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21 power tips for Google Docs

Get more done in the productivity suite

We've taken an extended look under the hood of Google Docs and uncovered 21 tips for getting more done by exploring some of the less obvious features in its word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation software - with a few hints for Gmail, too.

18. Find a video's technical details

Right-click the thumbnail preview of any video file on the home page and select Show Video Info to see technical details about the file, such as its resolution.

19. Use the Word Processor to create web pages

Even people who don't use Google Docs can share files with you. If you find HTML or website design software a little baffling, you can instead use Google's word processor to create simple web pages. To insert pictures, click and drag them onto the browser window, as mentioned above; insert links by highlighting the text or image file and pressing Ctrl-K.

Once you've created a page, click File, then Download As, and then HTML (Zipped) to download the data. The resulting folder will contain a single HTML file along with a folder of support files. Rename the HTML file as index.html, and upload that file and the folder of supporting files to your Web space.

20. Save drawings in scalable form

If you create a drawing in Google Docs and want to download it for offline use, be sure to select the SVG option from the File, Download As menu. Doing so will create a scalable file - that is, a drawing that you can resize without causing its quality to deteriorate, unlike JPEG and PNG files.

21. Use multiple accounts

A feature recently added to Gmail allows people with more than one Google account to switch between email addresses without having to log in and out. To activate this feature, select My Account at the top-right of your Gmail page and click the Edit button alongside Multiple Sign-On. Then click first the On radio button, and then Save.

Thereafter, you can switch accounts by clicking the dropdown arrow alongside your email address at the top right of the screen. Click Sign in to Another Account to add a new account, but be aware that you're allowed a maximum of three accounts.

Right-clicking the preview of a video file will show technical details about it, such as its resolution. Unfortunately, Google Docs doesn't work with multiple sign-ins. It will remain logged into your primary account, which is the one from which you activated multiple sign-ins (This account will have the word Default situated against it in the dropdown list of log-ins.) If you click a shared document link within an email from one of your other accounts, you'll probably be told that you don't have permission to access that file.

Google Docs, on the other hand, works fine with multiple accounts if you're switching within Google Apps for Business accounts. Therefore, one solution is to switch to Google Apps for Business for your domain. If you intend to create 50 or fewer accounts, it's free of charge.

Getting better

Google Docs continues to improve practically every month as new features arise. A good way of keeping up with the additions is to monitor the Google Docs Blog, which the team behind Docs writes.

In addition, don't be afraid to click around within Google Docs to find out how various features work; and consider taking time to explore the Google Docs forum, where users write up interesting things that they've discovered.

See also: 14 ways to get more from Gmail

  1. Get more done in the productivity suite
  2. Create drawings within presentations
  3. Insert links in a snap
  4. Click and drag images into Docs from the Desktop
  5. Find a video's technical details

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