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Using Google Docs for Meeting Notes

Google Docs works well as a tool for meeting notes, and we used it for several years in our company. In this article, we’ll show you when Google Docs is a sensible choice and when it might be better to switch to a different tool.

When we were building our first company, we were looking for a tool for meeting agendas and notes. Since we were already using Google Cloud, Google Docs was an easy choice. For several years, we used Google Docs as our primary tool for meeting notes before developing our own solution, ZipDo. In this article, we aim to present the advantages and disadvantages of using Google Docs for meeting notes – based on our own experience.

Comparing Google Docs and ZipDo for the use case Meeting Notes

What are the advantages of Google Docs for meeting notes?

  • Free/Included: Google Docs is generally free or included if your team uses the Pro version of Google Cloud. Therefore, the barrier to adopting this tool is quite low.
  • Perfect Editor: Google Docs is at least on par with Microsoft Word in quality. It’s reliable, rarely causes issues, and offers everything you would expect from an editor.
  • Collaborative Features: Google Docs continuously adds more collaborative functionalities, making it perfect for meeting notes or agendas. For instance, you can comment on specific points or tag users.

Who is Google Docs suitable for as a meeting note tool?

  • Small startups or freelancers with a tight budget: If you’re just starting to take notes for your meetings, beginning with Google Docs can be a good choice.

What are the alternatives to Google Docs?

From our experience, Google Docs eventually reaches its limits. Individual documents can quickly become cluttered and chaotic, especially with an increasing number of meetings.

Thus, there are various tools specifically focused on the use case of meeting notes. We’ll introduce these in this article.

Here, we want to delve into the differences between Google Docs and our own meeting note software, ZipDo, as we developed ZipDo in response to the limitations of Google Docs.

Comparison 1: Structuring Notes

In Google Docs, you have two options: either create a new document for each meeting or use the same document multiple times. For the former, you can use a folder system in Google Drive to store your documents.

In ZipDo, you can import your meetings from your calendar and place them in channels. This principle is very similar to Slack’s system. You can freely choose channels and organize them by topics or projects, creating an automatic filing system that doesn’t require much thought.

Comparison 2: Meeting Note Editor

Google Docs’ editor offers a variety of functionalities, but most are not primarily designed for meeting notes. We mainly used the comment function, which can become cluttered with many participants.

The editor in ZipDo is more aligned with Notion, offering all essential functionalities, primarily focused on creating and editing meeting notes and agendas.

In Google Docs, you can now select templates, including one for meeting notes. You can assign this template to an event in your calendar, and it will automatically insert all participants (as an example). This is a convenient feature, but it doesn’t solve the overall problem of structuring meeting notes.

Comparison 3: Structuring Notes & Calendar Integration

Google Docs does not offer an integrated link to a calendar. Although there is a feature to automatically create Google documents within Google Calendar, this functionality is quite limited in its use.

In contrast, ZipDo allows for automatic retrieval of meetings from your calendar, or you can create new meetings directly in ZipDo. This offers the advantage of managing everything from a single app, with note documents being automatically generated for each meeting. Thus, there’s virtually no manual effort involved once a meeting is scheduled.

Conclusion

Using Google Docs as the primary tool for meeting notes is a good start. However, if you really want to delve deeper and make your meeting notes sustainable for team use, you should consider acquiring a more specialized tool. In this article, we have compared some functionalities of ZipDo and Google Docs, but you should always consider which features you need for your individual workflow.

You can also read through our article about the best Google Docs Alternatives, where we highlight different Meeting Softwares.