Google’s suite of applications seems to cover every angle of computer-based work. From email to social media, almost anything you need is offered by the search engine company. One product you shouldn’t overlook is Google Docs — Google’s tool for editing, uploading, and sharing files.

Google Docs has the major features you’d expect from any sharing application. Add in the integration with all of Google’s other products and it’s a powerful tool to include as part of your business routine. Here are a few ways that you can use Google Docs to organize your team around the creation and sharing of important business documents.

Share Your Work With Colleagues

Any item in Google Docs can be shared with as many other people as you’d like. The type of documents covered under Google Docs include text documents, spreadsheets, presentations made within the platform, as well as any type of image, audio, and video files your team needs to share. The item’s owner can determine whether each member of the team has edit or view-only access to specific items.

Google Docs can be used for any number of common business tasks. For example, your team can share a to-do list and make notes whenever anyone finishes a task. A department manager could create a schedule on a spreadsheet, then give edit access to other managers while still allowing other employees to see the timetable. One of the tool’s biggest strengths is that it’s a blank slate: Use it as a jumping-off point to communicate whatever information is important to you and your team.

Collaborate In Real-Time

Items in Google Docs update in real-time, making the platform a good fit for a deadline-driven environment. Plus, multiple people can edit and view items simultaneously. This makes Google Docs invaluable for brainstorming sessions since people from any location can participate and weigh-in with ideas.

For these collaborations, you can check out the revision history through the “File” menu to see who made what changes and when. So whether you are working on a team of two or 10, the development of your project can be tracked and you can revert back to an earlier draft if needed. This aspect of Google Docs allows you to work more cooperatively and more efficiently without the typical restrictions of time and place.

Make Use of the Advantages of a Web-Based System

As part of the Google family, Google Docs is completely powered by the Web. That translates into a number of benefits for your business. Google is a reliable platform, and you won’t be at risk of losing any data to the ether. It also means that you can create a document on the office computer, but still edit it when working from home on a laptop or when traveling with a smartphone or tablet.

There’s an offline mode available, but only if you are using Chrome as your web browser. That mode doesn’t allow for editing, and you can’t create new items while offline. However, the offline option can help your team keep important information handy even if Internet access is dodgy. It also means you are less likely to lose work if your Internet connection dies.

Organize Your Work Efficiently

A long list of documents wouldn’t be very useful in a business application if you had no way of sorting through these items to find what you’re looking for. Google Docs has you covered with a couple of ways to find or group items.

First are “Collections,” which serve double duty as folders and labels. For example, if you have a Collection called “Invoices,” you can file any invoices in that collection. You can then click on a folder on the far left of the page to see just those documents. On your home page, the word “Invoices” will appear in gray after the title of any items that you’ve classified as such. Documents can be placed in multiple folders if desired.

As befits a Google product, the platform also includes a handy search function. It will auto-fill file names as you type, making it easy to find a specific item. You can search all items or narrow your query to a single Collection or a single file type. That means you can always find what you need, no matter how many projects you’re juggling.

Do you have a success story about working with Google Docs? Let us know in the comments!

[Image credit: Becky Wetherington, Samuel Mann, Yandle, A Bremner, chad magiera]