Embedding a Google Doc

If you have Internet access and a Google account (and who doesn’t?), you may know that Google Docs is a handy way to create a document you can store on Google Drive, and also print or download if you wish.

A Google Doc can also be embedded into a website. The embed is dynamic and shows the current version of the Doc. That means you can change what a visitor sees on the webpage simply by editing the Google Doc. In theory, since Google Docs can be shared for collaborative work, this allows a group of people to participate in updating a website just by editing one or more Google Docs.

Unfortunately, embedding a Google Doc doesn’t work as well as one might hope for anything other than a Google Site. To the left you see a reduced size snapshot of a Google Doc that I created to experiment with embedding. As the snapshot shows, the document was formatted to center the title at the top of the page and to have the text wrap around the two included drawings.

Below I’ve added an embed of this same Doc. As you can see, the embed doesn’t preserve the formatting. Also, to get the embedded document to display in a frame large enough for viewing, I had to tweak the embed code Google provided, changing the HTML to add width and height parameters.

Google Docs also offers the option of sharing documents via a link. However, when documents are shared in this way, there are again problems with formatting in the web page that’s displayed when you follow the link Google provides. You can see this by clicking on this link for sharing the Sample Document.