G Suite, (formerly Google Applications or Google Apps) is a set of various tools created by Google. The tools in G Suite can be used to create, edit, and share documents and projects. They have collaborative functions that make them particularly useful to students who may need to coordinate group work or ask an instructor for feedback. There are many Google tools, but this guide focuses on the ones most likely to be useful to students and instructors.
Google’s email tool was previously only available for personal use, but now more businesses and schools are adopting the professional version of Gmail. If you already use a personal Gmail account, you can stay signed into both accounts on your Chrome browser. Keep both inboxes open at once, or toggle between them by clicking on your Google Account icon at the top far right of the page. This will automatically show a list of the Google Accounts you are signed into, and allow you to select the account you wish to work from.
Slides is Google’s presentation application, and can be used like PowerPoint to create presentations to be shared in person or online. Slides is a flexible tool that can be used to make visually dynamic presentations with interactive elements. Just like Docs and Sheets, Slides can be used collaboratively, from anywhere with internet.
Google’s Calendar is one of its older tools, and can be used for scheduling events, appointments, and meetings, as well as generating notifications and reminders of upcoming deadlines. Events can be created by one user and shared with others, who can then share or edit the event as well as adding it to their own calendars. The Google calendar interface is also particularly useful for designating study time and planning on a project by project basis.
Google’s Drive application is a cloud-based storage service. Documents, spreadsheets, and slides you create in other Google tools will automatically save to your Drive, and you can send links to other people to share your work. You can edit the privacy settings on your documents so they can be viewed, shared, edited, or all three. You can also limit who can view your documents to a single other Google Account, or make it accessible to everyone at your work or school without making it public to the internet. Drive is available to work with anywhere with internet access, and if you install Drive on your computer, you can work offline and the changes will be saved when you reconnect to the internet.
Sheets is Google’s spreadsheet tool. Sheets can be used for any project you would do using Microsoft Excel. There are templates available for commonly needed spreadsheets such as monthly and annual budgets, or you can create your own new spreadsheet for your project. Just like you can upload Word documents to be edited in Docs, you can upload Excel projects to work with in Sheets.