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What You Can Do With Google Docs

Friday, October 5th, 2007 by | Filed Under: File & Disk Management
 
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Q:
I’m new to using Google Docs and I was wondering if you could give me some pointers on some of the things I could do with it. I just want to learn everything about it that I can. Thanks for your help!

A:
First of all, welcome to Google Docs and Spreadsheets! In my opinion, it’s one of the best programs to come out of the Google offices and once you become more familiar with it, I think you’ll agree. As most of you probably read above in today’s quick tip, Google Docs recently went through a redesign and it has just made the program 100 times better. It’s so much easier to use now and all of the new features just make it so much fun. So, if you’re like the person who asked today’s question and you’re just starting out with using Google Docs, you’ve come at the perfect time. Now, let’s move on and check out some of the awesome things you can do with this program!

Here are five things you probably never knew you could do with Google Docs and Spreadsheets:

1.) Do a Live Lookup Through Google and Google Finance: This is one thing you can only do through the Spreadsheets program, but it’s definitely worth checking out. If you do a lot of searches with Google Finance, you can take the information you accumulate from those searches and create cells for it. That information will then be constantly updated as new material comes out. For example, you could use this feature for certain things like stock symbols, sports statistics or just anything else you want to stay up to date on. Again, once you create the cells you want, the information will automatically be updated for you on a regular basis. You can create up to 250 cells per spreadsheet when using the Google Spreadsheets program. How nifty is that?! You can get started with this just by clicking here.

2.) Perform a Google Search Within a Spreadsheet: Let’s say you’re working on a spreadsheet and you happen to come across a word or phrase you’re not sure about. Or, perhaps you just want to learn more about it. When that happens, you can perform a search for it without ever leaving your spreadsheet page. All you have to do is highlight it, right click and then choose the “Search the Web” option. Your results will come up in a new browser and you can then go on to find what you’re looking for. Pretty cool, huh? FYI: This one only works with Google Spreadsheets as well.

3.) Color Code Your Live Comments: If you’re not sure what I mean by live comments, Google Docs has a feature where you can go in to your document and leave annotations for yourself wherever you may need to. Well, low and behold, you can color code them as well! This also works well if someone else wants to leave a comment in your document, because they can choose a color to use and you’ll always be able to tell which comments are from who. When you or someone else puts a comment into your document, all you have to do is right click on the comment and choose the Color Code option from the resulting menu. You can also use the coloring system to denote certain items as priority. It’s just an easy way to keep everything straight when you’re working on a very important document. This one can be used for both documents and spreadsheets.

4.) Revisioning: You can use this feature to keep track of any changes you or any of your viewers may have made over the course of working on your document or spreadsheet. You can jump back and forth between the edits that have been made on your document or you can view certain ones by clicking the Older and Newer buttons. Now, in Google Docs only, you can take this feature one step further. With it, you can view both versions of your document (edited and non-edited) side by side. The revision feature will highlight the differences for you in various colors, which makes it very easy to spot any errors, etc. that you need to change right away. Yes!

5.) Backups Are Always Being Made: With Google Docs and Spreadsheets, there is a feature that automatically backs your projects up in several places at once. Google has a filing system called the Google File System and it has been designed to regularly back up any documents you’re working on. Therefore, even if the server in which your file is stored on suddenly crashes, the Google File System will automatically switch over to your backup copies. So, if that ever happens to your computer, you won’t have to worry your pretty little head about your Google Docs and Spreadsheets work. Several copies of it will have been made and you’ll still be able to easily recover them. It doesn’t get any better than that!

So, there you have it. Five things you can do with this awesome Google program that you probably never knew about. Whether you’re a seasoned Google Docs user or you’re just getting started with it, these five tips are sure to help you get the most out of your Google experience as possible. I’m lovin’ it, aren’t you?!

~ Erin

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