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Google Sheets: How to embed a live spreadsheet

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Recently, I published Sample spreadsheet: AutoFill on the official Excel Basics In 30 Minutes website. In addition to including a sample Excel .xlsx file, I also embedded a live version of the same spreadsheet that people can edit and play with, right on the blog post. This post explains how to embed a live spreadsheet using Google Sheets, the free online spreadsheet program offered by Google. It involves a small hack, which I will describe below.

While Google Sheet’s Share button makes it easy to share a link to a spreadsheet, and allows the owner of the spreadsheet to enable anyone to edit it, editing is not possible if the embed option is chosen for the File>Publish to the Web feature.

That is, when you embed the spreadsheet on a blog post or Web page, you won’t be able to edit or format the cells, or create formulas. For example, here is an embedded spreadsheet. Notice you can highlight cells, but can’t input or change information, or use any other features of Sheets:

Google Sheets how to embed a live spreadsheet that can be edited

But there’s a workaround. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the spreadsheet, and select _File>Publish to the Web
  2. In the Publish to the Web popup, press the Start publishing button
  3. Under Get a link to the published data, change Web page to HTML to embed in a page
  4. Copy the embed code, which will look something like this:

After copying the text (Edit>Copy) and pressing the Close button, paste the embed code into a text editor or the blog editor (make sure the raw code or HTML view is showing). At this point if you publish the page, the sheet will be viewable but not editable. Follow these steps to enable live editing of the spreadsheet on the page:

  1. Go back to the spreadsheet in Google Sheets, and press the Share button
  2. In the Share with others popup, click Advanced
  3. Under Who has access, click the Change link and select On: Anyone with link
  4. At the bottom of the Who has access popup, change the Can view drop-down to Can edit and click Save
  5. The Sharing settings popup will appear. Copy the Link to share and close the popup

Now what needs to happen is most of the URL in the iframe embed code needs to be deleted, and replaced with the link you’ve just copied from the Sharing settings popup. Basically, delete everything in the quotation marks after src= starting with https:// but leave &widget=true. Then, paste in the other URL before the ampersand. I’ve highlighted the part of the iframe code that needs to be replaced:

iFrame Google Sheets URL

At that point, once you’ve published the page, the live spreadsheet will not only be visible, but it will also be editable. To see an example, visit this page on the official Excel Basics In 30 Minutes website.

If this tutorial has been helpful, please consider tweeting or sharing it elsewhere.

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:

Google Drive shortcuts: A basic reference list

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Google Drive shortcuts: Why use them?

Google Drive shortcuts

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

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.

To get a printed list of Google shortcuts, check out our Google cheat sheets for Drive, Docs, and Sheets — each one costs less than US$5, is printed on high-quality card stock, hole-punched for easy storage, and contains shortcuts, examples, and annotated lists of features.

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.