Friday, July 29, 2011

Spreadsheet Shortcuts now available

Spreadsheets shortcuts
Although shortcuts have long been available in your Google spreadsheets, we've added a shortcuts menu to spreadsheets to make them easier to find -- saving you even more time. Hit Ctrl+/ (or Cmd+/ on a Mac) to pull up the list of shortcuts and learn new ways to sharpen your spreadsheet skills. Remember that shortcuts can vary depend on the operating system and browser you're using -- the example below is the menu you’d see if you were using a Chrome browser on a Mac.

Make multiple calls in Gmail

Over the years, we've expanded Gmail's communication abilities by allowing you to make voice and video calls to other computers and more recently call phones. Until now, though, you were limited to making one call at a time. Today we're excited to relax that restriction and allow you to make or receive multiple calls in Gmail. 

If you’re in a call and make a second one, your first call will be put on hold while you talk on your new call. You can switch between calls by pressing the “Resume” button on the call you want to talk on, which will automatically put the previous call on hold.

Receiving incoming calls while you're in another call is just as easy: you'll receive a notification of the incoming call and can choose to accept it or not. If you take the new call, the previous call will be put on hold.

Whether you make a second call or not, you can now put any call on hold — useful in case you need to talk to someone in the room or grab something off the stove. Just press the “Hold” button and then “Resume” to start talking again.

This feature works across all call types (voice, video, and phone); the only restriction is that a maximum of two outgoing calls to physical phones can be placed at once.

Improved sharing and more with Google Docs for Mobile

Google recently updated the look of Google Docs for mobile browsers and added the ability to sort, narrow, and share multiple docs in your mobile docs list.

How to access what's new:
- Go to from your supported device’s browser.
- Press ‘Sort’ to organize the list of docs visible in the mobile browser, or press ‘Narrow by’ to specify the subset of docs you’d like to see.
- To share from your mobile docs list, select one or more documents, press the Share button, and select ‘Share’, ‘Get the link to share’ for public or unlisted docs, or ‘Email as attachment’.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tips for getting more done in Google Docs

Moumita at spur-of-the-moment blog put together a great list of features in Google Docs. Some may be a reminder, but many will probably be new to you. Take a read and you'll probably be more efficient by the end of the day. The following is from: spur-of-the-moment

