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Google Docs: How to add an image from the Internet

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This three-minute video shows how to add an image from the Internet to a Google Docs file, using a URL of an image from the World Wide Web. This is useful if you see an image on the Web that you want to include in a report, letter, or other document you are writing in Google Docs. Of course, only use the image if you have permission, or it’s marked with the appropriate Creative Commons or Public Domain license.

Without further ado, the video:

For more tips and tricks that can show you how to get the most out of Google Docs, check out my book, Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes.

How to convert a text file to a PDF using Google Docs

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This short video explains how to convert a text file (.txt) to a PDF using Google Docs. It’s quick, and the conversion process adds a few extra benefits that aren’t found in other text-to-PDF converters. The three minute video explains how:

Why would you want to convert a text file to a PDF? Perhaps it’s because you want someone else to see it, but you don’t want them to edit it. Or maybe you want to post it to the Web, Scribd, or some other online service.

For more tips about Google Docs, check out the latest edition of my guide, Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes, 2nd Edition.

How to convert Google Docs files to Word (or PDFs)

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Lots of people use Google Docs, the free Web-based word processor that’s part of Google Drive. If you’re a Docs user, at some point you will have to convert a Google Docs file to Word, either for your own use or to work with someone who only uses Microsoft Office. This short blog post explains how to convert Google Docs to Word, and I’ve also included a video at the end which shows an alternate method of converting the file types.

Here’s the standard method to convert from Docs to Word:

  1. Open the file in Docs that you want to convert to Microsoft Word. Then follow these steps:
  2. Click File>Download As
  3. Select Microsoft Word/.docx
  4. The exported file will download to your computer.
  5. If it doesn’t open automatically, open on your downloads folder to find it.

Note that you can also use the File>Download As feature to export PDFs — it’s a listed option below MS Word/.docx.

Here’s the video tutorial that shows an alternate method for converting a Google Docs file to MS Word:

How to convert .docx files to Google Docs

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If you are making the switch from Microsoft Office to Google Drive, you’ll eventually have to convert .docx files to Google Docs. Or, you may have a situation in which someone emails you a .docx attachment and you need to import it into Google Docs to edit it.

Fortunately, it’s not hard to do. The quick video at the bottom of this post shows how to import and edit a .doc or .docx file, or you can follow these instructions:

  1. In Google Drive’s main screen, click the red up arrow symbol next to the Create button. New button and select File upload.
  2. Choose the .doc/.docx file that you want to import. It will show up in your Google Drive list with a Word symbol next to it (a blue “W”).
  3. Open it by clicking the name of the file. It will be displayed in read-only mode, perhaps with altered formatting, owing to inconsistencies between Word and Docs. No editing is possible.
  4. To perform editing, choose File>Open With>Google Docs
  5. If you want to bring the document back into Word later, you can re-export the document as a .docx file (but not .doc).
  6. If the exported file is reopened in Word, the formatting you applied in Google Docs may look different.

A little additional explanation is needed for this last point. While Google Drive makes it very easy to import all kinds of MS Office files, compatibility may be limited. This is especially true of .doc or .docx files that were heavily formatted in Microsoft Word. If the formatting is not supported in Docs, it will be stripped out.

Here’s the video that shows how to convert .docx to Google Docs:

How to publish a Microsoft Word doc on the Web using Google Drive

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Here’s the scenario: You have a Microsoft Word .doc or .docx file. It’s important, and you want other people to see it, but you don’t want to email it around. The following short video (less than 5 minutes long) will show you how to publish a Microsoft Word document on the Web, using the free online word processor that comes with Google Drive.

While this method of online publishing may not preserve fine-tuned Word formatting, fonts, or special graphic treatments in the original .doc or .docx file, it’s great for publishing rough drafts of reports, letters, homework assignments, or other documents that you want to share with a wider audience. Google Drive will generate a link that you can copy and paste into other documents or email programs. Drive also lets you publish the link directly to Facebook or Twitter, and for those people who know how to use HTML, it’s also possible to embed the video in a blog post or some other type of online publishing system.

If you want to have a reference for this and other Google Drive tips and tricks, check out my book, Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes. In addition, if you enjoy the video, please share it or like it:

How to find good fonts using Google Drive

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At some point in the course of your work or studies, or maybe even a project at home, you will need to find a good font. Maybe it’s a sans-serif font for a report, a cool font for a flyer, a typewriter font for a list, or a stylist font for a Web project. How can you find good fonts? Many people use Microsoft Word and scroll through the available fonts. But there’s a better tool: Google Drive. Not only are hundreds of fonts available, you can use the fonts right away in a document or a slideshow, and print or share the results as needed.

To access the fonts, log into Google Drive, which is Google’s free online office suite (instructions on how to register and get started with Google Drive can be found in my Google Drive guide). Once you are logged in to Google Drive, create a new document (or slidehsow). The Font drop-down menu only has about a dozen fonts that are displayed by default. However, if you select “More Fonts” at the bottom of the list, you’ll be brought to a huge list of additional fonts that you can add to your palette. Here’s what it looks like:

Google Drive fonts

I didn’t count them all, but there are hundreds in the list, with more being added every month. The fonts run the range from conservative serif fonts to playful fonts with names like “Swanky and Moo Moo” and “Architect’s Daughter”. There are cursive fonts, kid fonts, gothic fonts, and fonts based on foreign or custom letters.

