April 03, 2013, 7:38 AM — This tip is excerpted from the book, Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes by Ian Lamont, part of the In 30 Minutes™ family of technology guides.
Google Drive makes it easy to invite collaborators to work on a shared file or folder. Those who already have Google accounts can begin to work on the shared file or folder right away. People who don't have Google accounts will quickly be taken through the registration process.
While any file stored in Google Drive can be shared with other people, they won't be able to make edits unless it's one of the following Google formats:
* Scripts, Tables and other Google formats that have been integrated into Google Drive
Here's how to set up collaboration in Google Drive:
1. Confirm you are logged into Drive and have an Internet connection.
2. Open the file.
3. Click the blue Share button or go to File>Share.
4. The Sharing Settings pop-up window will appear showing the sharing options and who has access to the file.
5. Enter the email addresses of collaborators in the Add People field.
6. Use the drop-down menu to the right of the field to control their access. This will determine if they can edit a document, or only view its contents.
7. To add a personal message to the notification email they receive, click Add Message.
8. Press the green Share & Save button.
9. Press the blue Done button.
One of the great benefits of collaboration in Drive is everyone is working with the same copy of the file. It's possible for two people to simultaneously work on the same data, and see what the other is adding, changing or deleting right on the screen. This greatly reduces the chances of a document being forked (that is, being split into separate versions, with different editing histories), which can cause huge problems and lead to loads of wasted time when it's time to reconcile the different versions of the file.
Ian Lamont is the author of Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes. For additional tips and videos on how to get the most out of Google Drive, visit the official book website for the Google Drive guide.