Need More than the Docs App Can Do? Use the Desktop Version!

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 1.35.58 PMThe Docs App on the iPad is great and it allows for students to quickly create and share documents with others. Students can change the font to a limited number of fonts, they can change the size and color of their text, they can highlight, and they can also add a bulleted or numbered list. But what if they need to do more, such as double-space their text, see the revision history of a document, or use research tools? Have them use the desktop version!

How Does It Work?

The desktop version of docs or drive is accessed through a Web browser. Start by having students open Chrome or Safari (or whatever Web browser they use) and go to drive.google.com. From there, they will log in with their Google Apps account username (their email address) and password. The screen will then look like this:

drive_desktop_1This screen is really more of a viewer. Even if you choose one of the folders or documents from your Drive, you will won’t be able to do anything with it. In order to be able to edit, you need to open it in the desktop version. On the left, you’ll see three little lines. Tap those lines for the menu. Then choose Desktop Version.

drive_desktop_2You will be brought to the desktop version right away, but you will have to go through a few more steps before you are able to edit a document in the desktop version. Scroll through and select the document you want to open by tapping on it.drive_desktop_3You’ll be sent back to a very basic editor. drive_desktop_4You could edit the document from here by choosing Edit, but you’ll want to remind your iPad that you are trying to use the desktop version by choosing the two little down arrows next to the Edit button. drive_desktop_5The iPad really resists doing this, as you can see, so remind it again that you do, indeed, want to use the desktop version.drive_desktop_6After this, your document should open right away and you’ll have access to just about everything you have on the computer.drive_desktop_7

For example, you might not be able to create a table in on the iPad, even in the desktop version. But you will be able to double space documents, see the revision history, and use the research tools within Docs.

What Do You Think?

Yes, this process can be frustrating, but it provides additional functionality to Google Docs if your students are using iPads and there isn’t access to computers. Or have you found a better way? If you have, please share!

Comments

  1. courtneyleeadamsjr@gmail.com says:

    This seems like a great workaround, but I have one issue: Google Docs keeps giving me messages that it no longer supports my browser — but I’m using the latest version of Safari on my iPad, which should be suppported. Any idea what might be going on?

    • Hi! My browser tells me the same thing. I believe it has to do with the fact that it’s on an iPad and not on an actual desktop computer. There should be a “dismiss” button at the top. If there isn’t, it doesn’t matter. You should still be able to do almost everything you are trying to do in the desktop version.

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