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Five New Ways to Reach Your Goals Faster with G Suite

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One of the core promises of Google Docs is to help you and your team go from collecting ideas to achieving your goals as quickly and easily as possible. That’s why last month we launched Explore in Docs, Sheets and Slides — with machine intelligence built right in — to help your team create amazing presentations, spreadsheets and documents in a fraction of the time it used to take.

Today, we’re introducing five new time-saving features designed to speed up and simplify the way you work, so you can focus on bringing your team’s ideas to life.

1. Spend less time figuring out who owns what with Action Items

According to research by the McKinsey Global Institute, employees spend about 20 percent of their work week — nearly an entire day — searching for details internally and tracking down colleagues for answers.  This can be especially true when a document is full of ideas, requests and comments, making it difficult to get a clear sense of who’s responsible for what.

To help keep your projects moving, when you type phrases like “Ryan to follow up on the keynote script,” or “Andrea to schedule a weekly check in” on desktop, Docs will intelligently suggest an Action Item to assign to the right person, thanks to Natural Language Processing (NLP).

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You can also manually assign an Action Item to someone in the Docs, Sheets and Slides desktop and mobile apps by mentioning their name in a comment and checking the new Action Item box. The assignee will get an email notification and see the Action Item(s) clearly highlighted with a blue bar when they open the file.

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2. Spend less time searching for the files that need attention

Once Action Items have been assigned, it’s easy for team members to identify documents, spreadsheets and presentations that need their attention. The next time they visit Docs, Sheets, Slides (or Drive) from their laptops or mobile apps, they’ll see a badge on any files with Action Items assigned to them, plus any unresolved suggestions that others have made to their files.

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3. Spend less time building questions with smarter Forms

Since its launch in 2008, more than a billion questions have been asked in Forms, allowing us to identify common patterns, like question types and the response options that usually go with them. With the help of neural networks, we can now predict the type of question you’re asking and suggest potential responses for you to choose from, giving you back about 25 percent of the time you used to spend creating a Form.

Let’s say you’re planning an all-day event at the office and need to know which day works best for your team. When you type “What days are you available next week?” Forms will intelligently determine that “Checkbox” is the ideal question type, and generate related response options that you can add one by one or all together.

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Also debuting today is a top-requested feature from our business and education customers — the new “File upload” question type. Your respondents can now upload files from their computer or Drive — all of which are neatly collected for you in a new Drive folder.  Note: This feature is only available for G Suite customers in Forms shared within their organization.

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4. Spend less time typing with a set of new voice commands

Last year, we launched Voice typing in Docs on the web to help you capture ideas, big and small, without lifting a finger. Today, we’re adding more ways to format and customize content with commands for changing text color, deleting words, inserting links and comments, plus a number of other ways to format, hands-free.

5. Spend less time switching between apps to get things done

We want you to be as productive and collaborative as possible, regardless of the tools you choose to work with, so we’ve partnered with Slack to make it even easier to work with Google Docs files.

With a click of the “+” button in Slack, you can bring files from Drive directly into a conversation with your team, or create new Docs, Sheets and Slides files right from Slack. You can check out more details on Slack’s blog.

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With the  introduction of Explore, and more and more updates to products that build in machine intelligence, taking back time spent on mundane, repetitive tasks will only get easier with G Suite. Now, you can focus your energy on creative and strategic work, not busy work.

Explore in Docs, Sheets and Slides Makes Work a Breeze

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Google built Google Docs to help you create your best work — from work, school or home, and everywhere in between. We know crafting presentations, projects and reports takes time and energy. That’s why today we’re introducing Explore in DocsSheets and Slides to bring you insights, design tools and research recommendations so you can create better work, faster.

Explore uses Google smarts to help you create amazing presentations, spreadsheets and documents in a fraction of the time they used to take… so you can get on with what’s most important in your life. It’s like having a researcher, analyst and designer by your side.

Insights, instantly

Today’s updates to Explore in Sheets help you decipher your data easily, whether you’re new to spreadsheets or a formula pro. Just ask Explore — with words, not formulas — to get answers about your data. You can ask questions like “how many units were sold on Black Friday?,” “what are the top three items by sales price?,” or “what was the total cost of jackets last month?” Less time crunching numbers + crafting formulas = more time to find key insights and use them.

We’ve also added new formatting suggestions to help make your data pop. Explore in Sheets is available on the web, Android and now on iOS, too!

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Beauty, baked in

Crafting the perfect pitch deck or sharing your team’s story is hard enough without having to make it look great, too. Explore in Slides makes design polishing simple. As you work, Explore dynamically generates design suggestions, based on the content of your slide. Simply pick a recommendation and apply it with a single click — no cropping, resizing or reformatting required.

We’ve seen that people save over 30% of the time they would have spent on formatting when they use Explore. So even if design isn’t your style, rest assured you’ll have a beautiful presentation to be proud of. Instantly.

