GOOGLE DOCS

IMAG­INE NEVER LOS­ING YOUR DOC­U­MENTS WHAT­EVER HAP­PENS TO YOUR COM­PUT­ING MA­CHINE OR BE­ING ABLE TO AS­SESS ANY VER­SION OF A DOC­U­MENT FROM ANY­WHERE ON EARTH. GOOGLE DOCS MAKES THIS POS­SI­BLE.

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - DIGITAL LIFE - BY ASHISH BHA­TIA

In this day and age of mul­ti­ple plat­forms and mul­ti­far­i­ous de­vices, the abil­ity to soar across the mot­ley col­lec­tion of­ten de­ter­mines the dif­fer­ence be­tween com­pe­tence and ex­cel­lence. And Google Docs is one cloud-based soft­ware suite that has been honed over time to run smoothly over ev­ery­thing from a smart­phone to a tablet, what­ever the op­er­at­ing sys­tem plat­form.

The pre­po­tence of this—as with all cloud-based ser­vices—is vast and var­ied. For one, you needn’t ever worry about lug­ging an up­dated ver­sion of your data along with you, or los­ing it. As long as you have In­ter­net ac­cess, you can ac­cess your files—be it a text doc­u­ment, spread­sheet or pre­sen­ta­tion— any­where with just a browser-run­ning ding­bat de­vice that can surf the In­ter­net. Then, you don’t have to worry about los­ing files if your ma­chine plonks out, is pur­loined, has virus at­tacks, or even if the power per­ishes. Your data is al­ways safe. Fur­ther, the files them­selves are to­tally com­pat­i­ble with or ex­portable to pop­u­lar widely used for­mats.

All in all, Google Docs is fast, friendly and far more com­pe­tent than most peo­ple com­pre­hend. Here are some kick-ass power tips and tricks that will help you get more from its rad­i­cal in­tel­lect.

1 DRAG AND DROP DOA­BIL­ITY

Per­haps you know this, per­haps you don’t. Even though Google Docs is a cloud-based ser­vice, you can dump files from your lo­cal folder into the Docs home screen with drag-and-drop ease. This func­tion­al­ity, how­ever, works only on Fire­fox and Chrome browsers. Sadly though, In­ter­net Ex­plorer, Opera, Sa­fari and other web browsers users can­not par­take of this DnD good­ness. From them, click­ing on the Up­load but­ton will do the deed. And oh, you can se­lect en­tire fold­ers for up­load­ing if you want. Any sub-fold­ers nested in there will also go with the flow. And yes, you can de­posit images on pages of your Google Doc­u­ment with the same ef­fort­less­ness—from your hard drive, or even di­rectly from Google Im­age Search or your Pi­casa Web Al­bums. If jug­gling be­tween browser win­dows galls you, you can al­ways re­sort to click­ing on In­sert > Im­age from the menu bar.

2 ONE-CLICK DOWNLOADS

If you’re has­sled about the te­dious­ness of down­load­ing one—or a bunch—of your files from Goggle Docs for off­line copies or back­ups, rest as­sured it’s an easy one-click-gets-all af­fair. So, you can carry and/or work on the doc­u­ments even when you’re off­line—aboard an air­plane, trav­el­ling, or va­ca­tion­ing on a Sey­chelles beach with no In­ter­net. (Don’t ask us why you’d want to work on a beach, but we’ve seen it hap­pen.) To down­load your Google Docs files, lo­gin to docs.google.com. Se­lect all, a few, or one of the files, via the check box and click on More. From the drop­down menu, se­lect Down­load. In the re­sult­ing Con­vert and Down­load popup, choose the for­mat in which you want the doc­u­ments con­verted. Hit the Down­load but­ton. The files will be down­loaded com­pressed in a zip file.

You can ex­port/down­load up to 2GB of data at a time. You can con­vert your text doc­u­ments to to Mi­crosoft Word, PDF, Open Doc, RTF, HTML or plain text. Like­wise, spread­sheets can be con­verted to Ex­cel, Open Of­fice spread­sheets, or PDFs. Sim­i­larly, you can go to Google Take­out (www.google.com/take­out) and down­load a zipped achieve of not just your Docs but also your Con­tacts, Pi­casa al­bums, and more. Watch it here—no con­ver­sions are pos­si­ble with Take­out.

3 TRANS­LAT­ING EN­TIRE DOC­U­MENTS

Been sent a for­eign lan­guage doc­u­ment that you can’t make head or tail of? Stop scratch­ing your head and moan­ing with an­guish. Be it a file in Chi­nese, Croa­t­ian, Cata­lan, Hindi, He­brew or Hun­gar­ian, worry not. Sim­ply beam it into Google Docs, pull down the Tools menu, se­lect Trans­late and pick on the lan­guage you want to trans­late into. Voila! The trans­lated ver­sion ap­pears in a trice as a sep­a­rate doc­u­ment and is saved to your Google Docs ac­count. You can also use this clev­erly to send out trans­lated doc­u­ments and save your clients some bother.

4 HIS­TORY CAN RE­PEAT IT­SELF

Fret not about get­ting back to a spe­cific ver­sion of a doc­u­ment, whether it’s been­worked on by you or in col­lab­o­ra­tion with oth­ers. Google Docs has the abil­ity to save a log of all the re­vi­sions a file has gone through, no mat­ter how many the users or the time pe­riod. You can look up a pre­vi­ous ver­sion of a file by go­ing to File > See re­vi­sion his­tory. Quite sim­i­lar to Mi­crosoft Word’s Track Changes fea­ture, yes. In the case of col­lab­o­ra­tive doc­u­ments, you can see who made the changes. You can also see mul­ti­ple ver­sions of the doc­u­ment at the same time and view change via colour cod­ing.

5 TEM­PLATE TEMP­TA­TIONS

Just be­cause you’ve never seen any­one use them or they’re not thrust upon you when you load the pro­gram doesn’t mean that Google Docs does not have pre­designed tem­plates. There are tem­plates for ev­ery­thing from re­sumes to al­bum, busi­ness cards to la­bels, fi­nan­cial spread­sheets to cal­cu­la­tors, cer­tifi­cates to pre­sen­ta­tion designs—and more are avail­able. To get to them, find your way to the Google Docs home­page. Click on Cre­ate New fol­lowed by From Tem­plate. You can then nar­row down your scope to tem­plates by type (docs, spread­sheets, pre­sen­ta­tions, forms, or draw­ings) or by type of cat­e­gory or pur­pose (let­ters, cal­en­dars, le­gal, cards, cover let­ters as well as the oth­ers men­tioned above).

6 EX­TEND­ING THE SEARCH HOUND

Ever thought of ex­tend­ing the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of search within Gmail to also en­com­pass Google Docs? Eas­ier done than said! Google Labs has the per­fect so­lu­tion. Click on the cog­wheel icon on the top ex­treme right in your Gmail ac­count’s main page. Click on Set­tings in the drop down menu and then on the Labs link. Here, find Apps Search, en­able it, and click on Save Changes at the bot­tom of this page. Now ev­ery time you fire a search within Gmail, the in­ves­tiga­tive hounds will also nose around in­side your Google doc­u­ments for an oc­cur­rence of the search term! The re­sults for this will ap­pear be­low the Gmail search re­sults. Or else, try CloudMagic, an in­stant search ex­ten­sion for Gmail, Google Docs, and Con­tacts. This works on Chrome and Fire­fox browsers on Win­dows, Mac OS and Linux.

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