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7 Google Drive Tips & Tricks You’re Probably Not Using

  1. Use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) in Google Drive: OCR is a tool which can be used to convert text contained within various media platforms to text that can be edited in Google Docs.

    With a PDF document, this can be simply done by right-clicking a PDF contained in your drive, and selecting ‘Open with – Google Docs’. This will automatically copy the document into Google Docs where you can edit it however you like. For editing a PDF that was created using a photocopy, this same process applies (although it may not be quite as precise depending on quality).

    If you have an image of text taken with a camera that you’d like to convert into a Google Doc, you can do this exact same process. The OCR tool will recognize the text of an image contained in your Drive and convert it into a form which you can then edit in Google Docs. As with PDF’s created using a photocopy, the quality of this method will vary depending on the quality of the original image.




  2. Searching images in Google Drive: You can easily search any document, picture, or related file within your Drive by typing specific keywords into the search bar. The search can be of keywords which are actually contained within a file (titles, etc.), or actual visual descriptions of what is contained in the file. For example, if you need to recall an image of a car from your Drive, simply type in ‘car’, and Google Drive’s recognition technology will find and display the image for you. This will work for almost any general searches.
  3. Scan using the Google Drive App: With this feature, you can use the Google Drive app on your smartphone to scan and upload any physical text document to your Google Drive. To do this, tap the ‘+’ icon in the bottom left corner of your Drive application, and select ‘scan’. This will open your device’s camera which you can then use to scan a piece of paper, book, or other physical text document to be converted into a PDF, and uploaded to your Google Drive. It will be saved there where you can recall or edit the PDF at a later time. Google’s OCR capabilities are a great way to best utilize your PDF documents.
     
  4. Sending a PDF link (replace ending with ‘ export?format=pdf ’): If you’d prefer to send someone a PDF link instead of sharing a document with them for any particular reason, right-click on a document in your drive and select ‘share’ as you would usually share a document. Instead of adding Email addresses or names from your contact list into the section that’s displayed, go above and click on “get shareable link”, then click on ‘copy link’ where the bar comes down. This will copy the link to your document and allow you to paste it wherever you like. Before sharing this link however, you’ll have to make a slight alteration to the ending, so that the recipient is able to download it as a PDF. Where it ends ‘ edit?usp=sharing ’, you’ll have to delete this and replace it with ‘ export?format=pdf ’ which is listed above. This makes it so that the document is automatically downloaded as a PDF when the link is pasted into a search bar.
  5. Creating a new instance of a folder or file in Google Drive (shift + z):
    By creating a new instance of a file or folder in Drive, you can have the exact same item in two or more locations. While making a copy of a file creates an entirely separate and new version of the file, creating a new instance allows you to edit the exact same file from multiple locations.
    If you’d like to be able to edit a document from two or more separate folders, simply press ‘shift + z’ over the selected document and you’ll be asked where you’d like to send a new instance to. You’ll then be able to access and edit the exact same file from wherever else you like within your Google Drive. This can be done with any kind of file or folder. Keep in mind that if a file is deleted from anywhere in your drive, matching instances of that folder will also be deleted.
  6. Restrict file and folder access in Google Drive: To restrict certain actions from being performed on files or folders that you’ve shared with others, you can easily change the access and editing settings. To do this, simply right click on the file you’d like to restrict and select ‘Share’ as you usually would. Then go to the bottom right of the resulting tab and click ‘Advanced’. At the very bottom of this next tab, there will be two boxes which you can click in order to either prevent the changing of access by other users, or disable options to download, copy, print, etc..



  7. Setting expiration dates in Google Drive: To set an expiration date for either a file or folder in Google Drive is to restrict access after a specific date. To do this you’ll have first needed to share the file or folder with one or more other users of Google Drive. In order to set an expiration date, you’ll need to go into the advanced share settings of a file or folder. Here you’ll see a list of users whom you’ve shared the file/folder with. In line with their name and Email you’ll see a clock icon displayed; upon clicking this icon you’ll be able to set a date on which the user will no longer have access to the file or folder.

10 Google Calendar Tips & Tricks You’re Probably Not Using

  1. Quick Add Events Through Your Browser: There are a couple different ways you can do this. The first is directly through your Google browser, where you can actually type in an appointment or event you have for a certain day and time. Simply type in either “make an appointment” or “create event”, then specify when it is and when you would like to have it (i.e. “Make an appointment for the vet next Tuesday at 1 pm). The Google browser will then prompt you with a confirmation option after you place your request into the search bar. This will add the appointment or event to your calendar once selected.
  2. Quick Add Events in Calendar: The second way to do this is through your calendar app in Google Drive. Here you can quick-add an event by selecting the down arrow next to the “create” button in the top left, and type in a similarly worded request (i.e. “Dentist appointment at 11 am tomorrow”). If it is formatted properly it will be promptly added to your schedule in Google Calendar.


