How to Download and Use Google Docs on Mac

381691 How to Download and Use Google Docs on Mac

Google Docs is a free online word processor that lets you create, edit, store, and collaborate on documents entirely in the cloud. With Google Docs, you don’t need any special software installed on your Mac – everything runs through your web browser. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting set up with Google Docs on your Mac.

Downloading Google Docs

Since Google Docs is a web-based application, there’s no download required. You just need access to the internet and a web browser on your Mac. Google Docs works on any modern browser like Safari, Firefox, or Chrome.

To get started, open your preferred browser and go to This will bring you to the Google Docs homepage. If you already have a Google account, sign in here. If you don’t have an account, you can create one for free.

Once signed in, you’ll see the Google Docs dashboard with tools to start a new document or open existing ones. That’s it! Google Docs is now ready to use on your Mac.

Creating New Documents

To create a new document:

  1. Go to
  2. Click the multicolored + button in the top left and select Blank
  3. A new untitled document will open. Start typing to begin.

You can also start new documents from Google Drive by clicking New > Google Docs. Or use the keyboard shortcut ⌘ + Option + N when you’re in Google Drive.

Opening and Editing Documents

To open an existing document:

  1. Go to to access Google Drive
  2. Locate and double click on the document you want to open
  3. The document will open in Google Docs where you can view and edit it

To edit a document:

  • Click anywhere in the document to start typing
  • Use keyboard shortcuts like ⌘ + B for bold, ⌘ + I for italics etc.
  • Select text and use the formatting toolbar to style text
  • Add, delete or move paragraphs around on the page

Edits are saved automatically to Google Drive, so you never have to manually hit save.

Sharing and Collaborating on Docs

A key benefit of Google Docs is real-time collaboration. You can invite others to view or edit documents by clicking the Share button in the top right.

In the share window:

  • Enter email addresses you want to share with
  • Choose whether they can edit or only view the doc
  • Click Send to share

Now when you and other collaborators have the doc open, you’ll see each other’s cursor position and watch edits appear instantly. No need to email revised versions back and forth.

Converting File Formats

You may need to work with Microsoft Word documents and other file formats in Google Docs. Converting files is simple:

  1. Upload the file to Google Drive
  2. Right click on it and choose Open with > Google Docs
  3. The file will convert to an editable Google Doc

You can also export Google Docs to Word, PDF, plaintext, and other formats using File > Download.

Offline Access on Your Mac

The Google Docs offline Chrome extension lets you view and edit docs when not connected to the internet. Then changes sync back online when you regain connectivity.

To enable offline access:

  1. Install the Google Docs Offline Extension in Chrome
  2. In Google Drive, right click on a file and check Available offline
  3. The file will sync for offline access. The green checkmark icon indicates it’s ready

Now you can open and edit files from the Chrome menu > Docs Offline even without an internet connection on your Mac.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts help speed up your workflow in Google Docs. Here are some particularly useful ones to know:

  • ⌘ + B: Bold selected text
  • ⌘ + I: Italicize selected text
  • ⌘ + U: Underline selected text
  • ⌘ + Z: Undo
  • ⌘ + Shift + Z: Redo
  • ⌘ + K: Insert Link
  • ⌘ + \: Show word count

See the full list under Help > Keyboard shortcuts when inside Google Docs.

Best Practices for Google Docs on Mac

Follow these tips to get the most out of Google Docs on your Apple computer:

  • Use Chrome for best performance: Chrome has the fastest and most stable experience with web apps like Google Docs
  • Enable offline access: This lets you keep working with no internet by syncing files locally
  • Learn keyboard shortcuts: Master shortcuts to save time on frequent formatting tasks
  • Share docs not links: When collaborating, ensure you actually share the doc instead of just a link. This gives others direct edit access instead of view-only
  • Install the menu bar app: Adds handy Google Drive access from the top menu bar in Mac OS

Why Use Google Docs on Mac?

Here are the top reasons Mac users should consider adopting Google Docs:

  • It’s free: No need to pay for expensive suites like Microsoft Office
  • Cross-platform versatility: You can access your docs from any device – Mac, Windows, iPhone, Android etc. Files are stored in the cloud
  • Real-time collaboration: Work together on documents effortlessly with colleagues
  • Revision history: See a time-stamped history of all changes made to access older versions
  • Add-ons and integrations: Google Docs connects seamlessly with Gmail, Slides, Sheets, Google Calendar and more
  • Works offline: You can view and edit Google Docs without an internet connection

So if you work on a Mac, keeping your documents in Google Docs takes advantage of the cloud’s accessibility while letting you retain the Apple user experience you’re used to. It’s the best of both worlds.

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