How To Send Direct Messages to Contacts on Google Docs Platform

Google Docs is a powerful online document editing and collaboration platform. With Google Docs, you can create, edit, store and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more – all within your web browser.

One handy but lesser known feature of Google Docs is the ability to chat or send direct messages to your contacts while collaborating on a document. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to send direct messages to your contacts on Google Docs:


Before you can send direct messages on Google Docs, there are a few prerequisites:

  • You need to have a Google account and be signed into your Google account on
  • The document needs to be shared with the contacts you want to message.

Share the Document

To send direct messages, the document first needs to be shared with your contacts:

  1. Open the document in Google Docs that you want to collaborate on.
  2. Click the Share button in the top right.
  3. Enter the emails of the contacts you want to share the document with. Share document
  4. Set the permission level to Can edit if you want the recipients to be able to edit the document or Can comment if you only want them to be able to comment.
  5. Click Send.

An email invite will be sent to the recipients with a link to access the shared document.

Open the Chat

Once your contacts have access to the document, here is how to open the chat:

  1. Make sure you and the recipients you want to chat with are viewing the Google Doc.
  2. In the top right corner, click Show chat. Show chat
  3. The chat window will open on the right side.

Send a Message

With the chat window open, you can start sending direct messages to your contacts:

  1. In the chat window, type your message in the text box at the bottom. Type message
  2. Press Enter to send the message.

The message will instantly appear in the chat window for all participants viewing the document.

Your contacts can then reply back in the chat window and a back and forth conversation can take place.

The chat messages will only be visible to those with access to the Google Doc.

Chat Features and Limitations

The Google Docs chat feature has the following capabilities:

Chat Features

  • Real-time messaging within the Doc
  • See indicators when recipients are typing
  • Replies are threaded to keep conversations organized
  • Chat history is preserved for future reference

However, there are some limitations to be aware of:

Chat Limitations

  • Group chat only (no individual messaging)
  • Max 100 messages stored in history
  • Cannot send attachments
  • Chat is not synced across devices
  • Need to have Doc open to send/receive messages

So while the chat feature is handy for quick, lightweight conversations while collaborating on a Doc, for more advanced messaging needs, a dedicated chat app may be better suited.

Best Practices

To get the most out of Google Docs chat, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Let participants know chat is available in the Doc to encourage usage
  • Set expectations on response time since recipients need Doc open
  • Keep chat window open while collaborating for quick back and forth
  • Use chat for quick questions/clarifications rather than lengthy discussions
  • Copy paste important chat messages into the Doc for reference later


The ability to chat directly within a shared Google Doc streamlines real-time collaboration and conversations considerably. While basic, it removes the need to switch between applications or find contact information.

Next time you want to message contacts while working on a Google Doc, simply start a chat session for efficient communication all within a single document!