Have you noticed this icon while working inside of a Google Doc? How about a Google Slides project? Google Drawings? Do you have any idea what it does? In fact, it can be a powerful tool that allows the user to customize the format of a piece of text then quickly apply it at various points throughout the artifact.
To use the Paint Format tool:
- Format a piece of text/cell with the size, style, or color into the desired appearance.
- Highlight the text/cell, then activate the Paint format tool.
- To apply the format to a single word, simply double+click on the word. To apply the format to a series of words, a sentence, a paragraph, etc. then click-&-drag your cursor over the desired text.
- To quickly apply the format to multiple places throughout your artifact, double+click on the Paint format tool to lock it into the ‘ON’ position. When done, click on the Paint format tool again to turn it off.
To see the Paint format tool in action please refer to the video below from BetterCloud Monitor.
In addition to the Drive web app, Google recently created a web interface for each of their primary Drive apps:
Using these interfaces allows the user to see all of the files that are stored in their Google Drive that can be accessed by the particular app. For example, navigating to slides.google.com will show all of the Google Slides files stored in your Drive, as well as any presentations formatted for Microsoft PowerPoint that the Slides app can read.
At the top of the interface will be displayed a list of templates provided by Google for users to start with; why re-invent the wheel if you don’t have to, right? Clicking on the TEMPLATE GALLERY link in the top-right corner of the window will expand the bar to reveal additional available templates.
Now, Google has added the ability for G Suite for Education and Work users to use and upload their own artifacts to the TEMPLATE GALLERY under a tab for their organization.
- Navigate to one of the app web interfaces listed above.
- Click on the TEMPLATE GALLERY button in the top-right corner of the page.
- At the top-left there should now be two tabs: GENERAL and YOUR ORGANIZATION NAME. Click on the latter.
- Templates that have already been contributed to the gallery will now be displayed. Use the SUBMIT TEMPLATE button in the top-right corner of the page to upload and share your own template(s).
NOTE: If you do not see the new galleries, then this feature may have been disabled. Contact your Google Admin about requesting access to the new galleries and template submission option. For more information, please refer to this post on the G Suite Updates blog.
One of the tools found in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides is the ability highlight a piece of text, table cell, or any object for that matter on the page and link it to a comment. This allows users who have ‘Can edit’ or ‘Can comment’ access to provide feedback on the content of the file.
Another feature of the ‘Add comment’ tool is the ability to draw a user’s attention to a specific comment. This is handy when you are providing feedback on a collaborative document and want to direct a comment to a specific member of the group. To use, include the member’s email address with either an @ or + in front, then select from the list of matching users. This will send an email notification to the user you specify.
Google’s latest feature now gives us the ability to ‘assign’ an action to a specific user using the comment tool. Now, when you mention a specific user inside a comment, you will see the option to assign the action item to them. Assigning an action will send them an email notification AND tag the document inside of Drive.
When the recipient of an Action item opens Google Drive, they will see a ‘Follow-up’ notifier located in the top-right corner of the Doc (grid view) or at the end of the file name (list view). Hovering over the numerical notifier will show them how many action and/or suggestion items are contained within the document. When the recipient has completed the action item that was assigned to them, they can mark it as done by clicking on the check box located in the top-right corner of the comment box.
Finally, an action item can be re-assigned to a different member by using the ‘Reply…’ box to enter another member’s email address. The comment tool will detect the new user and ask you to confirm that you want to re-assign this action item.
For more information on using Action items with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides please refer to the Google Help page.
Users have asked for it and now they can have it. Yes, Google Drive now supports the integration of charts built from data within a Google Sheets file into Google Docs and Slides files. Now, when you go to the Insert menu and highlight ‘Chart’ from the drop-down menu, a new option is available labeled “From Sheets…” Some additional options include:
- Direct link to a Sheets file: Once you have inserted the chart onto your Doc or Slide, you can use it to jump directly to the Sheets file that contains the chart data.
- One-click updating: If the data in your Sheets file is edited, you can instruct your chart in the Doc/Slides file to reflect these changes with a single click.
For more information and to see examples of the chart integration in action, check out this great post from The Techy Coach Blog by Shawn Beard.
