Getting Started with Google Draw

One of the lesser known Google Apps is Google Drawing. Google Drawing is really powerful and easy to use! Use Google Drawing to make your posters and flyers. Like other Google Docs, Google Drawing is collaborative. This means you do not need to print out your flyer and walk across campus to get it approved. Simply share the Drawing with a colleague and let them make any changes that are needed. Google Drawing is always current. The drawings can be published to a website. Any changes made in the drawing will be updated in the embedded files. Here is a short tutorial to get you started.

Google Drive

Start in Google Drive ( Click on the “NEW” button and choose “Google Drawings” from the “More” menu options.
Google Drive Google Draw


Share with Collaborators

Allow others to create your drawing with you. Click on the blue share button in the upper right hand corner to give viewing or editing rights to others. More than one person can be drawing on the canvas at the same time.
Blue Share Button

Resize the Canvas

Oftentimes when I am making a drawing I do not want it to be the size of an entire piece of paper. Use the File menu to choose “Page setup…”
Google Drawing Page SetUp

Instead of the default 4:3 ratio, click on the drop down menu to choose “Custom.”

The default measurement is in inches. I prefer to measure my drawings in pixels, but that is up to you.

I frequently use a 300×300 pixel canvas for my drawings since I am recently into drawing badges and images for my blog posts. Choose the size that works best for you.
300 by 300

Drag the Edge

Alternatively, the bottom right hand corner of the drawing canvas allows you to manually resize the canvas by dragging the edge to adjust width and height.
Google Drawing drag bottom right corner


Auto Zoom

Note that when you resize the canvas Google Drawing automatically zooms in on your drawing. It may appear that your resizing did not work, however the canvas size was changed.  Use the “View” menu to choose different zoom options to zoom in or out.


Draw a Rectangle

Use the shapes icon in the toolbar to choose the “Shapes” menu and select rectangle.
Shapes Menu

Hold down the mouse and drag to create a rectangle. Match the size of the rectangle to the canvas to create your background. The default color of the rectangle is blue. While the rectangle is selected (notice the blue resizing dots on the corners and sides) click on the paint can in the toolbar to choose a new fill color.
Fill Color

Remove Border

While the rectangle is selected click on the pencil icon next to the paint can icon. Change the border to transparent.
Remove Border

Create a Text Header

Use the rounded rectangle shape under the shapes menu to create a spot for the header.
Rounded Rectangle

Draw the rectangle across the top where you would like your text to go.
Rounded Rectangle


While the rectangle is selected (blue dots on the corners and edges) change the fill color to a contrasting color to your background by clicking on the paint can. You may also want to change or remove the border to the rounded rectangle by clicking on the pencil icon. The two icons in the toolbar to the right of the pencil icon allow you to change the thickness of the border or create dashed or dotted lines.
Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 10.20.11 PM


Add Text

If you double click on a shape in Google Drawing you can add text to the shape. Usually I prefer to draw a text box over the drawing instead. In the toolbar, click on the text icon of a T in a rectangle.

Click and drag to size the textbox on top of the rounded rectangle. Type the text of your header into the textbox. Highlight the text in the textbox. Look for the alignment icon in the toolbar. Depending on the size of your screen this icon may be under the “More” options in the toolbar. Choose to center the text both horizontally and vertically. The icon with two arrows pushing towards the center line will align your text vertically.

With the text still highlighted you can change the font by clicking on the default font of “Arial” in the toolbar. Google Fonts has hundreds of fonts to choose from. If the font choices presented are not what you are looking for choose “More fonts” at the bottom of the font options.

Add a Circle

To create a circle go to the shapes menu from the toolbar and choose oval. To create a perfect circle hold down the shift key while you draw the circle. Change the fill colors and border choices as you choose.

Draw a second perfect circle. Have the 2nd circle slightly overlap the first circle. Note that if you have a shape selected when you choose to draw a new shape, the new shape will take on the properties of the selected shape. For example, If click on the rounded rectangle, which in my drawing is light green with a black border, then my new shape will also be light green with a black border.

Group the Circles

To group multiple shapes together you want to hold down the shift key as you click on each shape. Select the first circle and while holding down the shift key click on the second circle. This will cause both shapes to be selected at the same time. Use the “Arrange” menu to choose to “Group” the shapes. This will allow you to move the group of shapes.

Draw a Straight Line

At the bottom of your drawing draw a straight line. The line icon in the toolbar will allow you to draw lines. To ensure that your line is perfectly straight, hold down the shift key as you draw the line.

Use the line thickness icon in the toolbar, to the right of the pencil, to make the line thickness 16 pixels.


Drag an Image

To add a picture to your drawing simply drag the picture from your desktop onto the canvas. You can also drag images from other webpages onto the canvas. Be sure you have permission to use the pictures.

Rotate the Image

Click on the image in the Google Drawing to select it. Notice that a rotating handle appears at the top center of the image. Click and hold down on the rotating handle as you turn the drawing to one side.

Remove Extra Canvas

If you have any extra canvas you will want to remove it. The checked background in a Google Drawing is letting you know that the canvas is transparent instead of white. When creating drawings you do not want extra canvas around your drawing. Create your drawing in the upper left hand corner and drag the bottom right hand corner to remove extra canvas.
Remove Extra Google Drawing Canvas


Download Drawing

Use the File menu to download your drawing. Choose “Download as…” from the menu and download it as a PNG image. If you have any transparency (checked background showing) in the drawing the PNG will preserve the transparency. Note that once you download the drawing, the PNG file will NOT update as edits are made to the drawing.

Publish to the Web

If you wish to embed or link to your drawing instead of downloading the drawing use the File menu and choose “Publish to the web…”

Click on “Embed” and click the blue “Publish” button. This will give you an embed code you can copy and paste into your website HTML to display the image.