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How to convert multiple Google Docs files to Microsoft Word .docx

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Here’s the situation: You write all of your reports, letters, invoices, and fiction masterpieces in Google Docs. There are scores of Docs files in your account, but now you need to convert the Google Docs documents to Microsoft Word .docx. Why? Maybe you want to apply special formatting to the files (Microsoft Word is far better than Docs when it comes to formatting). Or you need to share them with someone else who doesn’t use Google Docs, but does have MS Word. Here’s how to handle the conversion of multiple Google Docs files at once, without opening the files and converting them one by one.

The method basically involves selecting (but not opening) multiple Google Docs files in Google Drive, and then using the “download” option, which auto-converts them to MS Word .docx. The following video shows how to do it:

For more information, tips, and tricks related to Google Drive and Google Docs, check out my book!

Google Docs: new document creation explained

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Google Docs new document creation explained

Google Docs: how to create a new document

Last month, I demonstrated the new Google Docs interface for the Web. This month we’re going to take a look at one of the most common actions in Google Docs — how to create a new document. There are a few ways to do it. The post below describes Google Docs new document creation in a browser (Chrome) or an iOS/Android mobile device. There is a also a short video that shows how to create a new document in Google Docs.

Windows/Mac/Chromebook

  1. Open drive.google.com and log on.
  2. From the Google Drive main screen: Click the New button on the left side of the screen. You will see different formats to choose from. Pick Google Docs.
  3. From the Google Docs main screen: Click the “+” icon.
  4. A blank document will appear (see screenshot). You can start typing right away.
  5. To change the name of the document, click the default “untitled” name at the top of the screen.

The document is now ready for you to add text, pictures and other elements. You can type some text to get started. There is no “save” function—Docs auto-saves as you type.

To close the document and return to the Google Docs home screen, tap the blue icon with white lines in the upper left corner.

Android/iOS

  1. Open the Google Docs app.
  2. Click the large “+” icon.
  3. Enter a name for the document.

You can now begin typing or adding other elements to the file. To close the document and return to the Google Docs home screen, tap the blue icon in the upper left corner of the screen.

Google Docs new document creation video

The following video demonstrates how to create a new document in Google Docs. There are two easy ways to do it. This 2-minute video shows how:

Google Docs icons explained

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Google Docs has a new stripped-down interface. It may look modern, but it can also be puzzling to people who are new to Google Docs and Silicon Valley software design standards. What do all of the icons do, how can users find what they are looking for, and how is the Google Docs interface different than Google Drive? The following short video explains it all in just 4 minutes:

Topics include:

  • Main menu
  • New document
  • More actions icon
  • AZ/Sort options
  • List vs. grid view
  • File picker
  • How the Docs interface differs from Drive

Google Sheets: How to make a pie chart

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In the following quick video, learn how to make a pie chart in Google Sheets, using the new interface released in 2015. This covers the basics of creating a pie chart, but the instructions apply to bar charts, line charts, etc. It assumes the data used to create the chart is valid — for instance, if it’s a pie chart the values should add up to 100.

The video is just two minutes long, and starts below:

For more tips about Google Sheets, including conversion between Microsoft Excel and CSV formats, and how to use the Sheets app for iOS and Android devices, check out Chapter 3 of Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes.

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:

How to edit charts in Google Drive

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Google Drive allows you to create and edit charts using Sheets, the free online spreadsheet program that comes with the suite. In this 3-minute video, learn how to edit an existing spreadsheet chart. Basic and advanced editing functions are shown, including changing the title of the chart, adjusting colors and backgrounds, increasing font sizes, and changing chart styles.

Once edited, the charts can be exported as image files, and then re-used in presentations, reports, and online. Because Google Sheets is so easy to use, it’s possible to create and edit a snazzy-looking chart in no time.

This lesson comes from Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes, authored by Ian Lamont. To see more Google Drive videos, visit the official Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes website. Purchasing options are shown on this page.

To watch the video full screen, start the player and click the icon in the lower right hand corner.

Export images from a Google Drive spreadsheet

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The following short video clip (2 minutes 30 seconds long) shows how to export images from a Google Drive spreadsheet. This method uses Sheets, Google Drive’s free online spreadsheet program. It’s easy to select a chart in the spreadsheet and set up the download, which comes in the form of a .PNG file. These image files can then be imported into other programs such as Microsoft Word and Google Docs, uploaded to the Web, shared on Facebook, etc. The narrator of the video is Ian Lamont, author of Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes, Excel Basics In 30 Minutes, and other In 30 Minutes titles.

Press the play button below to start the video. Use the icon at the bottom of the screen to expand the view to full-screen.

Google Sheets: How to create a chart

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In less than three minutes, learn how to create a chart in Google Sheets, the spreadsheet program in Google Drive. It’s very easy — basically you need to select some data in the spreadsheet, press a button, and select a few customization options (type of chart, colors, fonts, etc.). It’s even easier than Microsoft Excel’s chart wizard.

The video below shows the steps involved, using a simple example. The narrator is the author of Google Drive and Docs In 30 Minutes, which you can buy here. To expand the video to full screen, press the icon at the bottom of the video.

In addition, look for other videos on this site which explain how to edit charts, as well as perform other basic functions in Google Drive.