This post is about a useful feature that most people don’t notice in Google Docs: Suggesting Mode. This is fantastic for students doing peer revisions or even teachers collaborating on projects. It allows you to show people what you think should be changed, without actually changing it. The choice is ultimately theirs.
I recommend this when students do any peer revisions in class: if you’re suggesting a specific grammatical, punctuation or word change, use Suggested Edits. However, if you’re giving more general feedback or suggesting a change be made, but not identifying what to change to, use a Comment.
Anyhow, here’s how it works: Up in the top right corner you’ll see the word or icon for Editing, Commenting or Viewing. Click on that and switch to Suggesting. Now, act as though you’re actually editing the document (type, backspace, etc.), but your “edits” will show as “suggested edits.” Awesome!
Thou shalt make a copy. – Jake Miller
Ok, so, I never said that. Well, actually, I guess I just did. Anyhow, it’s a trick that’s known in most edtech circles, but it’s useful enough to make sure that everyone knows it:
Change the “/edit” or “/view” (or whatever) at the end of a Google Apps file’s URL to “/copy” and it will force the person clicking the link to make a copy of it (as if they had clicked File > Make a Copy).
Important: make sure the doc is shared, at least as “Can View,” prior to using this. You can’t copy a doc that you can’t view!
With the rise of Google Classroom and other LMS options, it’s not as useful as it used to be, but it has its use cases: sharing a resource on your website, posting forms for use in your school district, sharing optional activities for classes or clubs and much more. It works in Drawings, Sheets and Slides as well! Here’s how to do it:
Just in case, here are those steps:
- Share the doc as “Anyone with the Link Can View.”
- Copy the link to the doc.
- Change the “/edit” or “/view” or “/edit?usp=sharing” to “/copy”
A great tool for creating rough drafts or brainstorming for writing is voice typing. Encourage your writers to use this tool to get their thoughts “down on paper” while their creative juices are flowing.
One of the complaints from Day 1 with Google Docs was the inability to add columns. Not too long ago, Google added this functionality, but it’s still sorely lacking in customizability. So, here’s a workaround:
- Insert a Table
- Enter your text and images
- Make the table’s border 0 point (a.k.a., invisible)
- Find a microphone
- Drop it
Wait, what page are you on?
I’m confused. What slide are you referring to?
Ugh, what cell are you in!?
GSuite’s tools make collaboration–both between adults and between students–a piece of cake, but it can still be tough to keep up with one another, especially in lengthy Docs, Sheets or Slide decks. Did you know that if you click on their icon it will jump you right to their location? You’re welcome.
Check out the two GIFs below . . .
Years ago, I heard plenty of complaints about how Google Docs just didn’t measure up to Microsoft Word. My response always centered around the ways that Google Docs could change the way we worked and students learned. Most people have bought in, but I still occasionally hear complaints about missing features. One of them is adding captions to pictures – a major informational text skill in the English Language Arts standards.
Check out the GIF below to see how to use the “Insert > Drawing” tool to perform this task.
I should note, as has been pointed out that me on Twitter, that this process will reduce the quality of the image. I think that, for a student’s project it’s still okay. Just, you know, maybe not for your doctoral research paper or school yearbook.
Sometimes you know who you collaborated on a doc with, but just can’t come up with a search that leads you to that doc. Why not use their email address to track down the doc?
I discovered this search term when I was asked to track down all interactions between two specific students. This gave me the capability to see all docs on which they had communicated, provide them to our administrator and delete the docs from the student accounts.
It’s nice to have easy access to lots of sites, but that bookmarks bar can get crowded. Use Bookmark folders on your bar to categorize them while still having convenient access.
2. Shorten those bookmark titles.
Shorter bookmark titles take up less bookmark bar space. Take the title out to just use the sites logo. If the site doesn’t have a logo, or it doesn’t make the destination clear (like a docs logo), use short words or even emojis to save space!
3. Create Bookmarks for Creating New Docs or Slides
Did you know that docs.google.com/create opens up a fresh new Doc? Or that slides.google.com/create does the same with Google Slides? Create bookmarks for those links and have quick access to that capability.
4. Different Bookmarks for Different sections of your Drive.
Do you go to your Starred files often? Need quick access to Shared with Me when someone sends you a file in a meeting? Do you have a folder for all of your students’ assignments that you go to daily? Make a special bookmark for different locations!
5. Different Bookmarks for Different Parts of Docs, Slides or Sheets
Different tabs in Sheets, Headings in Docs and slides in Slides have different URL’s. That means you can make your bookmark (or a link you send in an email or message to someone) direct you (or the recipient) to a specific spot. It’s nice when you want to send someone to today’s meeting agenda in the massive Doc with all meeting agendas in it. It’s also super convenient if you regularly access a certain spreadsheet tab.
6. Bookmark specific sections of GMail
Have a certain GMail label you access regularly? Want quick access to your starred or important files? Want to be able to get to emails from your admin or boss quickly? Create a bookmark for that exact part of your Gmail.
7. Bookmark specific Calendar Views
Want to be able to access Day, Week, Month, Agenda or a Custom View quickly? Make it a bookmark.
We’ve all pasted something from a website into a doc, presentation, email or other destination before and experienced that annoyance when it doesn’t match your other font. Fixing this is simple… Just add shift to your ctrl+V keyboard shortcut to make your text match the destination font (including size, color, spacing and all style options).
Note: I’ve always been a little apprehensive about sharing this with students, because there’s no easier way to identify a plagiarizing student than a mismatched font with white highlighting . . .
Efficiency is intelligent laziness.
This pretty well summarizes my approach to use of technology. If I can find a way to trim seconds or minutes off tasks without sacrificing quality, I’m all for it.
In recent posts about Google Docs, I shared how to boost font formatting efficiency with the Paint Format Tool and the Select Matching Text option. This post’s topic fits well with those 2.
Most people type in Google Docs and change fonts as needed without ever noticing the Text Styles dropdown. They live in “Normal Text” mode, but change their fonts regularly. But they are missing out! There is hidden functionality in that dropdown . . .
- It allows you to change your default font styles. Are you an elementary school teacher who always types in size 16 font? Change your default! Are you a professional basketball team owner who always types in Comic Sans? Change your default! Do you believe that Helvetica is the world’s best font? Double-space all of the time? Prefer blue font? Like size 13? Always typing in italics? Change your default!
- Using titles & headings adds other functionalities to your Doc. Do you have a 100-page Google Doc for your lesson plans and hate trying to navigate it to find the correct snippet? Use Headings & Document Outline view! Here’s how . . .
The quote at the top is often credited to David Dunham, though it appears that he’s not the originator of the quote).