How to use Google Docs? Extensions and mobile access.

As announced earlier, it is time for the last part of our series devoted to Google Docs. We are going to cover the best extensions for Chrome and Firefox which enhance capabilities of the office suite, and the drive. We will also describe a mobile application for Android.

Author
Wojtek Wowra
Publication date
17.05.2013
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The first extension, which is worth mentioning, is the official Google Drive app for Google Chrome. Of course, its installation is not obligatory to properly use the documents. However, it helps you start a new document faster and easier, which is important if you have slow Internet connection.

With this extension, you can enable an offline Google Drive on Windows. You need to use Chrome in order to make use of the aforementioned extension. We have already mentioned the topic concerning this mode. It allows you to work without an Internet connection. It works even on the road, where you have 3G reception at best.

One of the best extensions that greatly improves your documents is previously described Send to Google Drive. The add-on allows you to snip content from any web page and save it as a PDF image on the disk. It comes in handy if you stumble upon interesting articles, so you can archive them for future reference.

Oficjalna aplikacja Dysk Google
Snippy offers similar set of functions, however, we are not sentenced to work with PDF. This extension is able to store information in plain text. We do not preserve the graphics, but on the other hand, we can easily edit the content.

Another great extension that makes our lives easier is Table Capture. With Table Capture, you can easily copy HTML tables, and paste them into a spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel. And on top of this, Table Capture performs well when it comes to maintaining the formatting fidelity of the original table.

 

Fast file creation

If you often create new files in Google Docs, you should pay attention to extensions like New Doc and New Spreadsheet. They simply let you open new documents using shortcuts, rather than having to navigate to Google Drive’s interface.

Both of them are particularly useful when we use a single type of document (text or spreadsheet). If you regularly use all available disk modules, it is recommended to install Docs Quickly. It works the same way, but provides extra shortcuts for presentations and drawings.

WatchDoc., in turn, lets you manage files which you share with your friends or collaborators. The extension adds an icon to the Chrome’s toolbar and tracks the activity in our documents. It automatically informs us about any changes introduced by others within the files, so you never miss a beat.

WatchDoc

Clicking the icon, displays the document that has been edited and offers a link to go straight to the document. It simply watches any document shared with your Google account and lets you examine introduced changes.

With the use of extensions, we can also listen to music directly in Google Drive and edit video files. These two things have been recently described. There is also the possibility to integrate disk and Gmail. For example, Google Lab’s lets you search both email and your Google docs.

With the Gmail Attachments to Drive extension, you can add files to Google Drive directly from the Gmail messages they're attached to. Once the extension is installed, you'll see an alert below each message labeled Save To Drive. When you click it the file is uploaded to your Google Drive account, so there is no need to download it on the hard drive.

 

For Firefox fans

Firefox enthusiasts will surely be interested in the extension called Save to Google Drive. It specifically designed to help users to save any files and URL addresses to Google Drive. Just paste a link to a PDF or JPG image. In addition, in the context menu, there is an option Save Image to Google Drive.
Of course, there are some limitations. Maximum file size is 25 MB. By default, all data is stored in the main disk and it cannot be changed in any way. This is due to the constraints imposed by the interface of (API) Google’s.

Another worth mentioning solution is Google Drive Files Search. It works as simple as pie – it adds another search engine to the search bar, namely Google Drive. This makes it possible to find text documents, presentations or sheets without having to visit the main interface of the drive.

 

Browser’s shortcuts

Here are some useful shortcuts that will allow you to create new documents in a convenient and space-saving way. If you are using Firefox, it is recommended to use Google Shortcuts. It works the same way as the extension for Chrome described above. It simply adds a button to the toolbar - the available set covers more than 30 items.

Save to Google Drive

Those who browse the web for different reports and studies, will be appeased with the extension called Import to Google Docs. It allows users to import any Office document to the Documents within seconds. All you need to do is click a link in Google search results.

In turn, those who prefer working with so called sidebars would surely love DocsBar. It is a powerful control panel that makes it easy to manage documents, upload new files, search for new items and more. It is a kind of a sidebar placed at the left hand side of the screen - Firefox normally displays there a history.


Mobile access

Google offers mobile applications for Android and iOS for a Drive. However, we will focus on the first one. It can be installed for free from the Google’s Play Store. It features a clear interface, whose main element is a list of uploads and files and folders created online.

At the top of the screen, there are additional buttons, which hide useful functions under the hood, such as the search engine, the Refresh function, Create (allowing you to add new files including documents and spreadsheets), Transfer (to upload items from memory) and more (like Help and Settings).

On the left side there is a narrow array of icons. The first one offers you access to your files, the second for shared files, the third presents starred files, the fourth, called the Last, displays a list of all modified files in chronological order, and the last one is Offline.

Offline mode can be activated or deactivated in the list of documents. Click and hold your finger on a file, and then select ‘Share online’ from the context menu. This allows access to specific things on your smartphone or tablet, even if you are not connected to the Internet.

These are just a very small sampling of what you can find out there. So, if you are using Google Docs, and wish it had some extra features, make sure you check out the Chrome or Firefox browser extensions to see what they have to offer. This article concludes our series related to Google Docs. However, in a week’s time, we will start with a new series related to Office Web Apps, which is Microsoft's answer to the Mountain View’s offensive. In the first part, we will discuss the basics and compare the services provided by Google Drive, Office Web Apps and Office 365.

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