Accessing Google Docs on Android

April 10, 2011, By Christian Cawley

With an Android device you have a world of mobile computing options at your fingertips. Email, the web, telephone in most cases and the extensions offered by the apps in the market make android a very attractive option.

If you’re lucky the mobile network or carrier that you go with will even have provided office software on your mobile device or tablet so that you can maximise productivity while on the road or in the air.
However not all phones and tablets powered by android have this option. So what do you do if you want to create or edit a document on your Android?

The answer is simple – you use Google docs!

Accessing Google Docs on Android

Accessing Google Docs with My Docs

You might think that integration with Google Docs is something that Android already features – but you would be wrong. Unlike Windows Phone 7 which has a version of Microsoft Office Mobile pre-installed, Android Phones don’t have any tools for accessing or editing Google Docs other than via the browser. While this might be a useful solution for tablets, it’s not great for phones.

To take better advantage of Google Docs on your Android phone or tablet you will need to install the free My Docs app from the Android Market. This app gives you full access to existing documents that you might have created previously as well as offering the functionality to create brand new documents on your Android device.

Using My Docs to Edit Google Docs

Once the app is installed you can launch My Docs from the Apps list, although you might prefer to create a widget on your Home screen for quickly accessing your Google Docs account.

Opening My Docs (either from the Apps list or by tapping the upper-left corner of the widget) will display the My Docs menu, where you can use the Search option to find documents you have already written with Google Docs. New Document and New Spreadsheet are self-explanatory, and give you the option to give the document a filename before taking you to the browser window where the document is ready to be edited, which can be performed by tapping Edit.

Also of use is the Upload button, which will let you browse your phone or tablet for any documents (typically those created in Microsoft Office) and upload them to Google Docs.

You will note that My Docs only offers synchronization with Google Document and Google Spreadsheet; support for the Presentation software is limited to viewing via the Search tool.

Starting New Google Docs with the My Docs Widget

If you opted to use the My Docs widget you can start a new document very quickly by tapping New > Document. Again this will take you to the New Document Title screen before loading the blank document up in a browser window.

You’ll be interested to know that this guide was written on Google Document using the My Docs app on an Android tablet, a pretty good demonstration of how easy it is to use and just how much more powerful a tablet becomes with integration to Google Docs!

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