Some tips for getting more done by exploring some of the less obvious features in its word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation software—in Google Docs.
Search Google Docs and Gmail together
You will be able to search both Gmail and your list of Google documents at the same time with Gmail Labs. To get to the Labs from Gmail, click Settings in the top right portion of the screen, and then click the Labs link. Scroll down to the Apps Search entry; there, click Enable, and then click the Save Changes button at the top or bottom of the list. Hereafter, any search that you request within Gmail will also search your documents, and the doc results will appear in the Gmail results.
More efficient Google Docs search
You can filter your searches on the home page by using operators, such as “type: spreadsheet”, which will return only matches from spreadsheets in the search results. 
Quickly back up all your documents offline
Save all of the documents that exist on Google’s servers to your hard drive, by hovering mouse over any file in the Google Docs homepage file listing. Next, choose Actions and choose Download in the menu that appears.
Max out your editing space
To mislay the toolbar and use your entire browser window for editing, select View and then Hide Controls. To bring the toolbar back, press Esc.
In Google Chrome, you can merge this setting with the full-screen mode to give the entire screen to editing. The menu will be visible once more if you place your cursor to the top of the screen, and clicking the Restore button will return the window to normal.
Share docs with non-Google Docs users
Google Docs is all about collaboration, and you can even permit people who don’t have a Google account to view and edit your documents.
To share a file, click the padlock icon alongside the document title at the top left of the window. In the dialog box that appears, select Change alongside the Private entry in the list. In the new dialog box, select either Public on the Web or Anyone with the Link. If you want viewers to be able to edit the document as well as just to see it, put a check next to Allow Anyone to Edit. Then click the Save button, and copy and paste the link into one or more e-mail messages.
Star multiple documents at once
Adding a star to a document is a useful way to make it stand out from other entries in a homepage list.
On the Docs homepage, you can insert stars to multiple files by selecting them in the usual way: Hold down command or shift as you selecting the file name. Then drag the file name onto the top of the Starred entry in the filter list at the top left of the interface.  
 View a video’s technical details
You can store files, such as videos, in Google Docs. Just click the Upload button, and select your video file.
Right-click the thumbnail preview of any video file on the home page and select Show Video Info to see technical details about the file, such as its resolution.
Explore the templates
Many people don’t realize that Google’s word processor and spreadsheet tools offer hundreds of document templates, including some extremely sophisticated ones for tax work and other specialized purposes.
To view the document templates, select Create New and then From Template on the Docs homepage.
Click and drag images into docs
To insert a picture into a word processing document, click and drag the image from a folder on your hard drive or on your desktop into the browser window.
Fix pictures in position
You can fix images into position within documents, forcing text to flow around them.
To fix the picture to the page so that it remains stationary while text flows around it (the only way to move the picture is to click and drag it). First select the image and then, at the bottom, click Fixed.  
Insert links in a snap
The most common way to insert a hyperlink into a text document is to choose Insert and then Link, or to press command-K. But if you’re using Google Chrome, another option is to click and drag a shortcut from the bookmarks toolbar or even from the bookmarks menu to the To What URL field, where it will instantly become a hyperlink.
You can even drag links straight from the bookmarks toolbar and the bookmarks menu onto the document to create hyper-linked text. 
Use Bookmarks to navigate long documents
Within word processing documents, you can define bookmarks and then create links elsewhere that jump straight to that bookmark. This can be useful when you’re creating table-of-contents pages, for example.
To insert a bookmark, choose Insert and then Bookmark. To create a link to a bookmark, highlight the word or phrase that you want people to click in order to jump to the bookmark, and then press command-K. Then select the Bookmark radio button in the resulting dialog box, and select the bookmark that you created earlier.
Use the word processor to create Web pages
If you find HTML or Website design software a little baffling, you can instead use Google’s word processor to create simple Web pages. To insert pictures, click and drag them onto the browser window, as mentioned above; insert links by highlighting the text or image file and pressing command-K.
Once you’ve created a page, click File, then Download As, and then HTML (Zipped) to download the data. The resulting folder will contain a single HTML file along with a folder of support files. Rename the HTML file as index.html, and upload that file and the folder of supporting files to your Web space.  
Work with multiple currencies in a spreadsheet
To set the base currency format for a spreadsheet, click File and then Spreadsheet Settings. Alter the Locale setting to the relevant country (United States for the dollar, for example).
Regardless of the Locale setting you choose, you can mark cells or ranges of cells to be formatted in a different currency. To do so, highlight those cells and click the More Formats button (labeled ‘123’) on the toolbar. Then scroll down to the More Currencies pop-up menu and make your selection. 
 Use Rules to color code spreadsheets
You can automatically change the color of spreadsheet cells based on their content. To do so, highlight the cells that you want to apply color coding to, and select first Format and then Change Colors with Rules.
From the drop down list in the dialog box, choose the criterion that you want the color coding to filter by—the text of the cell, say, or the date. Then enter the filtering criterion that you want to use into the text field alongside. For example, to color-code all cells containing the name “Melvin,” select Text Contains from the drop down list, and enter Melvin into the text field. (The field isn’t case-sensitive). 
Gather spreadsheet data using forms
Forms provide a quick way to satisfy this need, offering simple multiple-question interfaces that you can e-mail to people or include on Web pages.
To get started, open a new spreadsheet and click on the Form menu; then choose Create a Form. Once your questions are complete, e-mail the form to its intended recipients by clicking the Email This Form button.
Any data that people enter on your form will appear at the top of the spreadsheet. You can manage or delete forms by using the Form menu within the spreadsheet.
See Google Docs previews in Gmail
For a live preview (within the Gmail window) of a Google Docs link that you’ve received via e-mail, activate the Google Docs Previews in Mail add-on in Google Labs. To access Labs, choose Settings and then Labs. Once you’ve found the Google Docs Previews in Mail add-on, choose Enable and then click the Save Settings button. 
Create drawings within presentations
When creating a presentation, you needn’t switch to the separate drawing component to make a sketch. Instead, click Insert and then Drawing. These commands will open the drawing interface in a floating window.
When you’re finished, click Save and then Close to insert the drawing into the presentation, where you can change the position and resize it.
Save drawings in scalable form
If you create a drawing in Google Docs and want to download it for offline use, be sure to select the SVG option from the File, Download As menu. Doing so will create a scalable file—a drawing that you can resize without causing its quality to deteriorate, unlike JPEG and PNG files.

