Posts Tagged ‘google docs’


Create PDFs on the cheap [Google Docs]

Acrobat PDF creator is one of those applications I think should be free.  In some cases, PDF documents are the only way to distribute documents easily.  There is the fact that not everyone uses the same productivity suite.  There is also the new format change for Office 2007 which makes reading ‘new’ documents on an ‘old’ XP machine difficult.

Don’t get me wrong, Adobe needs to keep the lights on, but they have a whole suite of products to keep them afloat.  Not to mention they have premium Acrobat tools (more than just creating a simple PDF) and the Adobe Interactive Forms suite to keep Acrobat alive and kicking.  Adobe Interactive Forms allow businesses to develop forms that mimic an existing layout that communicate with their backend ERP systems.  This allows the business to implement technology changes with minimal impact to field workers.

I thought I’d share my online PDF creator approach that also fits with my slow transition to an online-only productivity suite.

To get your documents as PDFs follow these few steps:

1) Login to Google Docs and upload your existing document – they cover Word and Powerpoint

Upload File to Google Docs

2) Click on the document to enter ‘change mode’

3) Navigate to File -> Download file as -> PDF and save when prompted

Download file as PDF

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Save as PowerPoint (PPT) in Google Docs

Google Docs rolled out a pretty necessary feature today if they intend to get people using their presentation tool. They rolled out the ability to save your Google Presentations as PowerPoint (PPT) files. Honestly, I’m a disappointed it took so long but I understand their quest to take over the world and keep people inside their applications.

Like it or not, Microsoft still commands a huge share of the presentation software market with it’s PowerPoint product. In order for Google, or any of the other start-ups, to ease the transition for users it’s imperative they allow users to save in the traditional PPT format. If users know they won’t impact how other people have to view something, they’ll be a little more likely to make the move from desktop to webtop.

I personally like the online collaboration features that Google has built into the ‘Docs’ application but not many of my friends and family are into it. And for those of you that work in large corporations, let’s be honest, you’ll be sending out presentations as attachments for a while longer.

Good job Google, keep ‘em coming!

Export Google Presentations to PowerPoint

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Needed Gmail Enhancements

As I’ve stated several times, I love the various Google products and use several of them on a daily basis. My Gmail is open almost all day long, I use Google Reader to sort, manage and read my news, I share photos and documents with Picasa and Google Docs and I communicate with people all over the world (literally) with Google Talk. When I start my own business I’ll probably use Google Apps to keep costs low and because it allows me the ability to use the Gmail web interface and it’s easy to install. Simply put, they have created an amazing suite of free services but as my usage grows, so does the need for a few enhancements to make things even better.

Since Gmail released the IMAP feature a few months ago I’ve been a pretty happy camper. While I’m pretty happy, there is always room for improvement. I think Gmail recognizes that since they’re continually releasing new features! Keep it up guys.

  • Tagging: The ability to label emails with several tags is great but having to select them from a drop down list is inefficient. It would be great if there was a type-ahead feature that auto-completed tags as I began typing them. It would also be great if you could apply multiple tags to filters.
  • Filtering: Gmail has a great filter set-up but there is one thing I’d like to see added. The ability to apply multiple tags to filtered messages. Some people may not use tags to quite the same extent I do but I like to keep an organized mailbox. With my travels for work I also like to make sure I keep as many records as possible and there are some emails that I get on a regular basis that I like filtered into two buckets. Hotel receipts are the main culprit (expense reporting can be such a pain). Currently, I just have to filter it with one tag and add the second manually. Not a huge deal, but it would definitely be a time saver.
  • Shortcut Keys: For those of us that use Outlook all day for corporate email, shortcut keys are where it’s at. I can successfully navigate almost all of Outlook (that I use at least) without touching the mouse. Google has done a pretty good job building out the shortcut keys but some of them are counter-intuitive. Maybe the problem is they just aren’t intuitive based on the Windows habits that we have all picked up. I’d like to see the ability to customize your shortcut keys or at least add a few more like ‘ALT+s’ to quickly send an email from compose mode.

If I new anything about writing GreaseMonkey scripts or had a couple hours of extra time I would consider writing a couple of these enhancements myself. But…since I don’t and I have no extra time I’m hoping the various Google teams go ahead and step-up.

These are obviously just my opinions but I think they’re enhancements that would benefit the masses.

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Google Docs: upload made easy

Last Thursday (January 24th) Google released a pretty useful tool that allows you to easily upload documents from your computer to your Google Docs account. The application is simple but it allows you to drag-and-drop files to upload or gives you the option of adding a ‘Send to Google Docs’ option on your right-click (a.k.a. the context menu) . My experiment with the drag-and-drop worked really well but I didn’t have the same luck with the right-click. I’m sure I’ll give it another go.

You’ve always been able to mass-upload documents via email but the size limits it imposed on uploads was really annoying.

One thing I didn’t care for was the fact that I had to be running the upload application in order for the right-click functionality to be present. I understand they wouldn’t be able to actually upload the file but allowing me the option and then sending them to Google Docs the next time I started the app would be more useful for me.  I’m running a lot of software everyday for work so I like to trim the fat wherever possible.  Here’s a screenshot for all you visual people.

Google Docs Uploader

All-in-all I think it’s a pretty good tool and if you read the API documentation (link below) I think you’ll find that there are a lot of opportunities for further applications.  Besides the point I mentioned above, I’d like to see folder support.  I use Google Docs for collaboration and if I’m working on one specific topic I’d like the ability to upload an entire folder to the group.

You can get the application from Google here but it does require the .NET Framework 2.0. For you technical people out there you can also review the Google Documents API documentation for a little more information on what the protocol offers.

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