Google Drive on the Go

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under drive, new feature

g-driveGoogle Drive is, as many of you know, the cloud service that stores your files (any files!) and  lets you edit Docs, Spreadsheets and Presentations (Google call them ‘Slides’) – wherever you are. With or without an internet connection.

Beginning today, Google have launched 3 new standalone apps for Android and iOS to edit Docs, Spreadsheets and Presentations. Whereas before you’d have to jump into the Drive app, click create, choose the type of document you want etc – now it’s one step, into the app that’s appropriate to your needs, you can see a screenshot of the Spreadsheets one below:




Hope you like them!


Google Drive on the Desktop at UoB

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under drive, interesting feature, new feature

g-driveGoogle Drive, for those who don’t know, is a product from Google that allows you to:

  • upload any file, of any type, and have it accessible from wherever you have a web browser or mobile device.
  • create and collaborate with others, in real time, across Desktop or Mobile, on Google Docs (hugely similar to Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint)

Although we launched in April 2014 with Google Drive along with Gmail and Calendar – we’ve not publicised it or made any changes to it in that first year. Despite this, a lot of staff have found it by themselves and usage at Bristol is already one of the highest for a Google EDU site, with over  a million files already uploaded or created: http://googleatuob.blogs.ilrt.org/2014/02/13/stats-stats-and-more-christmas-stats/

Beginning now, we’re making Drive easier to use and to access inside the University by installing Google Drive for Desktop on all University managed Windows PCs that are not in open access rooms. This means that you will be able to save directly to Drive from within any of your applications and have that saved file available, anywhere in the world where you have a web browser, Google Drive for Desktop, or a mobile device.

To demo this feature to you, we’ll be running roadshows around the University like we did for the main launch – look out for dates soon!

We hope you find this new service useful and beneficial to your working. You can find more information online at: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/it-services/applications/google-apps/drive/



Bring a little something extra to Docs and Sheets with add-ons

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under drive, interesting feature, new feature

You use Google Docs and Sheets to get all sorts of stuff done—whether you’re staying up late to finish that final paper or just getting started on a new project at the office. But to help take some of that work off your shoulders, today Google are launching add-ons—new tools created by developer partners that give you even more features in your documents and spreadsheets.


To browse through add-ons for Docs and Sheets, select Get add-ons in the Add-ons menu of any open document or spreadsheet. (Add-ons for spreadsheets are only available in the new Google Sheets).

Once you install an add-on it will become available across all of your documents or spreadsheets and you can start using it right away.

Here are just a few examples of how add-ons can help you do more with Docs and Sheets:

Get approvals from Docs and Sheets 
Need to gather approvals or feedback? Letter Feed Workflows routes your document to the right people and adds a simple “Approve” button right inside your document or spreadsheet. You’ll be notified as soon as it’s approved, and can publish the final version with a single click.

Print address labels and name tags 
With Avery Label Merge you can seamlessly import addresses or names from Sheets into Docs for printing. Just pick the type of Avery labels you’ll be printing and your document will be formatted to match the layout of your label pack.

Create a bibliography without leaving Docs 
Citing sources is about to get much easier for the millions of students who use Google Docs to write papers. TheEasyBib Bibliography Creator helps you cite books, journals, and websites in MLA, APA, and Chicago style by entering in titles, journal article names, and websites right inside your document.

Send customized emails 
With Merge by Mailchimp you can send customized emails from Google Docs. Use merge tags to pull info from a spreadsheet into your document. Once your data is merged, hit send and your personalized emails will be delivered.

These are just some of the many add-ons that are available for you to use right now in the Docs or Sheets add-on stores, with lots more on the way.



(These are currently rolling out, you may find they are not available to your staff account right now!)


Five Ways to Track Edits in Google Drive

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under drive, interesting feature

There are plenty of benefits to using Google Drive: Sharing files to provide others access, collaborating on revisions to the same document at the same time as others and watching the changes take effect in real-time, and unlimited storage space for Google Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Forms and Drawings. With all these great collaborative features, did you know it is also very easy for you and your team members to keep track of changes that are made to your shared files or folders?

In this blog post, we will highlight some of the features available in Google Drive that help you stay up-to-date on recent modifications to your files stored in the cloud:

  • New Activity Stream
  • Update Indicators
  • Comments
  • Sort by Last Modified
  • Revision History


New Activity Stream

It’s easy to stay aware of what your collaborators have been up to in Google Drive, thanks to the new activity stream in Google Drive. The feature began rolling out to Rapid Release track customers in mid-January, and allows Google Apps for Business, Education and Government users to view recent actions taken on files or folders in Google Drive. Prior to the update, users had an “Activity” point of view available in the left sidebar, where they could view a list of items in order of when they were last edited either by you or others who have access.

