One big thing to remember about Google Apps is that there are loads of “add-ons” available. For example, I recently needed to print some envelopes using Docs and couldn’t find a template for a new document or the correct paper size in the Page Setup. So, naturally, I “Googled” the question of “how to print envelopes using Google Docs”.
Turns out you need an add-on called “envelopes”. Clever name. When you are in Docs, there is button in the toolbar for “Add-ons”:
You search for the add-on you want in the search box, then select it and add it. Nothing special to do: no administrative credentials needed, no downloading or installing, and no secret hand shakes.
Once you have your envelopes add-on, go back to the same menu in order to use it.
I’d suggest opening the size of envelope you plan to use most, typing your return address and place holders for the addressee. Then guess what? You don’t have to save it, because you already did. Cool stuff.
Google Slides, if you haven’t used it yet, is the G Suite for Education equivalent of PowerPoint or Keynote. This is a great teacher tool that can help you organize your lesson, present images or movie clips, and help you be sure to cover all the points you intended in your lesson. What’s more, with Slides you don’t have to worry about saving your work – that’s done as you create your presentation. You don’t have to worry about where the file is located – it’s in your Drive. And you can access your presentation from any device in any location.
So here’s something cool about Slides: you can reuse a slide from any of your previous presentations. In the new slideshow click on “import slide” and select the old presentation. If your new slide show has a differenct theme, you can apply that them to the imported slide. Saves you some work.
Are you using Slides yet? You know, the Google App version of PowerPoint or Keynote?
If not, then give it a try. It's a simple way to get ideas across to your students. Also great for keeping yourself on track. Those of you who present a lesson several times a day will find it to be a good way to prevent forgetting something.
Today's Google Tip:
You can mask an image in your slides. Insert an image and while it is selected you'll see a crop tool. The little triangle to the right of the crop tool is a shapes selector and these can mask your image. Check it out:
Everybody knows how much I love to update the Flash Player, right?
Fun stuff. Well, this week I want to tell you that if you use Google Chrome you may never have to ask me to update your Flash Player again. That's right! Google Chrome updates it's own Flash plugin!
Now there's only one problem. Chrome has to be set to do it's own updates. If you ever see a yellow bar across the top of your Chrome window that says something like "Chrome may not be able to update itself" then send me an email so I can type in the credentials to complete that setting. From that time on well never have to update Flash again.
If I have not installed Google Chrome on your computer, just send me a friendly reminder and I'll come install it. So let's ditch Safari for Chrome!
You like books? Do you have a book reader like an iPad, Nook, Kindle, etc?
The tip for this week is that you can turn your Google Doc into a book. The format for these digital books is called ePub and Google Docs has a "download as ePub" option under the File menu. So any Google Doc you create can be downloaded in the ePub format and then sent to anyone as an attachment. If you mail it to yourself, you can load it into whatever book reader application your device uses.
I don't have a Kindle or Nook, but on my iPhone and iPad it works like this: when I open the email that has the ePub file attached my device asks me what I want to open it with and I just choose "iBooks". Then the file is on my bookshelf.
It may be that you don't see this as as being very useful, but file it in the back of your mind and it could be a real jewel later on. Maybe you have an iPad that your students use (Elementary teachers) or your students have their own phones and tablet and you have some important information that they may want to have handy when they're working on something out of your class. And what about that autobiography you've been working on?
Have you heard of Google Books? I just read about it today, but apparently you can upload your ePub files to Google Books. Anyway, just sayin', Google Docs –> ePub files. Be happy.