About a year ago I was looking for a lower cost alternative to Dropbox.
While I love the idea behind Dropbox and still use the service, I was paying $110 a month and felt that was too much.
So I searched for an alternative and discovered 10 reasons I love Google Docs.
Being in the online publishing space, we generate more files and documents than I would have thought.
And the entire team needs to access almost all of them all the time.
So I started using Google Docs. And then Sheets. And then Drive. And Slides. And Forms.
Soon, I was hooked.
Here now are the 10 reasons I love Google Docs.
1 – Free
When it comes to making money online there is one rule that many forget.
It’s not how much you make that counts, it’s how much you keep.
if you are like me you have spent WAY more than you ever thought you would on tools, gadgets and when you visit this site that promise cool wrist gadgets.
So the day is now when we have to evaluate our expenses. To get them on paper. As Dave Ramsey says, to let every dollar have a name.
When I switched from Dropbox to Google Drive I saved a cool $100 per MONTH.
And the only reason I pay anything at all is that we have so many files we overfilled the free version of Google Drive. We have been working online for 14 years after all.
I will be the first to admit that “free”, especially online, often means “limited features” or even “unreliable”.
This has not been my experience with Google Docs. I find their service to be more useful than any word process I have used (and I have tried them all) and it is absolutely free.
Can’t beat that.
2 – Edit files where they are stored
While I loved being able to find and view my files on Dropbox, I was never able to find a file, open it, edit it and save the changes.
This created a huge dilemma for me because that is what I do all day long.
- Open a sales letter and tweak the call to action.
- Write a new article and save it instantly.
- Write a new follow-up series for a client.
- Update my progress log for a consulting client after a phone call.
- Update a spreadsheet to include today’s sales.
These are but a few of the things I do almost every day. While Dropbox was great for storing and organizing things, I had to download a file, edit it, save it and upload again.
Too many steps for my usually busy days.
3 – On every device
I have a confession to make. I miss the old days. As I write this I am one day away from turning 61.
That means I started with a legal pad, moved up to a Day-Timer and now everything is digital with Nozbe and Evernote.
I sometimes worry that my legacy will be nothing but digital 0s and 1s.
I miss the tactile sensation of using a great pen, where the ink just flows smoothly, on a great piece of paper.
But I also recognize reality. Paper files are the past. Digital files are the future.
And being able to access your files anywhere has become a must, not an option.
With Google Docs, I can access any file from any device. I personally use a desktop computer, a laptop computer, and iPad and iPhone.
And I can open, edit or create any file on any of those devices anytime I want. And the file is synced to all devices instantly.
What about saving files? That’s the next great thing about Google Docs.
4 – Never have to save
There is no save button on Google Docs. That’s because you don’t need one.
Have you ever had the situation where you were writing this great thing, and it was really going well, and then you forgot to save? Or lost power?
Won’t happen in Google Docs.
That’s because Google Docs, and all the Google products, save as you work.
Since the program is always auto-saving you never need to worry about clicking “save”.
And you will never lose your work again. That is a beautiful thing!
5 – Maximum Flexibility
It would be logical to think that a free service like Google Docs would be limited in features.
I thought that too but soon found out that it was quite the opposite.
Just look at this image for what you can do with a file once you have created it.
Pay special attention to the arrows and the yellow box. You can download your Google Doc in almost any format, including PDF.
Being able to make a PDF is huge if you are a person who needs to create lead magnets.
But wait … there’s more!
You can also insert many things into your Google Doc. I’ve put arrows next to the ones I find most useful.
The “table of contents” feature is especially important to me. I often write email follow up series for clients.
Sometimes that means 5 messages, other times it means 35 messages.
I always create a clickable table of contents (Google Docs does this automatically) and it never fails to impress a client that they can jump to any message with just one click.
And did I mention, Google Docs is free! Wow.
6 – Add-ons create convenience
Right out of the box Google Docs is excellent. But sometimes we need more.
- We need to post a document to our blog with one click.
- We need to create an image and insert it into our document.
- We need to add a table to a document to support the words.
- We need to send a fax!
All of this can be accomplished with what are called “Add-Ons” And guess how much they cost?
