How to convert an MS Word .docx or .doc document to a PDF for free, using the new Google Drive interface. It’s a three-step process, but it’s relatively quick and avoids using Adobe Acrobat or spammy online services. This tutorial uses the new Google Drive/Google Docs interface, introduced in 2015. This Google Drive tutorial is narrated by Ian Lamont, author of the top-selling technology guides Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes, Excel Basics In 30 Minutes, and Twitter In 30 Minutes. Leave questions in the comments, and the author will try to answer them to the best of his ability!
In less than 12 minutes, learn how to take a PDF table and import it into Google Sheets in order to change the data, create charts, or reconvert it to another format such as Microsoft Excel .xlsx. Note that it’s a complicated workaround involving other tools in the Google Suite (including Google Drive and Google Docs and text and CSV files), and will only work with simple PDF tables – complex tables, or mixed tables and other content on the PDF page can’t easily be converted to PDF using this method. This video also shows how to handle errors in the import process, such as mismatched columns and rows. The PDF to Sheets tutorial is a huge time-saver for power users, accountants, bookkeepers, MBA students, and others who want to save time with Google Sheets. This short G Suite video is narrated by the author of Google Drive and Docs In 30 Minutes.
Things may look a bit different in the latest update of Google Drive’s website interface, but the functionality is still the same … for the most part. Check out this short video to learn what is new. Narrated by the author of Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes.
It’s possible to attach a wired printer to Google Cloud Print. Why would you want to do this, considering a PC or laptop can send print jobs directly to the printer, without Google Cloud Print?
The answer: Other laptops, PCs, and mobile devices on the same network will be able to wirelessly print Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides files. It’s a cool feature, albeit one that requires extra setup steps to make it work.
Here are the instructions for enabling a wired printer to be used with Google Cloud Print services:
- Make sure the wired printer is turned on and connected to the PC or laptop you are using with a USB cable.
- Launch Google Chrome, and click the More actions icon (three dots in the upper right corner of the browser window).
- Click Settings, then Advanced.
- Scroll down to Google Cloud Print and select it.
- Select Manage Cloud Print Devices.
- Under Classic Printers, click Add Printers.
- Select from available devices.
Once Google Cloud Print is enabled for a wired printer attached to a PC or a laptop, the printer will not need to be configured for other computers and devices connected to the same wireless network.
A few months ago, I created a video series on Udemy called Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes. The series mirrors most of the book I wrote about Google Drive and Docs, but has the advantage of being really visual. In this post I will be sharing one of the foundation videos that explains the Google Drive interface. It’s less than 6 minutes long. Enjoy!
It’s a pretty common scenario to have to restore a deleted file in Google Drive. Perhaps you deleted the file in error, or you trashed it and discovered later that you need to access it once more. The following method to restore a deleted file in Google Drive is not failsafe, but in many cases it will allow you to quickly bring it back to life. Note that this method works for native Google files (such as documents created in Google Docs, presentations created in Google Slides, spreadsheets created in Google Sheets, etc.) as well as files that were created by other applications or devices–photos, Microsoft Word documents, text files, PDFs, etc.
The video is less than two minutes long:
Readers of Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes may be interested to know that we have several related products that can help them get the most out of Google’s free online office suite. They include a Google Drive Cheat Sheet, which is described below. The printed version of the Google Drive Cheat Sheet is available for purchase on Amazon or as a downloadable PDF. We also offer a Google Docs Cheat Sheet and Google Sheets Cheat Sheet.
Google Drive Cheat Sheet
The Google Drive Cheat Sheet contains top tips and easy-to-read annotated screenshots of Google Drive on the Web. The four-panel reference is printed on 8.5 by 11 inch high-quality card stock, perfect for desks, walls, and shelves. It has holes for three-ring binders. Topics include:
- The new Google Drive interface, including icons, file and folder uploads, and shared files. Annotated for easy reference!
- How to create new documents in Google Docs, spreadsheets in Google Sheets, and presentations in Google Slides
- How to drag and drop files to Google Drive using a PC or Mac
- Three options for converting Microsoft Office files (Word .doc and .docx, Excel .xls and .xlsx, and PowerPoint .ppt and .pptx)
- How to use search in Google Drive to find specific files or file types
- How to permanently delete files
- How to restore files and folders
- Keyboard shortcuts
- Basic features of the Google Drive mobile app
- And much more!
