Wednesday, 16 July 2014

5 tips for using the new Google Drive interface

The new Google Drive is starting to roll out across Google accounts. It delivers a more streamlined look, but also reduces the amount of options, settings and features in the main interface. To help you navigate the new look and adapt to the changes, we’ve put together five top tips for using the new Google Drive.

Tip 1: Changing the display density of the list view

The display density is the amount of white space between and around items in the Drive list view. The default density has the list very spread out, so you don’t see many items on your screen. In the old Google Drive interface there was a display density setting you could configure. However, in the new interface, this setting has been removed. Fortunately, you can still configure the density using a keyboard shortcut (phew!).

To change the display density, press q q on your keyboard.

You can continue pressing this key sequence to toggle between the three different display densities.

Note: This only works if you are using the list view. If you are not currently using this view, you can switch to it by clicking the list icon in the top right corner.


Tip 2: Putting files in multiple folders

In a previous blog post, we explained how to put Drive files in multiple folders using the old interface. This is now changed in the new interface, but there are still a couple of methods to do it.

Method 1: Open the file first, then use the move-to box

1. When you have the file open, click the Move to folder button to the right of the document title.


2. Select the first folder you want the file to be stored in.

3. Hold the control (Windows) or command (Mac) key and select the other folder(s) you want the file to be stored in.


Method 2: Use the Shift-z keyboard shortcut

1. Click the file in the Google Drive list to select it.

2. Press Shift-z on your keyboard to bring up the Add to dialog box.

3. Select the first folder you want to add the file to.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each folder you want to add the file to.

Note: If you want to move a file to a folder (instead of adding it) you can press just the z key to bring up the Move to dialog box. You may want to do this for the first location the file needs to be stored in, and then add it to the other locations using Shift-z.

Tip 3: Find items shared with you and move them to My Drive

All files and folders that are shared with you by others can now be found in the Incoming view of Google Drive.This replaces the ‘Shared with me’ view in the old interface.


To move them to your My Drive, simply hover over the file and click the Add to My Drive button.


Tip 4: Star a file

Stars are a good way to tag files you are working on, are important, or need following up. In the previous Drive interface it was very easy to star a file and see those that had been starred. However, things have changed in the new interface. But there are still a few different ways to star a file, including a quick keyboard shortcut.

Method 1: Using the More actions menu

1. Click the file once to highlight it.

2. Click the More actions menu (three dots button in the top right of the screen).

3. Select Add star.


Note: Repeat the process to remove the star.

Method 2: Using the s keyboard shortcut

1. Click the file once to highlight it.

2. Press the s key to apply a star to the item. You will see a message at the top of the screen confirming that a star has been added.
Note: To remove a star, press the s key again.


Method 3: From within a file

1. Open the file you want to star.

2. Click the star icon to the right of the file name to apply the star.


Note: None of these methods will actually show you a star next to the item in the Drive list or grid (unlike in the previous interface). To view starred items, you will need to use the Starred view.


Tip 5: Converting files to Google format

Converting uploaded files to Google format (Docs, Sheets or Slides) allows you to obtain the full functionality of Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. Previously, Google Drive could be configured to convert all files automatically on upload, or prompt you to convert each file you uploaded. This has now changed in the new Google Drive, with the prompt functionality removed. However, there are still a few ways to convert files to Google format.

Method 1: Configure all files to automatically convert
If you want all your uploaded files to automatically be converted to Google format, configure the setting by following these steps:

1. Click the Settings cog button > Settings.


2. Tick the option to Convert uploaded files to Google Docs editor format.


3. Click Done.

Note: If you do not want to convert all documents automatically, use method 2 or 3 below instead.

Method 2: Convert files after upload using Open with

1. Upload the file.

2. Right click the file and select Open with > Google Docs.


Note: If the file is a spreadsheet or presentation, you will see Google Sheets or Slides as the menu item.

Method 3: Convert files after upload using Save as

1. Upload the file.

2. Open the file.

3. Click the File menu and select Save as Google Docs.


Note: If the file is a spreadsheet or presentation, you will see Google Sheets or Slides as the menu item.

Many of these five tips involve using keyboard shortcuts. You can view a full list of keyboard shortcuts for Google Drive here, or press Shift-? while in Google Drive to view them.

We’d love to hear how you’re finding the new-look Google Drive, so do share your experience and tips in the comments!

Tab Scissors & Tab Glue

If you are a Google Chrome user who likes to use multiple windows or dual monitors, Tab Scissors and Tab Glue will be your new favourite Chrome extensions!

These two extensions work together to allow you to easily split your tabs into side-by-side windows, and join them back together when you’re finished with the dual view.

How do I get it?

You need to install both Tab Scissors and Tab Glue separately from the Chrome Web Store.

1. Visit Tab Scissors in the Chrome Web Store.
2. Install the extension.
3. Visit Tab Glue in the Chrome Web Store.
4. Install the extension.

How do I use it?

Tab Scissors works when you have more than two tabs open in the Chrome browser.

1. Have the tab you want to move to a new window open in Chrome.
2. Click the Tab Scissors icon in the Chrome toolbar (if you can’t see the icon, click the >> button to view a list of installed extensions).


3. Your tabs will be split into two windows and displayed side-by-side.
4. To remove the split, select the Tab Glue icon.

Enjoy cutting and pasting your Chrome tabs!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Add a table to a Gmail message

Sometimes it is useful to be able to add a table to an email. Although Gmail does not have an in-built function to insert a table, there are other ways to do so. The quickest and easiest way is to create your table in Google Sheets, and then simply copy and paste it into your Gmail message.

Here’s an example:

Step 1: Create an email and write your message as per normal.

Example Gmail message

Step 2: Open a new Google Sheet (in a separate tab or window).

Step 3: Create your table in the Google Sheet. Format it as you like.

Sample table in Google Sheets

Step 4: Copy all the cells in the table.

Step 5: Return to Gmail and paste the cells into your email message.

Table in Gmail message

As you can see, all the cells and table formatting are maintained. You can add multiple tables using this method.

Note: If you want to include a very large or complex table, it might be better to provide a link to the Google Sheet in the email instead. But for simple and small tables, this method works well!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Right-side chat in Gmail

The standard position for the Hangouts (chat) box in Gmail is on the left of the screen, below your label list. If you have a lot of labels that you like to keep expanded, this can mean that your Hangouts box gets lost beneath the label list, and is not visible at all times. Fortunately, the Right-side chat Gmail lab can fix this problem!

This lab does exactly as the name suggests - it moves your Hangouts list to the right of the screen. This not only makes your chat list visible at all times, it also gives more room for your label list.

Here’s the difference:

Hangouts in the default location

Screen shot of chat in default position

Hangouts in the right-side location

Screenshot of chat in right side location

As you can see, the right-side location provides a much cleaner and clear division of the screen.

To enable Right-side chat

1. Click the Settings cog button > Settings.
2. Select the Labs tab.
3. Find and enable the Right-side chat lab.
4. Click Save.

Note: This lab works with both the old style chat and the new look Hangouts.

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