Google Docs Secrets: 21 Power Tips for the Productivity Suite

7. Insert Links in a Snap

You can enable forms to gather data from the public without letting participants see your spreadsheet.
The most common way to insert a hyperlink into a text document is to choose Insert and then Link, or to press Ctrl-K. But 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. This method works only in Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, however. You can even drag links straight from the bookmarks toolbar and the bookmarks menu onto the document to create hyperlinked text.

8. Max Out Your Editing Space

To lose the toolbar and use your entire browser window for editing, select View and then Hide Controls. To return things to normal, press Esc.

You can combine this setting with your browser's full-screen mode to dedicate the entire screen to editing. To go full screen in most browsers, press the F11 button on your keyboard. Pushing your mouse cursor to the top of the screen will make the menu visible once more, and clicking the Restore button will return the window to normal.

9. Explore the Templates

The Previews add-on from Google Labs lets you preview documents within Gmail.
Many people don't realize that Google's word processor and spreadsheet tools offer hundreds of document templates, including some highly 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.

10. Preview Documents in Gmail

For a live preview (within the Gmail window) of a document 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 add-on, choose Enable and then clcik the Save Settings button.

11. 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 tthat you want to apply color coding to, and select first Format and then Change Colors with Rules.

From the dropdown 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 dropdown list, and enter melvin into the text field. (The field isn't case-sensitive.)

Google lets you automatically color code spreadsheet cells based on their contents.
Then, in the Text and Background boxes, choose the cell colors that you want to apply, and click Save Rules when you're done.

12. Click and Drag Images into Docs From the Desktop

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. This operation works only in Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

13. Correct Common Typos

If you frequently mistype or misspell words, you can make Google Docs automatically correct them as you type within the word processor. Select Tools and then Preferences. In the dialog box that appears, enter the commonly mistyped text in the top-most empty Replace field, and enter the correct spelling in the neighboring With field. For example, many people mistype "the" as "teh," so you might want to enter teh in the Replace field and the in the With field.

14. Search More Effectively

You can refine your searches on the home page by using operators, such as type:spreadsheet, which will return only matches from spreadsheets in the search results. Click here for examples of operators.

15. Use Bookmarks to Navigate Long Documents

Google Docs can correct mistypes and misspellings as you type them.
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 Ctrl-K. Then select the Bookmark radio button in the resulting dialog box, and select the bookmark that you created earlier.

16. Share Docs With Non-Google Users

Google Docs is all about collaboration, and you can permit even 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.

Next page: Create Web pages from Docs, and juggle multiple accounts

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