  3. Use signup appointment slots (only available on Google accounts): This option will allow you set up a block of time within your calendar where people can reserve time slots and set up appointments with you. To do this, start by dragging open a span of time within your day schedule in Calendar. When entering the information for your selected block of time, you will be able to select either ‘Event’ or ‘Appointment Slots’. Ensure ‘Appointment Slots’ is selected. From here you can either set up the block of time as a single appointment or allow people to reserve a set segment of time within the block. These options are available upon selecting and editing the time slot. After setting this up you can invite people from your contacts to attend your event by going into ‘Edit’ and adding in your desired guests/clients. They will then be notified and be able to reserve a segment of time.


  4. Get your agenda emailed every day: If you’d like to receive an email every morning presenting you with your agenda for the day, this feature is easy to enable. Locate the ‘settings’ button within your calendar (top right) and click through the pages as follows: settings > calendars (at top of page) > edit notifications (under notifications) – on this page, scroll to the very bottom and check the unchecked box titled ‘agenda’ under the ‘email’ column. This will enable the daily agenda feature, which will allow Google Calendar to send a daily schedule to your Gmail every morning at 5 am.

  5. Use a Task List: With this feature, you are able to utilize a simple task list that can be displayed alongside your calendar. To enable, select ‘My Calendars’ on the far left of the screen and go down to ‘Tasks’ (this may be titled as ‘Reminders’ but can easily be changed by clicking on the small arrow next to ‘Reminders’ and selecting ‘switch to tasks’ on the following menu). Upon selecting the ‘Tasks’ option, a task column will appear on the far right of your calendar where you can create and edit current tasks. You can specify when they are to be completed by, and check them off once they are finished. Your tasks will also be linked to the day on which you set your deadline.
  6. Enable More features in Labs: To access additional features in your Google Calendar, select your settings button in the top right corner of the screen, then go down to ‘Labs’. Here you’ll find a list of utilities and options that aren’t available within the default layout of Google Calendar. Here you can allow yourself to set a picture as a background image, change the entire look and layout of Calendar, and enable other alterations.
    Once you select something from ‘Labs’, you may need to also enable in under the ‘Settings’ tab. It should be listed next to a checkbox on the Settings page, where you can simply select the checkbox, then save your changes to enable the new feature.
  7. Share Your Calendar With Others (With or Without a Google account): To share a calendar with one or more people who also have Google accounts, go to ‘My Calendars’ and select the down arrow on the calendar you want to share.  On the list of tabs that come up, a ‘Share Calendar’ option will be available. After clicking this option, you will be taken to a page where you can simply type in the Email of the person you wish to share with and alter their permission settings on the same page.

    If you need to share your calendar with someone who doesn’t have a Google account. Go to the top of the resulting ‘Share Calendar’ page, and select ‘Calendar Details’. On this next page, go down to where it says ‘Calendar Address’ where you’ll be able to click on one of two buttons for either ‘iCal’ or ‘HTML’ format. You’ll then be given a link that you copy and send to someone who doesn’t have a Google account. Upon using the link, the recipient will be able to view, but not edit your Google Calendar.
  8. Add a Friend’s Calendar or Other Interesting Calendars: In order to add a friend’s or acquaintance’s calendar, go to ‘Other Calendars’ at the far left of the calendar page. Click the down arrow on this feature and you will be presented with various tabs, one of which says ‘Add a Friend’s Calendar’. You can then enter your friend’s Email, and a request will be sent to them. Once this is approved, their calendar will be visible within your own.

    To add other interesting calendars to your own, such as specific holidays, phases of the moon, sports schedules, etc., select ‘Browse Other Interesting Calendars’ instead of ‘Add a Friend’s Calendar’ on the list of tabs provided from ‘Other Calendars’. This will bring you to an extensive list of other specific calendars which you can incorporate into your own.
  9. Create All-Day Events: If you’d prefer to have an all-day event instead of selecting a given block of time on a certain day, you can do it by clicking on the space directly below the listed day of the week. After doing so you can title the event and treat it like any other created event in Calendar without it being time-specific.

    If you’d like to have a multiple-day event which isn’t time-specific, simply drag a row across those same top boxes of all the days which you want to have your event.
  10. Compare Calendars to Add Events: This feature goes along with the one that allows you to add a friend’s calendar to your own calendar. If you’re hoping to coordinate an event with someone you know, and want to make sure that they’ll be available during that time, you can access their calendar while adding an event to your schedule. Additionally, this will add the same event to their schedule so they’ll know when to attend.

    To set this up, you’ll first need to have added a friend’s calendar to your own (this process is explained in a previous tip). Then, when creating an event, go to ‘Edit’. On the ‘Edit’ page, the first screen you’ll see will be the ‘Event Details’ tab which will be titled at the top of the screen. You’ll want to select the tab next to it which will be titled ‘Find a Time’. Here you can add guests who have shared their personal calendars with you, and you can compare schedules side-by-side. Then, you can simply select a time block in which you’re both available and create a new event.

 

 

Google Drive and OCR

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Optical character recognition (OCR) is a commonly overlooked feature in Google Drive.  Google Drive has the ability to open noneditable PDFs and images of text and convert them to a Google Docs for you to edit. This is a very easy feature to use within your Google Drive. Take a look at the short video tutorial on how to use OCR in Google Drive.