the Doc to Anyone with a link. You can change the visibility options by opening your Doc, then clicking the Share button at the top right and selecting Change under the Who has access portion of the Sharing settings dialog box. This will bring up the Doc’s visibility options. Select the second option, Anyone with the link, and then select Can edit from the dropdown menu by Access. Finally, click Save to keep your changes. image3 Note: If you are a Google Apps users and you do not see the option Anyone with the link it may be that your Google Apps administrator has disabled this type of sharing. If this is the case, you should move on to scenario number three, below. Once you click the Save button you will be back at the main sharing screen. Copy the link in the Link to share field. This is the link you should share with people who need to make edits to the Doc. Once you share the Link to share link, your editors will be able to access the Doc in edit mode without being asked to sign in. Do not share the URL you see in your browser’s URL menu because that is a private link only for you. If you are in the Doc at the same time as another person, the people that do not have Google App accounts will show up as Anonymous User You’ll also see these non-Google people show up as anonymous users when you look at the revision history. image4 The anonymous users with which you share your Google Doc link do not automatically become what Google calls collaborators, so be aware that you will not be able to use the Email collaborators function (as mentioned in scenario one) if you share the Doc using the supplied link. It should also be noted that it is a best practice to change the visibility settings of the Doc back to Private when people are done editing and the Doc is complete. That way, no one can use the link you shared to come back into the Doc later and make more changes. I would not consider using the Link to share functionality a best practice for sharing confidential Docs because this system of sharing creates a link that anyone can access. If you need to share a confidential Doc, see scenario three, below. Scenario three:You need a non-Google user to edit your Doc and you don’t have the option to change the Doc’s visibility settings to Anyone with the link. Or you need to share a confidential Doc with someone who does not have a Google account. If you want to share a private Google Doc and you want to use the Google Doc editor to edit the file, and the Google Doc list to manage the file, then you should ask your contributor to create a Google account. As mentioned aboved, a Google account is not a Gmail account, but rather a unified sign-in system that gives one access to Google products like Docs, Groups, AdWords, and so on. A Google account can be associated with any email address—not just Gmail addresses—and it’s likely that the person you are trying to share a Doc with already has a Google account that they have created at one time or another. When you share a private Doc with someone they’ll be sent a link to the Doc via email. When they click on the Doc link they’ll be taken to a sign-in page where they can enter their Google account user name and password. If they don’t have a user name and password, they can click the Sign Up link to create a new Google account. With a Google account created, the person can now access the Google Doc that you have shared with them. They can receive email notifications about the file, and based on your permission settings, they can now edit the file online. When they have the Doc open, you will see their user name appear in the upper right-hand corner of your Doc, rather than the Anonymous User moniker that appears for non-Google editors. image5 These are the three best ways to share a Google Doc with a non-Google user. I would also keep in mind that as more and more people are using Google products in one way or another, it is very likely that many of the people you need to share a Doc with will already have a Google account. To learn more about Google Docs and Google Drive, check out Google Drive Essential Training on lynda.com.

By Bonnie Bills | Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Curious about Google+? New course covers the basics

When Google+ opened its doors to the public a few weeks ago, people flocked to the nascent social networking site. The service is evolving, and at this point it’s impossible to tell whether it will become a major player in the social networking space. But given Google’s reach, the service’s features (like customized sharing and video hangouts), and growing discontent with Facebook, many people are wondering what Google+ offers that the other social networking sites don’t.

If you’re one of the curious, Google+ First Lookcovers the basics and gets you up and running in the first 12 minutes. In the course, social media expert Adam Metz also shows how to sync your Google+ account with your other social media assets, like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, and reviews the service’s privacy controls.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on Google+ as it develops, and we’d love to hear from you if there’s something you’d like to learn about Google+—or any aspect of social media.

By Bonnie Bills | Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pitching Projects and Products to Executives, part V: How do you find new ideas?

lynda.com will be releasing a new and very different course in our business segment soon, and your feedback on our preview videos here on the blog so far has been great! Please keep it coming. This is the fifth sneak peek to give you a sense for the course to come.

In today’s preview of the upcoming lynda.com course Pitching Projects and Products to Executives, Charles Warren, manager of mobile user experience at Google, answers the question, “How do you find new ideas?”

