How to Edit Google Docs on an iPad

Stay mobile with Google Docs and Google Drive

What to Know

  • Open the Google Docs app on an iPad. Select a document. Click the pencil icon to open the document in editing mode.
  • Use the keyboard to edit as you normally would and format it using familiar tools. Open the information panel for additional options.
  • Share the document with others or mark it as Available offline for later work.

This article explains how the Google Docs iPad app simplifies word processing on the iPad and makes it possible to create, edit, and share Google Docs files anywhere you have internet access. You can even mark your documents for offline editing.

Using the Google Docs App

The Google Docs app works with Google Drive for seamless mobile document editing. Using the app, you can create or open documents and view or edit the files on the iPad. You can share documents, comment on them, and mark them for offline access.

How to Edit Google Docs on iPad

Download the free Google Docs app for iPad from the App Store and log in to your Google account to get started editing on your iPad.

  1. Open the Google Docs app on your iPad.

    The iPad home screen with the Docs app highlighted
  2. Tap the thumbnail image of a document to open it. (If you use the list view rather than the thumbnail view, select the document name in the list.)

    Docs app on iPad showing document thumbnails with one selected
  3. Look at the bottom of the screen for your permissions related to the document you selected. You may see "View Only" or "Comment Only," or you may see a pencil icon in the bottom corner, which indicates you can edit the document. Tap the pencil icon to display the keyboard.

    Google Docs document showing editing pencil icon
  4. Edit the document as you normally would using familiar tools. Position the cursor where you need it to type new text or highlight and replace any existing text.

    A Google Docs document showing editing mode
  5. Use the formatting options at the top of the document as needed.

    Formatting options in Google Docs editing mode
  6. Tap the menu icon in the upper-right corner to open an information panel for the document.

    Menu icon highlighted on Google Docs editing screen
  7. Depending on your permissions, you may select Find and Replace, Share & export, and options for Print layout, Suggest changes, or an option to mark the document for access offline. Additional information includes word count, page setup, and document details.

    Document information panel in Google Docs editing mode
  8. Your changes are saved as you edit. When you finish editing the document, tap the check mark in the upper-left corner to exit editing mode.

    Check mark icon highlighted to exit editing mode

How to Share a Google Docs File

To share one of the files you uploaded to your Google Drive with others:

  1. Open the file in the Google Docs app on your iPad by tapping its thumbnail image (or its name in list view). Tap the Sharing icon at the top of the screen.

    Google Doc sharing icon
  2. Add the email addresses of the people you want to share the document with in the Add people or groups field of the Sharing pane.

    Sharing pane in Google Docs iPad app
  3. Assign privileges to the sharing recipients by choosing Viewer, Commenter, or Editor. Select Add a message and enter any information you want the recipients to have.

    Sharing pane showing assigned privileges
  4. Tap the send icon.

    Sharing pane Send button in Google Docs

Viewing Google Docs Offline

If you know that your iPad will be offline at some point, take advantage of the Google Docs app feature that lets you mark documents for access while offline.

  1. Open the document in the Google Docs app for iPad. Tap the menu icon to open the information panel for the document.

    Google Docs iPad app with menu icon highlighted
  2. Turn on the slider next to Available offline. You will see a confirmation that says, "File now available offline."

    The Available offline option in Google Docs app for iPad
  3. When you are offline, open your Google Docs app and look for the Available offline icon on any document you marked as available.

    Google Docs iPad app showing available offline badge

    Open the document and edit it as usual on your iPad. Any changes you make sync with your Google Drive account the next time your iPad is online.

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