Google Tips
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April 26, 2017

Google Keep

Here we are at the end of the school year and I just discovered Google Keep. I use the “Notes” app on my phone all the time. I use it for all the things I never seem to remember but always need. I use it for grocery lists. I use it for some security things that I probably shouldn’t, but I really need to remember these things. 

Then, today I discover Google Keep. It is like “Notes” but a bit more resilent, colorful, and collaborative. There is a Google Keep app that I just put on my phone. You can add a Chrome extension to it so that it works when you are off line. I think I’m going to switch.

If you are at all interested in using Google Keep, here are some links I found that suggest ways to use it in the classroom:

What is Google Keep and Why Use it in Your Classroom (Ask a Tech Teacher)

7 Features of Google Keep for You To Teach With (Teacher Tech)

Google Keep: For Educators and Students (Inside the Classroom, Outside the Box)

Infographic: 15 Ways for Students to Use Google Keep (Shake Up Learning)

Well, that’s it then. My last Google Tip of the year. If I don’t talk to you again this year, have a great summer!

April 17, 2017

Google Sheets: Counting Occurrences of a String

Lot’s of us use spreadsheets to make lists. Sometimes it’s helpful to be able to count how many times something is in your list. Let’s say you are doing an inventory where you record:

  • Description
  • Brand
  • Year Purchased

Maybe you have a spreadsheet like this:

If you wanted to count how many times “Computer” was in your list, you can add the following below your list (in this example I’m putting the entry in cell A11). Just put the label of what string you want to count, then in the next column use the countif function like this: =countif(A2:A9,A11)

Let me explain a couple of things. First, the function is “countif” which means it will only count how many times in the range A2 to A11 that the string in cell A11 occurs. In other words, the count is 4 since “Computer” (which is in cell A11) in found in cells A2, A3, A4 and A8. Then you have this:

By adding “$” characters in front of the row numbers, you can indicate that the cell reference is “fixed” instead of “relative” and that allows you to add other strings from your list below the “Computer” entry and then just copy the formula in cell B11 downward. 

Click on the square in the bottom-right corner of cell B11 and drag downward to copy the formula to count other words:

Now, if this isn’t fun then tell me what is.


December 15, 2016

Vacation Responder

Here's a timely tip: did you know that you can send an automatic response to all those emails you will be getting during Christmas break? If you want to try this, look in the top-right of your Gmail window just below the Account, Reminders, and Google Apps buttons and click the "Settings" drop down button and click on "Settings":

Down at the bottom of these settings you will find the "Vacation Responder". 

I would recommend checking the box for "Only send a response to people in my Contacts" so you can turn a cold shoulder to spam and Russian phishing. 


Hey, Merry Christmas! 🎅I hope you have a wonderful break. Be safe and enjoy your family.

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December 2, 2016

Undo Sending an Email

Have you ever written an email and just as you click "Send" you realize that you made an error in the message? Or perhaps you got a little hasty and fired off an email, only to regret it the second it zips off into cyberspace? No? Good for you. Sadly, I make mistakes in my messages all the time.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way to "Unsend" that email? You guessed it... since we switched to G Suite for Education (new name for Google Apps for Education) there is a way to retract that flaming arrow before it starts an apocalypse. You have to be quick about it, but you can get it back. Here's how:

First, turn on Undo Send. This has to be enabled before you compose and send the errant script.

  1. On your computer, open Gmail.
  2. In the top right, click Settings.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. In the "Undo Send" section, check the box next to "Enable Undo Send."
  5. In the "Send cancellation period" section, set the amount of time you want to decide if you want to unsend an email.
  6. At the bottom of the page, click Save Changes.

After you turn on Undo Send, you can cancel sending an email.

  1. After you send a message, you'll see the message "Your message has been sent" and the option to Undo or View message.
  2. Click Undo.

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Here are a few that might help:

This is the "Settings" icon under your account avatar (step two in turn on undo send):

When you click the Settings disclosure triangle, you can select "Settings" (step three in turn on undo send)

Toward the top of the Settings options you will find "Undo Send" which you will need to enable by checking the box and number of seconds option (steps four and five in turn on undo send).

Be sure to "Save Changes" at the bottom of this page (step six in turn on undo send). ​

After you have sent a message, you have a few seconds to click on "Undo" just above the sent message (steps one and two in cancel sending an email).

​And that's how you "undo" sending an email with G Suite. Pretty slick if you ask me.

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October 26, 2016

Spice Up Your Email?

Want to spice up your email? Here are a couple of ideas you may want to try:

Toolbar Options

Without much trouble at all, you can just start using the tools that are already there at the bottom of the "Compose" message window.

​I just added that image above by using the "Insert Photo" button. Likewise, you can turn any words in your message to a link by using the "Insert Link" button, or you could format your text, attach a file, or (my new favorite) insert an emoji

Random Signature

Sometimes it's fun to be a little crazy: how about adding a random quotation to your email? Keep people wondering (or in my case -- confirm their suspicions). 

​Search for the Chrome extension "random signature" and you can inject random quotes in your Gmail signature. Good luck with that...

Wisestamp Extension

A little more complicated than the others, this one requires that you build your own signature by filling in the blanks. It's free if you accept the basic template, but you have to go "Pro" to get the fancy stuff or remove the "branding" on your new signature.

Look at my signature below. Wisestamp let's you add social media links, if that's important to you. Just search the Chrome Web Store for "wisestamp" and follow the steps. Or go to their web site and see if you're tempted to go all in.

Tom Smith   Technology Director, Konawa Public School
photo Phone: 580-925-3244
Address: 701 W South St


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