Add a Popup Message to your Google Docs

Ever wish that you could tell people something when they open up your Google Docs? Maybe “Make a copy of this document, answer the questions and share it with your teacher!” or “This is a draft!

Well, it’s possible.¬† Some simple coding in the script editor and you can make it happen.¬† I know that some of you¬†are thinking “Simple . . . . coding. . . !?” while making this face, but it’s true.¬† Just follow the steps below and you’ll make it happen.

Before we jump into the how, or what it looks like, a few notes:

  • Only Editors will be able to see the popup.¬† In my testing, someone who is “can view” or “can comment” does not see the popup.¬† Also, they have to be explicitly shared as editors, not just “anyone with the link can edit.”
  • If you copy the document within your own account, the popup will appear on the copy as well.
  • If someone shared on the document makes a copy, the popup will NOT appear on their copy.
  • If you send the document out on Google Classroom as “Make a Copy for Each Student” it will NOT include the popup in those copies.¬† I was bummed when I discovered this, because it would have been huge for teachers.

Now that you know those notes and limitations, let’s dive into it.¬† First, an animated GIF of how to do it and then, below the GIF, the step by step with code that you can just copy and paste.

Add Popup Message to Google Docs Animation

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. From within your Google Doc, click on Tools > Script Editor.
  2. Click on Untitled Project and rename the project.
  3. Replace the words myFunction with onOpen. (This is what tells it to run automatically)
  4. After the { type DocumentApp. (include the period)
  5. From the menu that pops up select getUi : Ui
  6. After {DocumentApp.getUi() type a period.
  7. From the menu that pops up select alert(String prompt) : Button
  8. In place of the word prompt type your popup message.
  9. Add quotation marks around your message (and inside of the parentheses).
  10. Click the save icon.
  11. Go back to your Doc, refresh and check it out!

Another note: You can actually edit the appearance of the popup with some HTML and CSS coding, but that would take me longer to explain that 1 GIF can handle!

Credits:¬†I learned this from one of Google’s Applied Digital Skills Courses in the “Code Welcome Screen” Activity.¬† You can learn about adding some formatting to your popup in that course.

Lunapic – Create Images with Transparent Backgrounds

When presenting about #StopMotionSlides, someone inevitably asks about cutting the background out of a picture so that it has a transparent background.¬† Up to this point, my answer has been Microsoft Word, but I wasn’t satisfied with that since it wouldn’t work on Chromebooks or on computers without Microsoft Word.¬† And then I listened to Episode 13 of the Shukes¬†and Giff Podcast.¬† In it, Kim Pollishuke shared about Lunapic.

Lunapic is a free, web-based photo editing platform.¬† Along with a lot of other features (seriously, go to it and explore!), is the ability to make the background transparent.¬† If it’s a solid colored background (i.e., green screen), there are tools that automate it.¬† For images that don’t have a solid colored background (or have backgrounds that include colors that are in the main part of the image), you can also do it manually.¬† Check it out in the animated GIF below!¬†¬†Side note: there’s even a Chrome extension so that you can edit images you find online more conveniently.

Lunapic Transparent Background Animation

Comparing GIF Creation Options

**Originally posted in December 2017, edited in August 2018 and then editing again in October 2019 to reflect new options that have become available or that I have discovered.  Also in October 2019, I added the new table format below.**

In February of 2017, I found my niche in the online #edtech world – and a new passion – creating #eduGIFs.¬† In the time since then, I’ve been asked dozens, if not hundreds, of times how I create them.¬† Here I’ll dive into 1) a little background on what I do & why I use the tool I use, 2) other options to consider and 3) my advice on what to use (feel free to skip to there). Continue reading Comparing GIF Creation Options

Creating GIFs in Camtasia 2

You may have noticed: I create lots of GIFs.
You may have wondered: how does Jake make his GIFs?

I¬†‚̧ԳŹ¬†the functionality of creating them in Camtasia 2 for Mac. ¬†Under Advanced Export is an option for “Animated GIF.” ¬†It’s pretty much that simple….

However, if you choose to do this, you want to put some thought into how & where you plan to use your GIF. ¬†Certain platforms have time & file size limits for GIFs. ¬†Others do not. ¬†Twitter, for example, limits GIFs to 5 MB. ¬†To obtain the perfect balance between high quality image and low enough file size, I leave the settings all of the way up and then nudge them down until I hit something just a hair under 5 MB. ¬†I prefer the frame rate at 30 and won’t go below 20. ¬†If a frame rate of 20 doesn’t get me low enough, I decrease the dimensions. ¬†If needed, I even use custom dimensions to hit that sweet spot of quality-file size. (More content after GIF)

Make GIFs in Camtasia Animation

Twitter doesn’t appear to have a limit for the time length of the GIF. ¬†However, the longer the GIF, the higher the file size. ¬†So, I cut my GIF’s at 20 seconds. ¬†That was always the limit for GIFs in the SnagIt extension, and it seems like a good number, so I go with it. ¬†To hit this limit, I increase the speed of my videos to get them right to 20 seconds.

Increase Speed for GIFs in Camtasia Animation

(When I last checked, Google Apps for Education Certified Trainers received Camtasia for free. ¬†If you’re not eligible for that I believe it’s well worth¬†the actual education price.)