Keep tabs on your email with read receipts

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 02:40 PM PDT
Posted by Carl Haverl, Software Engineer

We’re always listening to your ideas about features you’d like to see in Google Apps, and many of you have asked for a better way to track your email communications in Gmail. Consider your message to us delivered: today we’re introducing read receipts as an optional feature for Google Apps for Business and Google Apps for Government accounts.

Read receipts allow senders to monitor the status of the messages they send and allow recipients to acknowledge receipt of mail. Let’s say John works in sourcing for his company and wants to make sure that his suppliers receive his purchase orders. As he sends each one out, John can request a receipt and later check that the recipients have received the orders. Conversely, if someone sends John a message with a request for receipt, Gmail can send a receipt to the sender when John opens the message. Read receipts work both internally within your organization and externally, so they can help improve communications with customers and partners.

Google Apps admins can now log in to the control panel to enable read receipts for their domain. Administrators can choose whether users need to manually approve receipts or whether receipts can be sent automatically. Automatic receipts can only be sent to users within the same domain and to a list of email addresses defined by the administrator.

To activate read receipts, log in to the administrative control panel of your Google Apps for Business or Government account and look for “Email read receipts” on the Settings page for email. For more information, please see our Help Center. As always, we welcome your feedback in the comments below.
Posted: 18 Jul 2011 11:58 AM PDT
Posted by Jeremy Milo, Google Apps Marketing Manager

Google Apps has come a long way since its introduction a few years ago, with continuous improvements every week rather than disruptive shifts every few years. It’s like watching your kids grow up; you don’t notice the changes from day to day, but look back at a photo from last year and the differences can be striking.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll take a look back to revisit key innovations from the last few years in four categories that define Google Apps: team collaboration, mobile productivity, ease of use, and trustworthiness. Today we’re starting with Gmail and Google Calendar, and many of the capabilities below have become customer favorites. If you’d like to hear more about these developments, we invite you to join our webinaron Wednesday (details below).

Designed for Teams
Google Apps makes working in teams easier. Gmail and Google Calendar support teamwork in ways that traditional applications just can’t offer. Give these features a try if they’re new to you, or take a fresh look if it’s been a while:
  • Have an instant message conversation right from your inbox, and once you’re chatting, switch to a voice, video or group chat. It all works in the browser, not in another application.
  • When a contact isn’t online to chat, call their phone right from Gmail with your computer’s speakers and microphone.
  • Gmail helps you connect with the right people when you send traditional email messages, too, with full-fledged capabilities first tested as Labs features. By analyzing signals in your email, Gmail recommends recipients you might have forgotten, and displays a warning when you might have added the wrong person.
  • Once you’ve started an email conversation, Gmail’s people widget shows how you’ve interacted with recipients recently over email, in meetings and through shared documents.
  • Google Apps supports over 40 languages, and automatic translation can really help break down language barriers. Gmail’s message translation feature instantly converts foreign text to your native language. Translation bots provide real-time translation in chat, so you can even IM with people in other languages.
  • Finding a good meeting time with a group of busy people can be a chore, so we introduced the smart scheduler in Google Calendar Labs. This tool automatically explores everyone’s schedule to find the best times when attendees can all get together.
  • Appointment slots also simplifies meeting scheduling by letting you establish open meeting times that other people in your organization can sign themselves up for, like “office hours”.
  • Once you’ve set up a meeting, we know there’s often meeting-related content to be shared with attendees. The event attachments Lab in Google Calendar lets you add Google Docs files to meetings, so everyone has the right information at their fingertips.
  • And sometimes you just need help managing email, contacts and calendar, and that’s where account delegation comes into play. Gmail and Google Calendar allow you to designate others who can manage your email, appointments and contacts on your behalf.

