An easy way with Google Docs

Ashish Bhatia        Print Edition: June 2012

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

Courtesy:Gadgets and Gizmos

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