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Video Archives - Page 3 of 3 - Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes

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

By Blog

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:

Microsoft Office vs Google Drive: An honest overview

By Blog

A reader recently emailed to ask me about Microsoft Office vs Google Drive. He noted that Microsoft has invested millions of dollars refining its Office Suite over many decades, and the suite has now evolved to Office 2013 and the subscription-based Office 365. He added that Microsoft Word, although not perfect, is full of extremely useful functionality. Moreover, Microsoft Office has Access (a pretty powerful database tool), for which Google doesn’t even offer a corresponding product.

Microsoft Office vs Google Drive honest reviewAs I read his email, I found myself nodding in agreement. Microsoft Office is a powerful suite. Although I have written an in-depth guide to Google Drive & Google Docs, I am by no means a Google zealot. The Drive suite competes poorly against its Microsoft counterparts in several key aspects. However, it also has some functionality that Office does not have. Here’s my response to the reader asking about Google Drive vs. Microsoft Office:

If Access is a must-have application in your business suite, I would say that you should stick with Office. Likewise, if you need advanced formatting options in Word and PowerPoint, Office beats the Google Drive suite, hands-down.

The formatting options in Drive are very basic, suitable for basic business letters, reports, and spreadsheets, but for professional looking business-grade documentation or presentations Office is superior. Tracking changes in Word is also superior to Google Docs’ rudimentary functionality.

As I explained in my guide, where Google Drive excels is in its collaboration features and online integration. The real-time collaboration and permissions are very powerful, and the ability to publish documents to the Web for external review or other purposes is unmatched. Google Sheets also has neat features that let you publish online forms to the Web to gather data (for instance, a simple survey or customer contact form) and the data is automatically flowed into a spreadsheet or emailed to the account owner. Sheets can also publish a spreadsheet to the Web so audiences can slice and dice the data or even add their own data (if permission is granted). I describe how to use all of these features in my guide.

In the end, I have to acknowledge that the Microsoft Office suite is a superior tool in many respects to Google Drive. However, the powerful online features of Google Drive, not to mention it’s browser-based functionality are attractive to millions of users across the globe. In addition, it’s possible to work with both suites (I use Office and Google Drive for my business) and there are many conversion tools in Drive, which make it possible to convert a PDF to Google Drive or Microsoft Word, or convert a Google Sheets spreadsheet to Microsoft Excel.

Finally, Google Drive offers a powerful reason for newbies to at least try it out: It’s free for the basic storage plan offered by Google. Microsoft is experimenting with low-cost or free programs with Office Online, but for the full-featured Office suite, you’ll have to pay.

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

By Blog

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 convert a PDF to Word or Google Docs

By Blog, Video

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:

Three easy ways to upload files to Google Drive

By Blog

This post describes how to upload files to Google Drive. A typical scenario is storage of non-Google formats (such as image files, PDFs, or Microsoft Word files) but in certain cases people may want to upload files to convert them to Google Drive formats such as Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. There are three easy ways that people use to upload files to Drive:

  1. Go to drive.google.com, logon, and click the red upload button to find the file you want to add (see inset image, below).
  2. Drag the file into the Google Drive folder on your hard drive
  3. Save the file directly into the Google Drive folder on your hard drive, using whatever application that can create the file format in question (for example, Microsoft Word, PhotoShop, etc.)

Google Drive upload buttonOne thing to note about using the red upload button: For certain file formats, including Microsoft Word or Excel, Google Drive may automatically convert the file to the equivalent Google Drive format (Google Docs, Google Sheets, etc.). While Google Drive formats are useful for collaboration and other functions, some users do not want or need conversion. To turn off conversion, click the Settings icon in the upload window (see image below) and uncheck “Convert uploaded files”.

I’ve found dragging and dropping to be the easiest method of transferring large numbers of non-Google file formats to Google Drive. It’s very easy, as long as you have have the Google Drive application installed on your PC or Mac. Simply select a file, folder, or group of files and folders in My Computer (Windows) or Finder (Mac), and then drag them to your Google Drive folder.

As for saving files directly to Google Drive from whatever application you are using, you’ll need to have the Google Drive application installed on your PC or Mac. When saving the file for the first time (or using “Save As” or “Duplicate” functions), just be sure to select the Google Drive folder on your hard drive, instead of My Documents or other folders you use.

For more information on setting up Google Drive on your PC or Mac, read Chapter 7 of “Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes”. Conversion is discussed in Chapter 2 (Google Docs). Purchasing options are listed here.

Image: Changing the automatic conversion settings for Google Drive:

Google Drive automatic conversion

How to edit charts in Google Drive

By Blog, Video

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

By Blog, Video

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.