How to collaborate in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides: 4 tips

When two or more people have access to content in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides, these four practices may help make collaboration proceed smoothly.


Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

When someone who uses G Suite says, “I’ll share it,” that signals the start of a collaborative effort in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides. A click on the blue Share button—or in mobile apps, a tap on the Add Person icon—lets a document owner or editor offer access to other people (see: How to share Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides).

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Sharing access to a document only starts the collaboration process. When you receive access to a document as a collaborator, you can take a few steps to make the collaboration process continue smoothly. The following four items cover a few ideas that are sometimes overlooked when people collaborate on documents.

Note: If you use a G Suite account, your G Suite administrator has access to settings that in some cases may block or limit collaboration. If you encounter collaboration restrictions, check with your G Suite administrator for assistance.

1. Confirm you can access the G Suite doc

Email or firewall settings sometimes result in sharing notifications not getting through, which obviously precludes collaboration. So when you receive an email or notification that gives you access, promptly check to make sure you can access the item, especially if this is the first time you have collaborated with that person (Figure A).

Figure A

Screenshot of an email that indicates the recipient has been invited to edit a Google Doc.

When you receive an expected invitation to edit a Google Doc, Sheet, or Slide, open it promptly to confirm you can access the file as expected. In some cases, you may need to request access.

Soon after opening the file for the first time, let the person who shared the file know you have successfully accessed it. If you haven’t…