Sharing Files

by Jim Chesters

Instead of emailing around a file and asking multiple people to provide information or add to an ongoing list, a shared online file is a way to simplify such a task for your shelter or rescue group.

This is a great way for groups to collaborate on pet descriptions or flyers and cage cards for adoption days by letting your staff and foster families add information about the pets they are getting to know. You can also have others add pet data, locations, and medical information or even track organization expenses all in one place where your whole staff and/or fosters can see and add to it.

1.  To create an online shared document through Google Drive, you’ll just need a Gmail account.  If you don’t already have one, go to http://gmail.com and create an account.  Once you’ve done that, go to http://docs.google.com/forms

2.  Once you’ve created the account and are logged in, click on “CREATE” in the upper-left corner of the page.  You’ll be asked which type of file to create.  Choose “document” for a “Microsoft Word” type of file, or “spreadsheet” for a “Microsoft Excel” type of file.

3.  Start adding information to the document.  Click on the “share” link in the upper-right corner of the page.  You’ll be asked to name the file.  Do that, then click “share”.

4.  You’re instantly given a link to share with others.  You can copy that link and email to others.  If you want to invite others to be able to modify and add to the document, enter their email addresses in the “invite people” field, and click “done”.  They’ll receive an invitation email, showing them how to add to the file.

The file updates in real-time.  You’ll be able to see somebody adding to the document the moment they do it.  The file is also accessible through mobile web browsers, giving you the ability to edit and view important, secure documents even when you’re not near a computer.