Now, with the activity stream feature, you have an overview of who made modifications and a description of what action they took: Edited, renamed, uploaded, shared, commented, moved, etc. To use the activity stream feature, select a file or folder from Google Drive and click the “Details and activity” button in the top, right corner.


Update Indicators

Update indicators in Google Drive make it easy to recognize if a shared file has been changed by a collaborator since you’ve last viewed it. If update indicators are turned on in Drive Settings, the title of updated items will display in bold until you open them to see the changes that were made.

To take advantage of update indicators, click the gear icon in Google Drive and select “Settings.” Next, locate the “Update indicators” section, and ensure the box is checked next to “Bold any updated items.”


Inserting comments in files is a great way to give direction, start a discussion, add a suggestion or ask a question in Google Documents, Spreadsheets or Presentations. If a collaborator is provided “Can edit” or “Can comment” access to your file, they can insert comments to suggest a modification to text, cells or slides. This will be helpful to not only track proposed changes, but also to hold a discussion about the suggested change before taking action on the shared file. When the discussion is over, you can mark a comment as resolved and it will be available to reference later when you click the “Comments” button in the top, right corner of the document.

So, if your team uses a spreadsheet for tracking and manipulating data, you could use comments to seek your team members’ opinions on additions or changes before actually moving forward with edits. Collaborators can reply to the comment, and even mention another team member in the comment. To address your comment to someone, simply add a plus sign before their email address and they will be notified of the comment via email.

Sort by Last Modified

There are multiple sorting options available in Google Drive, so you can view the contents however it makes sense to you. If you’re primary interest is seeing the most recently updated files at the top of your file list, then “Last Modified” is your go-to. To sort your items by Last Modified, click the drop-down arrow in the second or third column in Drive, and select “Last Modified.” Next, click the column header so that “Last Modified” displays in red font. Now, your contents are listed in order of when they were last modified either by you or your collaborators. Plus, you can see the most recent editor’s name with a time or date stamp of when the changes took effect.


Revision History

The revision history tool in Google Drive is perfect for people who like to maintain control over their shared files. Revision history is available from the “File” menu in Google Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations and Drawings. The tool provides a list of dates and times of when revisions occurred, the editor’s name, and the color that will correspond with his or her changes made throughout the document. When edits were made that you do not agree with, you can select a revision and click “Restore this revision” to move that version of the document to the top of the Revision history list.

(this blog was originally published by our friends at Dito, you can find the original here: http://blog.ditoweb.com/2014/01/five-ways-to-track-edits-in-google-drive.html)


New Google Sheets: faster, more powerful, and works offline

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under drive, interesting feature, new feature

Whether you’re crunching big data or tracking your team’s budget, you don’t want to waste time waiting for files to load or re-doing edits that were lost because your Internet connection dropped. You can now get more done by switching to the new version of Google Sheets. It’s faster, supports larger spreadsheets, has a number of new features, and works offline.

Bigger, faster spreadsheets

The new Sheets supports millions of cells and kicks many of the old size and complexity limits to the curb. Scrolling, loading and calculation are all snappier, even in more complex spreadsheets.

New features based on your feedback and requests 

Filter views is a new feature unique to Google Sheets that lets you quickly name, save and share different views of your data. This comes in handy when you’re collaborating so you can sort a spreadsheet without affecting how others see it.

Whether you’re new to formulas or a whiz at running complex functions, it’s now easier to set up and perform calculations. New function help and examples guide you as you type, and error highlighting and coloring make it easy to spot and fix mistakes.

As another time-saving improvement, text now automatically flows into empty adjacent cells—no manual merge needed.

With the improved conditional formatting, you can add rules to change the colors and styles of cells in your spreadsheet based on custom formulas.

No internet connection? Work offline with Chrome 

You shouldn’t have to think about whether you have a WiFi connection when you want to work. So just like Google Docs and Slides, you can now make edits to Sheets offline. When you reconnect to the Internet, your edits will automatically sync. If you’ve edited Docs or Slides offline in the past, then you’re already set up to edit Sheets offline. If not, follow these one-time instructions for setting up offline in Chrome.

Ready to try it out? 

Turn on the new Sheets by checking the “Try the new Google Sheets” box in Google Drive settings. From then on, all new spreadsheets you create will work offline and include these new features. We’ll be adding a small list of missing features in the coming months, so if you rely on any of them, you may want to wait a little longer before opting in.

