Google Docs Chat is a very effective tool for collaborating on documents with teams. It allows editors to mark up and comment on edits, and allows teams to discuss
the correct wording of documents, and this allows employees, filling out forms, ask questions that their managers can answer.
All of these great ways to use Google Docs chat work well only if the people using the document understand how the commenting system works.
In this article, you will learn about all the commenting and collaboration features available in Google Docs.
How does Google Docs work
In Google Docs, you’re not just blindly working on docs. In fact, you can see multiple users accessing the document in real time.
It works like this: Whenever other people access a document, you’ll see their Google Account icon at the top of the Google Docs window.
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When other users move their mouse cursor over the document, you will see their Google account name momentarily appear above the cursor.
This is useful for seeing which areas of the document other members of your team are working on. This will help avoid conflicting changes in the same document.
If you see someone wrongly editing a section of your document, or making changes that you disagree with, you can add a comment directly to that person.
To the right of the user icons at the top of the document, you’ll see a speaker icon inside a white circle. Selecting this option opens the general comments area.
Just enter your comment and press Enter. Anyone who is currently viewing the document will be able to see all comments in the general comments area.
You can tell when someone has updated a new comment in the comments area by the red dot that appears above this icon.
As each person replies, a new comment appears below the previous one in the comment thread.
Either click the X to the right of the names in the comment box, or click the comment icon to make the comment box disappear again.
Create a new conversation in Google Docs
To create a new chat in Google Docs, simply select any text in a Google Docs document. A small comment icon will appear to the right of the selected text.
If you hover your mouse over this icon, you will see the text “Add Comment”.
Selecting this icon opens a comment window where you can share your thoughts on the text in your highlighted document.
When you finish writing your comment, simply click the Comment button and the comment field will change to permanent.
There are several options that are accompanied by such comments.
If you select three dots to the right of the comment, you will see three options.
- Edit: Make any changes to your comment, or add a response if you like.
- Delete: remove the comment and highlight it from the document.
- Link to this comment: Get a URL link that you can share with people if you want them to see this particular comment.
Comment links are very effective in helping people find the exact comment, especially within documents that contain a lot of comments.
You can paste the link into chat, mobile SMS or email.
When the recipient selects a link, they translate it directly into the document in which the comment was inserted. They can either reply to the comment or choose “Allow”.
When a comment is resolved, it disappears from the comment thread. The comment appears to have been removed, but in reality it is only hidden from the right margin.
If you want to see all comments posted on a document, simply select the black comment icon in the upper right corner of the document.
All comments posted to the document are displayed here, as well as all the following information about the comment.
- The date and time the comment was posted.
- All replies to a comment
- Any document text that was selected when the comment was added.
- Link to reopen allowed comments
- Link to reply to comments
Select Comment to add new comments to the comment thread. Select Notifications to change your email settings so that you only receive notifications when someone replies to your comments, or not receive notifications at all.
Editing and resolving modifications
Google Docs Chat is especially useful for making suggestions for document revisions without actually making them.
By default, Google Docs allows you to make changes to a document, and the changes take effect immediately. To switch edit mode to suggested edits only, click the drop-down arrow to the right of the word “Edit” in the upper-right corner of the document.
Select “Offer” from the drop-down list.
When you make changes to the document, the text in the document is strikethrough and the replacement text appears next to it. For each change, a new comment opens to the right, describing the change.
The purpose of this feature is for the final editor or original author to be able to edit and accept the changes individually by checking the box for this edit comment.
However, if you don’t want to allow comments individually, there is a useful trick to allow them all at once.
To do this, select the Tools menu and select View Proposed Changes.
This will open a small window in the upper right corner of the document. You can use the up or down arrow to scroll through each edit comment in the document. You can choose to Accept or Reject Individual Changes.
If you just want to accept or reject them all, click the drop-down arrow to the right of the Accept or Reject button.
You can select “Accept All” to confirm all changes. This will update the entire document with the suggested changes and remove any associated comments.
Learn more about resolving comments in Google Docs
Commentary helps with collaboration
Using a cloud-based word processor like Google Docs makes it easy to collaborate on documents.
The commenting system is set up so that the discussion of document changes in the team is convenient and easy. Once everyone gets used to the chat system in Google Docs, you’ll find that your team is much more efficient at working on documents together.