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Getting Started

This page is for people who have just received a new Google Account (such as jane.doe@orgname.com) for managing an activity using Google Apps.

This is a Quick Tour to get you started.  It guides you through some initial steps to familiarize you with your new account and the Google Apps services that have been setup for your activity.  

And once you're through the basics, there's much more information available in the rest of this help site.

Day 1

Here are some basic steps to give you a feel for where you would do different tasks:

Prerequisites

To run through this page you'll need: Google Account email address and Password to sign in to the account.  These should have already been provided to you.

Login

Go to: www.google.com (or any of the other URLs below), click on the 'Sign On' button use your full email address and the password.  Once you're signed on you can run through all these 'warm up' activities.

Notes:
  • If you're already familiar with Google services from having a consumer Gmail account, the services within Google Apps work pretty much the same, however there are some differences -- the largest being the email address is abc@orgname.com rather than abc@gmail.com -- which we'll get into much later.
  • There's a black menubar across the top of the browser window that lists several popular Google Services such as: Mail, Calendar, Drive/Docs, Groups, Sites, etc.  You can click on any of these elements to access the service.

Gmail

The login takes you to the Gmail account. 

Click on Mail up top, or go to mail.google.com.

If you're already familiar with Gmail:
  • Then you're pretty well set.  Just note that I've already tucked away some setup items into folders that start 'z-...'.  I also may have created a filter that forwards your ORG-<your-activity> calendar reminder email messages to your Google Group.
If Gmail is new to you:
  • Well we're not including a full tutorial here.  In the Gmail web interface can be pretty intuitive after a couple days.  I'll mention two significant differences from most web-based email accounts:  First rather than 'Folders', Gmail uses 'Labels - this difference is that a message can have several labels assigned (like filing it into several folders without copying it).  Second, there's an 'All Mail' folder that holds everything (Since basically you have all you mail with most mail having one or more labels.  For more help on GMail refer to our User Help/Gmail page.

Calendars

Click on Calendars up top, or go to calendar.google.com. The large calendar shows the events that are present in the various calendars setup in your account.  Click to view details, or click on a blank slot to create a new event.  Your Google Calendars page shows several calendars in a list down the left side, a personal calendar for the account (default), but more importantly a calendar(s) for your activity ORG-<activity>, plus the US holiday. This page is where you go to edit your activity's calendar. When you add an event, make sure you add it to the ORG-<activity> calendar and not the account's personal calendar.  Learn more about using calendars at our User Help/Calendar page

Groups

Click on the Groups button or go to groups.google.com, then click on 'My Groups' to see the ORG-<activity> group. Click on the group to go to it's main page. You can see the posts here, and create new ones ('New Topic' button) or reply to existing posts. Open a couple posts to see what they look like, and click on the various drop down arrows to get a quick feel for some of the commands available to you.

Managing a Group: Near the top right there's a 'Manage' link -- click it to enter the group management area. There are a series of menus down the left side. The top section deals with membership - 'All members' to view the current members, and the other sub-menus to manage the process of adding new ones. That's really the only part of the management that you'll need to use, (the rest is already setup).

Steps to get your group operational:
  • Before adding members,
    • Try a couple test posts.  
      • Send one from the Google Groups page (Create Post button), and 
      • Send an email to the group at ORG-<your-group>@orgname.com.
      • Review the email message you received from the group. Note the footer has info such as accessing the site, unsubscribing and posting to the group.
    • Next try deleting the post(s) you've just created.  This is done using the Google Group page - click the post to open it for reading, then use the drop-down arrow in the top right to select 'Delete Post'.  Note deleting a post can't pull-back any mail that has already been sent to members, but it can help to clean up the posting archives viewable online.
  • Now it's time to add members.
    • The steps are fully described in our Google Apps Help Guide on the Manager-Help/Groups page
    • If you already have an email list that you regularly use (so it's pretty clean), the best method is to 'Direct Add' the members - it's far faster and less work than inviting people and waiting for them to join.

Sites

Click on the sites button in the top menu or go to sites.google.com to see a list of your Google Sites. This should include the ORG-<your-activity> site, and you can click on the site name to open the site.  

For starters the site has been setup to bring together your activity's various services in one place, and probably contains a various 'boilerplate' text (since it was created from an ORG site template).  Some boilerplate content may be good enough for the moment, but you'll likely want to add more valuable personalized content for your activity soon.  Two places that I recommend starting are: Home page - what are the most important things you want on this page, and About page.

Your manager account has been setup as an owner and editor of this site (more about sharing editing responsibilities with others later).  Note when you go to the your Google Site while you're logged into your account, there's an extra row of controls across the top of the page which allow you to edit and manage the site (these only appear if a person has permission to edit a site).  These controls are what you use to edit the site (namely the 'pencil' button to edit a page, the '+' button to add a new page, the 'Share' button to adjust permissions, and the 'Manage' button for everything else.

Note that basic exiting of text on a site isn't too difficult after you've done it a few times.  However, for truth in disclosure, major site changes will be the most difficult part of managing/maintaining your activity's operations in Google Apps.

Drive

Click on the Drive button in the top menu or go to drive.google.com to see a list of your Google Drive area. This is a file sharing space. You can create files using Google Docs tools like documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, and files in this format can be edited online (even by multiple people simultaneously). You can also upload files from your computer for sharing, using the red upload button. 

It has been setup with one or more folders that are configured to share files with your group. When you upload or create a file in one of these folders, the new item will assume the same permissions settings as the folder (and can be subsequently altered as desired).

Permissions

Google provides a lot of flexibility for how services can be shared with others.  The ability to view a site, calendar, and each other service can be selectively tuned.  Editor and Manager/Owner permissions can also be granted to others as necessary so the entire job of maintaining the environment doesn't fall onto your shoulders alone.  Sharing permissions can be granted to individuals or groups, and even the public as desired.

Your activity's environment is already configured so you don't have to make any specific changes immediately, and the Google Apps Sys Admin can assist in refining your permission settings.

Conclusion

So those are the basics, but that should help you get started. Perhaps later we'll consider adding some 'Day 2' materials.

When you're ready to learn more, or have specific questions, there's the rest of this help guide.