By Garrick Chow | Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Texting Google for instant directions

For some reason, I’m the guy people are always asking for directions. Whether it’s because of my seemingly non-threatening demeanor, or my confident stride down the sidewalk, I seem to attract all the lost and desperate drivers, trying to get wherever they’re going. Because of this, I’ve developed an inflated sense of pride in my ability to get people un-lost, and I hate to be stumped or reveal that I don’t know how to get to a particular location from wherever I happen to be. Admittedly, this sometimes results in me just making something up, yet delivering these fictitious directions with such a confident tone that the driver will cheerfully drive off in whatever random direction I’ve suggested, leaving me standing there with the awkward contentment of having made a stranger temporarily happy.

If your phone can send and receive text messages, it can almost instantaneously receive driving directions from Google.

At least, that used to happen. These days when I’m approached and stumped by the rarer and rarer breed of driver who dares to take a road trip without a GPS device or smartphone, I simply ask if they can send and receive text messages. (So far, I haven’t come across anyone who does not have a mobile phone.) When they say yes, I instruct them to send a text to GOOGLE (466453), formatted as “A to B” with “A” and “B” as their origin and destination. These can be exact street addresses, the names of towns, zip codes, or any combination of the three. Within seconds, Google will text back with the same set of directions they would have received by visiting google.com/maps in a web browser.

Even if you have a GPS or phone with GPS capabilities, you still might want to use this tip just so you have a backup set of directions should your GPS lose reception or run out of power. Bear in mind that your normal charges for text message will apply, depending on what your contract stipulates, but it’s probably a small price to pay for getting a reliable set of directions. Well, at least they’ll be more reliable than what you might get if you asked me.

For more info on Google’s wide array of text-based services, including movie times, flight schedules, translations, currency conversion, and more, visit google.com/mobile/products/sms.html.

By Megan O. Read | Monday, March 15, 2010

lynda.com author events all week

For those of you in the Washington DC area today, lynda.com author Robbie Carman will be speaking at the Washington DC Final Cut User Group meeting at 6:30 pm. The Final Cut Pro and Color expert will be talking about his recent book Video on a Mac, and demonstrate Color Grading techniques. Details available on the DCFCPUG site.

This Wednesday, lynda.com author and Google expert, Susan Cline is offering afree one-hour webinar on Google Forms on behalf of the Google apps solutions company Dito. Topics will include creating new forms, designing form questions, analyzing responses with Google Spreadsheets and more. Register today.

In honor of St. Patrick’s day, lynda.com author Jeff Foster has released a sneak peak video promo of his book,The Green Screen Handbook. Green indeed! Check out his trailer.

Join author Mordy Golding weekly for his new Adobe Illustrator webinar series, Fridays with Mordy. Each week Mordy will pick a different topic based on the user feedback he receives through his Twitter account. At 2 pm Eastern, each Friday, you can sit in and watch Mordy demo various Illustrator topics, and answer questions in a live webinar. For more information, and to check out his new weekly seminar, check out his blog.

By Megan O. Read | Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Author Dane Howard tells us why he’s excited about his new Picasa 3 training


Dane Howard, author of Picasa 3 Essential Training.

New in the lynda.com library is Picasa 3 Essential Training by Dane Howard. We asked Dane why this release was special, and here’s what he had to say:

Dane: I’ve been publishing an on-going photo chronicle project with my family for about 10 years now. I’ve documented and written about a number of shooting, publishing and photograph-sharing techniques, but I’m mostly excited about how new technology like iPhone for instance, makes it so easy to record a photo, video or audio file directly and email it somewhere instantly. I’ve been slowly building up my base of social networks over the past two years and am now authoring (and distributing) the media directly into those sites. With this course, I share many of my organization, editing and distribution tips within Google’s easy to use and free application, Picasa.

Dane Howard has authored multiple lynda.com titles on digital photography. He is also a designer, dad and founder of VUVOX.

By Crystal McCullough | Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Getting the most out of Google Apps: Docs Essential Training

Professional Google Apps trainer Susan Cline takes us through the key features of this web-based application that allows users to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and forms that are stored online and accessible from any computer. Check out Google Apps: Docs Essential Training in the Online Training Library®.

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