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.