One of the most popular software programs today is Microsoft Word® and its accompanying programs, Excel and PowerPoint. There are many benefits to using these programs, including the multitude of features that allow the user to do things like store data and create presentations. But there are also drawbacks!
To own Microsoft programs, you must purchase them; although the basic Microsoft programs are available online for free through Office.com. Another drawback is that programs that are installed on physical computers can only be accessed on those specific computers. Unless you save the documents to a flash drive, or save them in some other way, they will remain inaccessible. But there is a program that solves both problems!
Google Docs and its accompanying programs Google Slides and Google Sheets are similar to Microsoft’s programs. They offer the same basic functions. The benefit of using Google Docs is that it’s available online. This means that you can access your documents from any device that has access to the internet. So, you can start working on a paper at one library, and then go to another library and finish it, which I’ve done plenty of times. It also automatically saves your work, so you don’t have to worry about computer crashes or forgetting to save the document.
Google Docs works best if you have the internet, but if that's not possible, you can make documents available for offline use. If this is enabled, you can work on your document off the internet, although this feature is not available for the full Google suite. Devices such as Chromebooks are specially designed to use Google Docs and allow for offline access. Like all offline use, once the device is connected to the internet, the document will be synced with the Cloud and all the changes will be saved.
The Library has great resources that you can use to learn more about Google Docs. Universal Class offers a course on Google Docs, which is great for those who like to take traditional instructor-led courses or tutorial-only courses. Lynda.com also provides a tutorial course on Google Docs as well as the other Google programs, including Google Slides and Sheets.
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