Productive Anywhere
Communication tools wouldn’t be much good if you were required to work from your desk, which is why we support full access to email, contacts and calendar on any modern browser and all major mobile device platforms.

Simple & Affordable
We built Gmail and Google Calendar to stay out of your way and help you handle tasks quickly. At $50 per user per year or $5 per month with no commitment, Google Apps packs a powerful punch in an intuitive package that anyone can use.
  • With 25GB of email storage for every employee, the ability to handleattachments up to 20MB apiece and room for 25,000 contacts, Gmail is designed so you can stop worrying about account capacity and focus on more productive things.
  • With all that space for email, you need a fast and reliable way to find old messages, and the power of Google search is essential. Gmail’s search options quickly tame even the largest message archives.
  • Priority Inbox learns patterns in how you use email, and automatically filters incoming email to put the most important messages – email from your boss perhaps – right at the top. We found this feature alone saves people 6% of the time they spend on email.
  • Keeping spam out of your inbox is another big productivity booster, and Gmail's spam filters are continuously improved to weed out unsafe and unwanted messages.
  • Like the great cilantro debate, some people like their email as threaded “conversations”, while others prefer a traditional inbox displaying individual messages. You can have it either way in Gmail now, threaded or unthreaded.
  • Instead of downloading attachments and opening them with another application, Gmail lets you view over a dozen different attachment types right in your browser. It’s faster, safer and more affordable than opening attachments with other software.
  • Beyond attachments, Gmail lets you preview other types of content without leaving your inbox, like YouTube videos, Google Docs, Google Maps locations and Picasa slideshows. You can even build custom content gadgets for other types of data residing in your existing business systems.
  • Gmail also helps you avoid email snafus, like forgetting to add an attachment. You’ll see an attachment warning if it looks like you meant to send a file but didn’t add one.
  • When you write a message and immediately have sender’s regret, just use the undo send Lab to recall the message. This lets you edit and resend, or just discard the message.
  • If working with a mouse just isn’t fast enough, try Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts. You can power through your inbox faster than ever by learning a few simple keystroke combinations.
  • Google Calendar helps frequent flyers manage their appointments with time zone auto-detect. This feature recognizes where in the world you are, and automatically adjusts your schedule to reflect local time.
  • Last but not least, an oldie but a goodie: quick add in Google Calendar. Instead of filling out a form to create a new event, just summarize your event in natural language (like “Revew budget with Clark next Tuesday at 2pm”), then click “Add”.

Pure & Proven Cloud
Not only do Gmail and Google Calendar help boost productivity, they’re more reliable than traditional systems. Many customers also feel that their data is safer than ever with Google Apps.
  • Over the course of 2010, Gmail was available 99.984% of the time, and so far in 2011 we're at 99.99%. That’s less than seven minutes of downtime per month, a 40-fold improvement over traditional systems.
  • Our publicly available status dashboard offers transparency about the health of our systems, and 24x7 phone and online support is there when you need it.
  • Google goes to extensive lengths to protect the customer information in our data centers, including extensive personnel background checks, security-focused processes, advanced technology, and around-the-clock physical protection.
  • Gmail and Google Calendar have completed a SAS 70 Type II audit, and have achieved the U.S. Federal goverment’s FISMA certification.
  • With default https connections, your messages are always encrypted as they travel from your web browser to our servers. This helps protect your data by making it unreadable to others sharing your network.
  • Google Apps accounts can be further secured with 2-step verification, which requires users to sign in with something they know (their password) and something they have (their mobile phone). With verification codes available via SMS, even basic mobile phones can serve as powerful authentication devices.

