BY DR. MALIA HOFFMANN,
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON
We are gearing up to hold a Google training for teachers in Palm Springs this summer in August. Click here for details and registration. With this great opportunity in sight we will be writing a series of blog posts sharing some of our favorite Google tools and tips and tricks.
THE MOST POPULAR APP GOOGLE MAKES
Google Docs is the the most popular flagship Google app. If you know how to use Microsoft Word, you definitely will have no problem learning to use Google Docs, even if you’ve never used it before.
This post will share a few hidden gems in Google Docs that I think you’ll love.
Copying and pasting is one of the best features of computer processing. Yet, so often when we are copying and pasting from the web or other docs the formatting can be a little wonky.
Rather than fighting to get it just right, there are two options you can use to remedy this issue. If you haven’t already personalized the copied text, your first option is to use the clear formatting button, it looks like this (see Fig. A ) and is located on the top right-hand side of the toolbar.
Highlight the text you want to fix, and click the button, and Voila! The other option is called paste and match style. To do this rather than typing ctrl+v when pasting, just add the shift button: shift+ctrl+v. This will match your pasted text to the font you have already set. Easy peasy!
GOOGLE VOICE TO TEXT OPTION
With the rise in popularity of voice to text, e.g.: Siri, Alexa, and Google voice commands; Google Docs also has a voice to text option. To get started with this option go to Tools, Voice Typing, click the microphone icon that pops up on the lefthand side and start speaking what you’d like typed. You can also provide voice commands about formatting, e.g.: bold text, period, new paragraph, etc... This is great if you are a faster speaker than typer, have little ones that speak well but aren’t great typers yet, or if you want to make transcripts from audio files you may have.
GOOGLE EXPLORE ICON
You may have noticed a little floating star icon on the bottom right-hand corner of your doc looking like this (see Fig. B). This is the explore icon. It has similar features of the old research options you might be familiar with. By clicking explore, a pop-up box appears on the right-hand side. The first section provides Google smart search results of what your document is about. The second section provides you with some auto-populated smart image options, and the last section gives you related research items based upon what your document is about. Of course if you want to personalize your search you can type in the search box. My favorite feature of the explore option is the citation feature. To do this, type something into the search box, then to the right of the article you’d like to cite, click the “ icon just to the right of it. You can also set the citations to MLA, APA, or Chicago by clicking the three dot icon and make your selection. Set your preference before you click the “ to get the citation you want. You can see an example of the footnote below.
GOOGLE TRANSLATE FEATURE
The last tip I’d like to share is the Google translate feature. It’s pretty basic and not always grammatically correct, but does a word-for-word translation. It works in a pinch if you aren’t fluent and need a quick document translated. All you need to do is click Tools, Translate Document, choose the language you’d like and it makes a copy of your document in the new language.
These are just a few of my favorite features of Google Docs that I’m sharing with you. If you want to learn more in-depth features come to our training in August. If you have any questions or comments I’d love to hear them. Make a comment below or share some of your favorite features.
1 (2014, September 2). Insert Citations in Multiple Formats Easily with Google Docs - Lifehacker. Retrieved June 9, 2017, from http://lifehacker.com/insert-citations-in-multiple-formats-easily-with-google-1629738089