We hope you enjoy these and the many other updates that come along with the new Google Sheets, includingcolored sheet tabscustom number formattingpaste transpose and more.


Attaching files in Gmail

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under drive, gmail, interesting feature

In this blog, we try to give you new ways of working. Ways that will hopefully improve your productivity. This week, we’re going to show you how to share files using Google Drive, rather than attaching them directly to Gmail.


Benefits of Inserting Files Using Drive

Larger File Sharing

Traditionally when attaching files to Gmail, you are limited to 25 MB. Sharing a file instead, bypasses the need to attach it to an email, and allows you to send a file up to 10 GB in size. This functionality is possible due to the ability to upload files (and preserve them in their native format) up to 10 GB in Google Drive. Storing files in the cloud in Google Drive ensures that your important files in various formats are available anytime and on any device where you sign in to your Drive account.
Easier Collaboration
When sharing attachments, the purpose is typically to begin collaboration on a project. When sending documents or spreadsheets as attachments to emails to your colleagues, you can easily end up with multiple versions flowing back into your inbox. This workflow is a recipe for disaster. Before you know it, there are multiple versions of your spreadsheet or document circulating. You’re left with multiple revisions in multiple copies, and it is easy to get confused and accidentally start working with the wrong version by mistake.
By inserting a document using Google Drive, you can avoid this confusion because you and your collaborators are always working on the original document in its most up-to-date state. Collaborate on edits with your colleagues in the same document and the same time, and use chat and comments to take working with each other to the next level. Everyone is viewing the same content and can see the changes take effect in real time. Don’t agree with the changes a collaborate made? No problem. You can use the Revision History feature is Google documents to view changes and even restore a previous version of your document if necessary.
Maintain Doc Visibility
When you send an attachment, anyone can download, share, and make changes to it. The recipient has the freedom to forward the attached file to others, which results in a total loss of control over who is accessing your file. On the other hand, when sharing from Drive, you can control the visibility and sharing permissions for each document. Drive lets you be in control by allowing you to edit the collaborators.

How to Insert Files using Drive

Hover over the plus sign located next to the paperclip icon in a new message or reply screen.
Click on the Google Drive icon.
In the new window, choose the location of the file you would like to insert:
  • Upload – Select a file from your computer that you would like to upload to Google Drive and share
  • My Drive – Select a file from your My Drive point of view
  • Shared with me – Select a file from you Shared with me point of view
  • Starred – Select a file that you deemed as star-worthy
  • Previously selected – Select a previously used file
  • All items – Select a file from your file repository



After selecting a file and clicking Insert, the Drive file will be added to your email. Once you have finished composing your email, click send. Insert with Drive has a built in feature that will alert you if try to send your email without sharing the selected file with the recipient(s). You are able to set the file’s visibility directly from this alert, and then Share & send.


Inserting documents this way improves the way we send and work with file attachments. Now we have much more power to share large files, and have control over who can view or edit them. Use this method rather than the traditional way to attach files, so you can reap the benefits discussed above.
(this post was originally written by our friends at www.ditoweb.com)


new and streamlined navigation between your Google apps.

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under calendar, drive, gmail, new feature

Since we went live with Google back in April, you’ve used the familiar black bar at the top of the screen to swop between Gmail, Calendar and Google Drive – however, this is soon changing.

Over the next 3-5 weeks, Google will be removing the black bar and replacing it with a small ‘launcher’ that will provide quick and easy access to all your links by clicking a small button in the top right of your screen:




Clicking the launcher icon will open up a floating window that gives you access to any Google Apps that have been turned on for you:





The theory behind the change is two fold: 1) to make it more seamless to get around your apps and 2) to eliminate any distractions once you’re inside the app itself. It certainly makes for a cleaner experience, we hope you enjoy the new launcher!


Mally Mclane
Communication and Collaboration Services Manager
University of Bristol




Google Quota Changes

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under drive, gmail, new feature

30gb-free imageSince Gmail launched, it’s always had it’s own quota and since Google Drive launched, that has always had it’s quota too. As users use the products more/more, they’ve had to manage 2 quotas and to be frank, it’s confusing.


To get around this, Google have recently announced ‘unified storage’, where there is one quota for Gmail, Drive and Google+ (though UoB doesn’t yet use Google+):



This means that you now have one 30GB quota to use both for your Gmail and any documents you store on Google Drive.  Quota on Google Drive only applies for files you upload and do not convert to Google’s own format. You can have unlimited numbers of documents you create in Google Drive or that you convert.

(these changes will be rolling out across the month of June, you can always check your quota at the bottom of your Gmail window)