As you can see, we’ve been busy making Gmail and Google Calendar better and better, so if you haven’t explored some of these recent improvements, maybe it’s time to take another look. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New! Pick your favorite inbox style

New! Pick your favorite inbox style

Ever felt like there should be a better way to manage your inbox? There are already lots of different ways: some people read everything, some mark messages they need to take action on with stars, and others like to have their important email separated from the rest automatically — something Gmail started offering last year with Priority Inbox.

Over the coming weeks, we're rolling out several new inbox styles to help you manage your mail in the way that works best for you. Once it’s turned on for your account, you can easily choose a style from the tabs at the top of your inbox:

  • Classic - This is the default inbox style most people are used to. In the Classic inbox, messages are ordered chronologically, with your most recent email at the top.
  • Priority Inbox - Important and unread messages appear at the top of your inbox, then starred messages, then everything else. Each section can be customized further, so you can create your own inbox style.
  • Important first - This style puts important mail at the top of the page (both read and unread messages). Everything else is in its own section at the bottom of your inbox. You may have noticed that we turned on importance arrows for everyone a few weeks ago; this inbox style separates messages with these arrows from those without.
  • Unread first - Simple: unread mail at the top; everything else at the bottom.
  • Starred first - Starred messages at the top; everything else at the bottom.
After you've settled on a style you like and used it for about a week, these tabs will go away, You can always change your inbox style from the drop down menu next to the Inbox label or from the Settings page.

So try on a new inbox style and see what fits you best!

Share your docs on the go with the improved Google Docs for mobile

Share your docs on the go with the improved Google Docs for mobile
Google Docs is about collaboration, but as many of us know, others often rely on us even when we’re nowhere near a computer. That’s why we’re excited to bring the features you need to your tablet and mobile device’s browser. Today, we've updated the look of Google Docs for mobile browsers and added the ability to sort, narrow, and share multiple docs in your mobile docs list.

To get started, go to from your supported device’s browser. Press Sort to organize the list of docs visible in the mobile browser, or press Narrow by to specify the subset of docs you’d like to see.

To share from your mobile docs list, select one or more documents, press the Share button, and select Share, Get the link to share for public or unlisted docs, or Email as attachment. Sharing a doc in your mobile browser works the same way as it does on the desktop.

We’re committed to improving the experience of accessing your docs from your mobile device. We’d love to hear what you think is working and what isn’t in our support forums as well as in the comments of this post.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

New interface available for Gmail and Google Calendar

Improvements to the interface for Gmail and Google Calendar are now available to preview via an Opt-In setting. These changes will be rolled out in full later this year, but you can test our sleeker look immediately. 

How to access what's new:
To enable the new look in Gmail, click on the gears icon and choose ‘Mail settings.’ On the Settings page click on the ‘Themes’ tab and select the ‘Preview’ or ‘Preview (Dense)’ theme.

To enable the new look in Google Calendar, click on the gears icon and then choose ‘Try the new look.’ 

Preview the new look of Google Apps

Posted by Simon Smith, Google Apps User Experience lead

Google Apps, along with all of Google, will get a new look over the course of the summer to make the user interface more focused, elastic and effortless to use. We continuously improve and seamlessly update our products (there were over 125 new features added to Google Apps last year) and hope that these user interface updates will make features easier to find when you need them and hide them when you don't. Our goal is to give you the best possible experience across all of our apps on all of your devices.

Just like you, we rely on Google Apps every day and we know that change can take a little while to get used to. So we want to give you a heads-up before the new look becomes the default, and we’d like you to share your feedback along the way. These visual improvements will follow our standard Google Apps release process, with organizations on the Rapid Release track gaining access to the updates first, followed later by organizations on the Scheduled Release track. The first visual updates will be in Gmail and Calendar, and to start they will be available on an opt-in/opt-out basis, so you can continue to use the old interface and preview the changes before they become the default later this year. When you do give it a try, we hope you enjoy a cleaner, more modern look.