Truth be told, Google has overtaken our lives. So it is high time to embrace Google and everything the tech company has to offer.
You probably already use the search engine multiple times a day, have a Gmail account, or use Google Docs and Google Drive.
So why not optimize the time you spend using Google’s products? To help you, we found the best tips and tricks to keep your virtual life efficient and organized.
If you have ever lost an important school paper or work project due to your computer crashing, you know what a gut wrenching feeling that is. By using Google Docs you can ensure this never happens again! When you create a Gmail account you are automatically given a Google Drive, which stores all of your Google Docs which can come in the form of a document, spreadsheet, or slideshow. Every change you make is automatically saved as you go, so you will never lose your work.
Best of all, these programs are all free. As you have likely grown up using Microsoft Office programs, Google Docs may take a little getting used to. So here are a few things you should know to get the most out of the programs:
Export to a Word Document
As not everyone has jumped on the Google Docs bandwagon, you may be required to provide a Microsoft Word Document or will be given one to read. To convert a Word Document to a Google Doc, upload the document to your drive and then convert the file by selecting the gear icon. Then “Settings,” then “General,” and then choose “Convert uploaded file to Google Docs editor format.” To export a Google Doc into a Word Document, choose “Download” and then “Microsoft Word.”
It is a common misconception that you can only edit Google Docs online. But if you enable offline editing on all devices, you can use Google Docs to access and edit documents even when you don’t have Internet access. There is one caveat: You have to use the Google Chrome browser. When online, enable the settings by opening Drive in the Chrome Browser. Go to the gear icon and choose the box next to “Offline.” You can now edit offline and when you are back online the changes will sync.
When editing on an iOS device, use the Google Docs App and choose the specific file you would like to download. Then click “Download & keep in sync.” For an Android device, open the app and then tap and hold the document name for two seconds. A pop-up box will appear and then tap the white pushpin icon. When the icon appears as solid black, the file is available for offline use.
Type with Voice
For anyone who hates to type, the voice typing feature in Google Docs is a dream come true. To enable the feature, open a document and go to “Tool” then “Voice Typing.” A pop-up window with a microphone icon will appear. Click on it to speak and then say what you want to type. You can verbally add punctuation as you go and even correct typos via voice.
If you want to translate a document into another language all you have to do is go to “Tools” then “Translate Document.” You then choose the language you want to translate to and voila! Your text is now in the language of your choice.
The Google Chrome Browser has an endless amount of extensions to make working online easier and more productive. Extensions are kind of like apps, but you download them only on the Chrome browser. We have found four must-have extensions to start with, but we doubt you will stop with these once you realize how easy and helpful they are.
Grammarly is basically spellcheck for everything you type online through email or social media. The extension finds misspelled words and improves the quality of your writing. Trust us, this extension will save you a lot of embarrassment.
In this increasingly digital age, many of us do our educational and professional work online. Internet usage is great for quick communication, easy research, and utilizing tools that a pen and paper simply don’t provide.
The only problem? The Internet is full of interesting, funny, and newsworthy content. (If you have ever been lost down a cat meme rabbit hole, you know what we are talking about.) If you know Facebook or Buzzfeed is your focus Cryptonite then use Simple Blocker to block certain domains for a period of time. If having access to Twitter will kill your productivity for the workday, block it from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
It starts with one tab: your email. Then you pop open your company’s website, then one for research, and another for research on a different topic. Next thing you know you have more tabs open than you can manage and your computer starts to run slow. OneTab will take all of your open tabs and turn them into a list on the side of your browser. You can easily look through the entire list with one glance and it helps free up your computer’s memory.
Google Mail Checker
It can be hard to focus on work if you are constantly checking to make sure you have no new emails. If you are a Gmail user, you can eliminate the need to constantly switch back to your email tab by downloading Google Mail Checker. The extension adds a little mail icon to the top bar of your browser and shows you how many unread messages are in your inbox.
Un-send an Email
Everyone has an email horror story to tell about one we wished we could take back, instantly. Whether you accidentally sent an unfinished draft or emailed your boss when you meant to email your best friend details about your weekend revelries. The part that stings the most is that we always seem to catch the mistake about one second after we hit send. But if you are a Gmail user, you’re in luck!
With a few easy steps you can buy yourself up to 30 seconds to un-send an email every time you hit send. Click the gear in the top right, select “Settings” then scroll down to “Undo Send” and click “Enable.” Then set the cancellation period and save the changes. Then whenever you send an email an undo option will pop up for the allotted time and you can recall the email.
Instead of flags, Gmail has you add a star to label important emails. But let’s say your inbox is full of important emails and that distinction becomes a little less distinct. By changing your settings you can unlock different colored stars and symbols to help organize your emails. Go to your settings by clicking the gear in the top right, select “Settings” and then under the “General” tab scroll down and click on “Stars.” You can drag the stars from the bottom line to the top to make them active.
The Google search bar is full of plenty of tricks to make common searches instantly accessible.
This means you don’t have to open web pages for basic info anymore. Which sounds really lazy, but we think convenient is a nicer word.