I took the time to play with Google Documents today so I could see if it could be a feasible document option for small construction firms. In this article, I’m only looking at the word processing deal and I’m writing this post using the Google Documents word processing program online.
This just functions in the cloud, and I just found that there’s an automated saving going on that seems to be activated every time I stop typing for around six seconds. That’s a nice feature, since the document I’m making isn’t on my own hard disk, and it won’t be, until I transfer or download it to a document on my drive.
I may select from 17 fonts, standard text, or six layers of headings. Font sizes vary from 8 points to 72 points, bold, italic and accentuated, complete with text and color highlights. You may also add links and photographs, raise or decrease the indentation, and set the form left, middle, or right. There is no excuse icon, but there is a line space alternative that often enables you to set the space between the end and the beginning of the paragraphs.
You do need to be vigilant to be sure that the cursor blinks before you start typing after you have picked a choice or set a feature. I like to glance at my keys as I write (that’s how I get speeds of more than 30 words a minute) and on two occasions I’ve only glanced up to see what I’ve been typing feverishly and never doing on the computer.
Other cool resources include word count, a Translate method that converts your document into the language of your choosing and puts the conversion into a new document, and a Define option that lets you highlight a word, select Define from the Tools menu, and get a description. There is also a chance to incorporate a bench.
You can also erase, remake, print and cut, copy and paste. Basically, this is going to do everything you would need to do to build a simple text. I just took a screen shot from the top of the page and uploaded it to the paper. You will see it on the right. There are controls where you can re-size the image with the normal handles, and you can even opt to make it “Inline” or “Fixed.” If you keep it as Inline, the text would apparently not wrap. Shift it to Set, and it wraps up. Then you may drag it to the right or left side of the screen, and the text would immediately wrap it to the opposite side. You may also set it in the centre, and the text wraps on all sides. What I couldn’t find was a way to add some room between the illustration and the document. It’s way so close to me and crammed-looking. I still prefer a gap of between 5 and 10 pixels between text and photographs. (You’re not going to see the issue here because my WordPress theme offers me that functionality.)
When it comes to sharing, Google Docs earns a golden star. You can download the paper as an ODT, PDF, RTF, Email, Word and HTML format. Good. Nice. There are still several nice controls in order to exchange the paper with others for cooperation. Of course, you can print too, even if it seems to me to run contrary to the principle of operating in the cloud in the first place. But, hey, I know that a lot of people do want to smell ink and actually hang on to their designs.
There are some other features that render Google’s word-processor-in-the-cloud a strong option for any building company that needs to avoid maintaining this kind of program on its computers or servers. Heck, I don’t believe you should go wrong unless you’ve got an unstable or terribly sluggish internet link. Did I say it was free?