Editing Google Docs on the Go

Pen and MoleskinsGoogle recently announced that it is now possible to edit Google Docs directly on your mobile device. That’s exciting news to us here at ProfHacker, as we’ve frequently discussed how Google Docs can power your teaching or research. Now Google Docs can do the same for you on the go.

Before you try editing a Google document on your mobile device, be aware that you need at least Android 2.2 or iOS 3.0 on your iPhone/Touch/Pad. Sadly this limitation leaves behind Android users who are stuck on 2.1 or 1st generation iPod Touch users.

But if you do have a supported mobile device, it’s easy to figure out how to use Google Docs on the go. Simply visit in your phone or iPad’s browser, open up one of your documents, and press the edit button in the upper right of the screen.

Edit Button on Google Docs Mobile

Once you’ve clicked edit, your virtual keyboard pops up (if you have one instead of a physical keyboard) and the document is divided into editable blocks. Just click and type!

Editing a Google Doc on the Go

These images are from my Android phone, and as much as I love the phone, I can’t really envision doing any substantive editing on such a small screen with such a small keyboard. Where editing Google Docs on the go really shines is on the iPad. The larger screen and larger virtual keyboard make it quite possible to do light-editing of existing documents (not to mention creating new ones):Editing Google Docs on the iPad

You’ll notice that there is no editing toolbar, meaning you can only edit in plain text. Any kind of bold or italicized formatting will have to wait until you open the document in a full-fledged browser.

You’ll also notice–and this is quite amazing—that if you are working on a shared document, your collaborators will see any changes you make on your mobile device on their screens almost instantly. Not only can you edit a Google Doc on your phone, you can do so in near real-time.

Of course, being a hacker by nature, I’m not so much interested in the mobile editing feature itself as in what can you do with it. You now have the capability to edit a Google Doc from your Android or iPhone/iPad. So what are you going to do with that capability? How might this capability change your teaching or research?

[Moleskine's and Montblanc Macro image courtesy of Flickr user Mecookie / Creative Commons Licensed]

Return to Top