Last week Google announced on their Apps Update blog that they have just added new templates for their core Google Drive Apps: Docs, Sheets, and Slides. These new collections were designed by experts in a variety of fields including Intuit QuickBooks, Google Science Fair, and Reading Rainbow. And the best part? These templates are available to users via the web, Android, and iOS apps.
- From the web, use the File menu inside of any open project and choose New -> From template… or you can use the main links to each respective app
- From the mobile apps, tap the plus (+) button in the bottom-right corner of the app and select ‘Choose template.’
In my Digital Citizenship class, I sometimes use a Google Form as an assessment tool with my students. While a Google Form cannot be embedded into Google Classroom’s Stream (soon Google, yes?), one can easily attach the link to the live form. The first time I did this I posted the Form link as an Announcement, but then couldn’t tell when students actually completed the assessment. The second time around I posted the Form link as part of an Assignment, but while students remembered to ‘Submit’ the completed Form many forgot to ‘Turn In’ the assignment in Classroom. Now, I realize that I could just open up the Form Responses spreadsheet to check for completion, but I was so hoping for a more…efficient way to spot-check completion. That’s when Google does what it does best: change.
Last week in the Google for Education feed on Google Plus, they announced improved integration between Classroom and Forms (click here for the post). Now you can attach a Google Form to an assignment in Classroom (i.e. forgo the paper clip option and instead choose ‘Attach Google Drive Item’). Then, when students go to submit your Form, they will be prompted to also TURN IN the assignment in Classroom. As an added bonus, when teachers go to the Google Forms assignment in Classroom there is now a direct link to the Form Responses spreadsheet.
Sometimes you just have to embrace “Living in Beta.”
Flippity.net, makers of activity templates for Google Sheets, has created one that mimics the classic Jeopardy game show board. In four steps you can customize a game board consisting of six topic columns with five question-&-answer squares each.
Step #1: Use this link to access a ‘view-only’ version of the template from their website, which will open in Google Sheets. Use the Google Sheets File Menu to ‘Make a copy…’ so that you can edit the game board content. Customize the topic columns, question cells, and corresponding answer cells. Use the row headers to keep track of which questions cells are paired to which answer cells.
Step #2: Once you have finished customizing your game board, use the Google Sheets File Menu to ‘Publish to the web…’ From the pop-up menu, verify that you are publishing the ‘Entire Document’ to a ‘Link,’ then choose ‘Publish.’ Copy the URL that is generated to the virtual clipboard and then return to the game board.
Step #3: At the bottom of the Google Sheets project locate and click on the second sheet entitled, ‘Get the Link Here.’ Paste the ‘Publish link’ you just copied into the designated cell. This will auto-generate a Flippity link to your quiz show.
Step #4: Copy-&-Paste the Flippity link into a new browser tab/window to load your quiz show game board. To the left of the game board are your colored team markers. Use these to submit team answers and it will automatically keep track of each team’s score. Use the plus/minus signs at the bottom of the page to add/subtract the number of teams who as needed (min = 1, max = 6).
For each square:
- Click once on a point value to reveal the question.
- Click on the question to reveal the answer.
- For each team marker click the checkmark (green) if they provided the correct answer, click the X (red) if their answer was incorrect, or leave both blank if they failed to provide an answer within the allocated time. Click the answer square to return to the game board, where that question will now be grayed out to show it has been used.
- Correct answers earns points, incorrect answers lose points, and no answers neither gain nor lose points.
- Insert the Flippity link into your website for easy access in class and/or as a practice tool for students to use.
- You can embed YouTube videos into a question/answer cell from the YouTube ‘Share’ link.
- You can embed an image into a question/answer cell from the web.
- Because you can embed an image, you could also embed a QR Code. Use QR codes in conjunction with mobile devices to get teams to use their search skills with a specific resource in order to find the answer.
- To temporarily take down your game board for repairs, use the Google Sheets File -> Publish to web… menu option to un-publish the file. Just remember to re-publish when you’ve finished making changes.
- You cannot save your game process, so if you close your browser window/tab mid-game then teams will lose the points they had earned.