Once you’ve selected the fonts that you want to have available to your work, click the OK button. You’ll be brought back to your document. Then, highlight the text that you want to apply the new font to, and click the Font drop-down menu. The fonts that you just selected will be available in the list for you to choose. Apply the appropriate font, and look at the results. If you like what you see, that’s great, but if you don’t, you can go back to select another font.

The document or slideshow can then be printed out, displayed or even shared online. Doing these steps is beyond the scope of this post, but I recommend checking out Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes if you want to learn more.

Google Drive shortcuts: A basic reference list

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Google Drive shortcuts

Google Drive shortcuts use combinations of keys to issue commands or perform formatting.

Google Drive shortcuts: Why use them?

Keyboard shortcuts let users issue commands and perform basic formatting. They can save a lot of time. Instead of moving the cursor with a mouse to select a menu item or toolbar icon, you simply hold down two or more specific keys at the same time.

Here is a basic reference list of Google Drive shortcuts. It applies to Google Drive as well as Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.

All of the listed shortcuts work in the Google Chrome browser. Some may not work in Internet Explorer or Firefox. Google recommends the Chrome browser for Google Drive and other Google applications.

Google Drive home screen shortcuts

The following keyboard shortcuts work on Windows and Mac desktops and laptops as well as Chromebooks.

c – Create new file

u – Upload new file

o – Open file

d – Information about file

j or down arrow – Advance to next file

k or up arrow – Go back to previous file

x – Select file

t – Open settings pane

n – Rename selected file

Keyboard shortcuts for Google Docs, Sheets and Slides

Some keyboard shortcuts are identical to those used in Microsoft Office and other programs. For instance, copying and pasting text is the same in Google Docs and Microsoft Word.

Here is a list of shortcuts for Google Docs, Sheets and Slides:

Windows

Control + / – Show all keyboard shortcuts

Control + – Go to next misspelling (Docs only)

Control + Shift + c – Word count (Docs only)

Control + o – Open file

Control + p – Print file

Control + f – Find text

Control + z – Undo

Control + y – Redo

Control + b – Bold text

Control + i – Italicize text

Control + u – Underline text

Control + a – Select all

Control + x – Cut selected text

Control + c – Copy selected text

Control + v – Paste

Control + k – Create link to Web address

Alt + Shift + f – Open file menu

Alt + Shift + e – Open edit menu

Alt + Shift + v – Open view menu

Alt + Shift + i – Open insert menu

Alt + Shift + t – Open tools menu

 

Mac

Command + / – Show all keyboard shortcuts

Command + – Go to next misspelling (Docs only)

Command + Shift + c – Word count (Docs only)

Command + o – Open file

Command + p – Print file

Command + f – Find text

Command + z – Undo

Command + y – Redo

Command + b – Bold text

Command + i – Italicize text

Command + u – Underline text

Command + a – Select all

Command + x – Cut selected text

Command + c – Copy selected text

Command + v – Paste

Command + k – Create link to Web address

Control + Option + f – Open file menu

Control + Option + e – Open edit menu

Control + Option + v – Open view menu

Control + Option + i – Open insert menu

Control + Option + t – Open tools menu

Each one of our Google Drive, Google Docs and Google Sheets cheat sheets contains lists of keyboard shortcuts.

How to convert a PDF to Word or Google Docs

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If you write reports, publish research, help companies produce manuals or marketing material, or deal with legal documents, eventually you will want to learn how to convert a PDF to Word or Google Docs for editing or republishing. This post and video (updated in 2015) show you how to do it.

It’s a very common — and very frustrating — scenario. Adobe PDF documents are meant for publishing and displaying information according to fixed layouts. However, PDFs cannot be edited, except with special software.

What typically happens is people find they need to extract text from or convert a PDF to Microsoft Word’s .docx file format or Google Docs, so the text can be updated or edited. The hard, frustrating way to do this involves copying and pasting text from the PDF into Word or a text editor, and then dealing with lots of formatting problems — copying text from a PDF ignores column structures and tables, which leads to weird braks, and sometimes unneeded text is captured, including page numbers, headers and footers.

But there’s a workaround that involves Google Drive and the free online word processor included with Drive, called Google Docs. The steps include:

  • Uploading the PDF to Drive
  • Using Google Drive to convert the PDF to Google Docs
  • Editing the document in Docs, or re-exporting it to Microsoft Word as an editable .docx file.

The video below shows exactly what steps to take. Note that converting PDFs to .docx files is a two-step process, and you will need to delete the image files that are created during the conversion process (assuming you no longer want them, and just want the text).

In addition, the conversion process does not work with PDFs that are based on images. The underlying data in the PDF needs to be text, not an image that was created with a camera.

After watching, if you’re interested in learning more about creating, sharing, and collaborating on documents using Google Drive & Docs, check out my guide. It’s called Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes and is available for the Kindle, iPad, Nook, Android tablets, and as a PDF and paperback.

Without further ado, here’s the video. Please “like” or share it after you’re done: