10 Google Apps Tricks to Learn for 2017
1. Force a Copy
When I create templates I like to share the templates in a way that prompts the user to create a copy. Notice if you go to alicekeeler.com/poo that it does not take you directly to the document but rather asks you to copy it first.
To accomplish this remove the /edit at the end of a Google Apps URL and change it to /copy.
I will usually create a short URL such as tinyurl.com or goo.gl out of the long Google Apps URL where I have modified the URL with slash copy.
2. Filter Google Drive
In the search bar of Google Drive (tip: use the slash key on your keyboard to put your cursor automatically in the search bar) is a tiny triangle. This allows you to filter by file type, date modified, or who you’ve shared a document with.
3. Add Clip Art
In Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Drawings you can add clip art images. When inserting an image look for the “Search” option. First search for an image. After the search results come up notice there is an option for filtering the image type. The default is “Any type” but this can be changed to “Clip art.”
4. Utilize Revision History
Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Drawings have a revision history. (Not on Forms, sorry.) This shows the edit history of the document.
This is an important feature when collaborating with others. Do not be afraid of collaborators “messing up” the document. Use the File menu to “See revision history” and “Restore this revision” for a time when the document was not messed up.
5. Control Slash
In Google Apps you can hold down the Control key and press slash (/) to open up keyboard shortcuts. Learn one keyboard shortcut a week, you’ll be a ninja at the end of the year!
6. Plus Mention
When making comments in a Google Doc, Sheets, Slides, Drawing or Google Classroom you can mention someone to direct their attention to the comment. Start with a plus sign followed by their email address. +firstname.lastname@example.org
A new feature when adding a plus mention to a comment is the ability to assign as a task to the person.
Notice in Google Drive you can filter your documents for items that need to be followed up. Follow up on “Action items only” shows you documents that someone has assigned you a task in a plus mention comment.
Next to the document title in Google Drive is a badge indicating how many action items you have in that document. Click on the badge to move to the action item.
7. Document Outline
When typing in a Google Doc utilize headings to outline the important parts of your document. Not only does this make your document more accessible for screen readers but Google Docs will automatically populate a table of contents.
The document outline (table of contents) appears on the left-hand side. Click on the headings in the outline to jump to that portion of the document.
8. Explore Tool in Slides
In Google Slides the Explore tool does more than just search the web (it does that too). It uses machine learning to read the content of the slide and suggest attractive slide layouts. As you change the content on the slide the slide layout suggestions change.
9. Use Templates
You can create documents using Google Drive but you can also go straight to the product website to create documents.
In each of these is an attractive interface to filter for that document type and also a template gallery. Locate the link to the template gallery in the upper right corner.
10. Explore Data in Google Sheets
Select data in a Google Sheets spreadsheet and use the Explore tool (bottom-right) to answer questions about your data. Ask in plain English.