You guessed it, they are free. At least all the ones I use are.
Here is a screenshot of the Addons I use today, along with a brief note about what they do for me.
- Docs to WordPress – Publish to WordPress with one click. And the post you create this way will be formatted according to the settings in your blog, not in Google Docs.
- ExpressCurate – As a curator of information I can easily find, curate and publish information from within Google Docs. And my work is always autosaved.
- Lucidchart Diagrams – One of the best online service available anywhere, Lucid Charts lets me create beautiful mind maps, wireframes, flowcharts and more, and insert them directly into my Google Docs document.
- RingCentral Fax – I use RingCentral for my office phone and have for years. It offers great flexibility and low cost. Plus, it’s my fax machine! I still fax often and this Addon makes it one-click simple!
- Speech Recognition – I rarely use this one and am going to remove it. That’s because the built in voice to text feature is excellent.
7 – Voice to text built in
Speaking of voice to text, the one in Google Docs is excellent.
Over the years, I have tried Dragon Naturally Speaking as well as other apps to make voice to text work.
All of them cost money and all of them required yearly update fees to stay current.
I was able to replace all of that, free, with Google Docs. Plus, I don’t have to use yet another program to get the job done.
If you have never used voice to text let me share two thoughts with you.
- It’s weird the first few times you do it. It just not feel natural unless you grew up with it or learned it in medical school or while getting your law degree.
- It is SO much faster than typing! According to this infographic, an average typing speed is about 44 words per minute. But according to this article the average speaking speed is about 150 words per minute!
So do try voice to text when you get a chance. The time you save can be substantial, and better used with your family and friends.
8 – Excellent spell check
I am really not a great speller. Simple words sometimes trip me up. I blame it on never having gone to college. But I know better. 🙂
And when I type, I make mistakes. So that’s time to go back and correct on the fly.
Google Docs to the rescue!
Not only does it have an excellent spell checker but it has a grammar checker too!
And you can add your own words to the dictionary if you need to do that.
Because I work online I often use terms that are not in many dictionaries. Just in this article I have added new words to the dictionary.
Words like addon and upsell can be added to your personal dictionary with one click. And those new words are available to you on all your devices, all the time, for free.
9 – Post to your blog 1 click
If you know me you know I love to post to my blog. But what you might not know is that I have many blogs, and need to post to them as well.
Once again, Google Docs helps me out.
By using a free addon I can post to any number of blogs with one click.
And I can include images, formatting, links and more to my Google Doc and all of those are resized and properly formatted.
One challenge with blogging is keeping all your posts somewhere on your computer so you can know at a glance what you have already written about.
This becomes a real factor after you have 150 or so posts.
By keeping them all in one place you save time and will never waste time writing a great post that you have in fact already written.
That’s the embarrassed voice of experience talking.
10 – Save your own defaults
Some people feel confined using a program “out of the box”. They want to customize it all and have it fit just them.
That’s completely understandable. After all, why have to change fonts or sizes or anything else when you are going to use the same settings over and over again.
Happily, Google Docs lets you customize to your heart’s content.
Take paragraph styles for example.
Some people want their paragraphs to begin with an indent. Others don’t.
Some want their H1 or H3 to be a certain size, or to be italicized.
All of this is one-click simple inside Google Docs. Here’s a screenshot showing how to set anything you prefer as your own personal default.
Is Google Docs right for you?
Now you know all 10 reasons I love Google Docs. While Google Docs is great for me it might not be right for you. Only you can decide if making a switch is worth the effort.
Like all things, switching to Google Docs takes effort and learning a few new things.
But not too many because it is very intuitive if you have ever used a program like Word or Pages.
I have shared my passion for Google Docs and some of the reasons it works for me.
If you want to try it for yourself free just follow this link. Or, if you use Gmail, you can get to Google Docs from within your email screen.
I hope you found this helpful. If you use and love Google Docs (or hate it) please leave a comment below to share your experiences.
By switching to Google Docs, I save $1200 per year, save time, have all my data on all devices perfectly synced and can share one file or an entire folder with anyone anytime.
And those are beautiful things indeed!