Note that aside from conversion, document creation, and keyboard shortcuts, the Google Drive Cheat Sheet does not cover Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, or other applications in Google’s free online office suite (we offer separate cheat sheets for those topics!)
The Google Drive Cheat Sheet was created by the author of the top-selling book Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes.
How to order the Google Drive Cheat Sheet
To order a printed copy of the Google Drive Cheat Sheet, visit Amazon. The PDF can be downloaded using this secure order form. There is also an option to purchase 20 copies of the printed Google Drive Cheat Sheet at 25% off the retail price, ground shipping included!
A reader of Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes recently wrote in with the following question about managing Google Drive on a Chromebook with limited storage space:
“When using Google Docs with offline sync is it possible to select where the files should be stored? There is little memory available in a Chromebook so I use a thumb-drive to store stuff and thought it would be a great place to store offline documents – but how to I tell the computer to store it there?”
It is possible the default “save” location for all files, using this method:
To set a default location for your saved files:
- Click the status area, where your account picture appears.
- Select Settings > Show advanced settings.
- In the “Downloads” section, pick a default download location by clicking Change.
However, I do not believe it is currently possible to change the default location of a Chromebook’s Drive Files folder for offline syncing. Following is an explanation of how Drive handles a lack of storage space on Chromebooks … it apparently removes older files that have not been accessed in a while:
Open the File Manager app.
- Click on the Downloads folder > 3 dot menu > how much space is left on your local SSD.
- Click on My Drive > 3 dot menu > how much space is left in your online storage.Drive offline syncs up to 5GB or 100 files. It will start automatically removing the oldest modified files from the local SSD when you get to that number.This is the only way you can selectively sync and choose non Google Docs, Sheets etc. Files like jpeg, png or PDF files or some other format via the right click context menu.This is how is works at the moment. The way to avoid the syncing for offline is to always work in the Drive app or drive.google.com. and only open the ones you want offline in the Drive folder in the File Manager app.Most chromebooks have 16GB – about 7GB for Chrome OS = 9GB – extensions/apps – cache – files in local Downloads – offline capable app files like Keep or offline Gmail.If your Chromebook is running out of local storage space, you either have a lot of files in the Downloads folder or have other User Accounts also using local disk space.
It’s probably not the answer the reader wanted to hear, but in this case I think it is difficult to work around the inherent limitations of the Chromebook platform (i.e., tight integration with Google Drive/Docs/Sheets/Slides and a lack of internal storage to keep Chromebooks cheap & help them live up to the promise of cloud storage).
One thing I added when I responded to the reader: Keep in mind that even if a file is removed from the Chromebook, it will still be available on drive.google.com.
A reader recently contacted me to ask about file conversion and use of storage space in Google Drive. She wrote:
“I purchased your Google Drive book today and consider it a solid foundation to begin, thanks! I am new to freelancing and two of my clients use Google Drive so trying to get up to speed ASAP.I am hoping you can answer one of the questions that I am most interested in – is there a way to convert a word doc with ext .docx into a Google doc and not use up storage space? I.e. if I copy text from a word doc and paste into a new Google doc is that considered a Google doc file and therefore doesn’t use any storage space? I’d like to eliminate a number of word documents on my laptop and transfer to my Drive so can easily share with clients, but would prefer not to use up storage space.”
The answer: Any Google Doc created by a user through any means (copy and paste, or the “open as” feature) will not count toward that user’s Google Drive storage limit.
However, if the user uploads and converts a .docx file, he or she should delete the original .docx file after creating the Google Docs version because the original Word file will count toward the storage limit. For people using the free Google Drive/Docs accounts, this is a big deal.
However, there is one other major consideration before doing any large-scale conversion of MS Word files to Google Docs: If the original .docx files have complex formatting (for instance, a newsletter or a document with complex headers or footers), Google Docs will strip out most of the formatting or convert it to something that looks quite different than the original. This is an issue I discussed in my book, and used an example of a fancy Word template that was completely gutted during the Google Docs conversion process. Standard reports, letters, and drafts generally come through OK, though.
Also, in my opinion it’s worth paying a little extra to get more storage space and other features. I do it through a Google Apps subscription, which allows me to use my own email address plus a bunch of email aliases and more Google Drive storage than I know what to do with (90 GB in all). It’s worth the $5/month, plus I get a little more attention when I need Google Drive support (that is, an actual human being looks into issues when they come up).