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Research, made simple

Explore in Docs makes researching and writing reports on the go a whole lot easier. Whether you’re writing about mobile retail trends or planning your next team offsite, you’ll get instant suggestions based on the content in your document. We’ll automatically recommend related topics to learn about, images to insert and more content to check out in Docs on your AndroidiPhone or the web.

We know that it’s helpful to refer to other content when writing an analysis, summary or proposal. That’s why we’ve also made it easy to find a related document from Drive or search Google, right in Explore. Less time spent switching between apps more time to polish your ideas.

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We designed Explore in DocsSheets and Slides to make creating and working easy and most of all, fast — all backed by the power of Google. Let Explore save you time so you can focus on what matters most.

Google Introduced Android Add-ons for Docs and Sheets

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We know many of you consider your mobile device as your primary tool to consume business information, but what if you could use it to get more work done, from anywhere? We’re excited to introduce Android add-ons for Docs and Sheets, a new way for you to do just that—whether it’s readying a contract you have for e-signature from your phone, or pulling in CRM data on your tablet for some quick analysis while waiting for your morning coffee, Android add-ons can help you accomplish more.

Get more done with your favorite third-party apps, no matter where you are

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DocuSign lets you easily create signature envelopes right from Google Docs

We’ve worked with eight integration partners who have created seamless integrations for Docs and Sheets. Here’s a preview of just a few of them:

  • DocuSign – Trigger or complete a signing process from Docs or Sheets, and save the executed document to Drive. Read more here.
  • ProsperWorks – Import your CRM data to create and update advanced dashboards, reports and graphs on Sheets, right from your device. Read more here.
  • AppSheet – Create powerful mobile apps directly from your data in Sheets instantly — no coding required. Read more here.
  • Scanbot – Scan your business documents using built-in OCR, and insert their contents into Docs as editable text. Read more here.

You can find these add-ons and many more, including PandaDoc, ZohoCRM, Teacher Aide, EasyBib and Classroom in our Google Play collection as well as directly from the add-on menus in Docs or Sheets.

Give Feedback Faster with Quizzes in Google Forms

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Editor’s note: On Monday, we announced four new ways to help teachers engage their classes using Google tools. In this post, we’ll dive deeper into one of these tools: Quizzes in Google Forms. If you are at ISTE in Denver, visit us at booth #2511 in the expo hall to learn more and demo our new tools. 

Educators have told us that collecting feedback earlier in the learning process results in better outcomes for both teachers and students. But they’ve also shared that creating assessments and providing feedback can lead to hours of repetitive grading.

Dr. Ismael Piedra, a professor at the Instituto Technologico de Monterrey, for example, used “exit tickets” after his lectures to check student comprehension. But his attempts at gathering quick feedback would often result in 300 quizzes to grade and hours of work.

After months of pilots with educators like Dr. Piedra, we launched Quizzes in Google Forms on Monday to help teachers quickly create, deliver and grade assignments or assessments. With Quizzes, teachers can select correct answers for multiple choice and checkbox questions to reduce repetitive grading. They can also enter explanations and review materials to help students learn. And to make sure students understand the lesson material, teachers can prevent students from sending themselves a copy of their responses.

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Quizzes in Google Forms
Nick Marchese, a music and programming teacher at the Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, uses Quizzes in Google Forms to adapt his teaching throughout the learning process. “Quizzes help me optimize my teaching,” he explains. “After students take a quiz, I can check the summary of responses to see frequently missed questions and a visual representation of student scores. If I see there’s a question that a lot of students got wrong, then we start the next class by reviewing it.” Nick says that students love the immediate feedback they get while he loves how Quizzes can “automatically check multiple-choice questions and reduce time devoted to grading.”
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Immediate feedback on quizzes
Effie Kleinberg of Bnei Akiva Schools in Toronto, likes that Quizzes reduce the overhead of giving formative assessments. “Quizzes make it quick and easy to create and grade a student assessment,” he says. Effie posts his Quizzes as assignments in Google Classroom, where he is easily able to keep track of student responses and view results. Students receive quick, actionable feedback though explanations and review materials, without requiring Effie to manually grade each quiz.
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We made Quizzes available to all Google Forms users so we can continue improving based on your feedback. Tasks like automating repetitive grading are just the beginning, so we look forward to hearing what you think. Get started by creating your first quiz today!

New Ways to Keep Data Flowing Between Your Apps & Google Docs

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There was a time when office work used to be all about pushing physical paper. Computing and productivity tools have made things better, but workers still find themselves doing the same tasks over and over across the different apps they use: copying and pasting from a CRM app to a slide presentation, or manually exporting data from a project management app just to turn around and import it back into a spreadsheet. It’s the digital equivalent of pushing paper.
To make it easier to get the job done across multiple apps, without all the copy and paste, we’re announcing three new APIs and a new feature to help workers get to the data they need, when and where they need it.

Build seamless integrations with the new Sheets and Slides APIs

Our new APIs let developers connect their apps—and the data within them—more deeply with Google Sheets and Google Slides.
The new Sheets API gives developers programmatic access to powerful features in the Sheets web and mobile interfaces, including charts and pivot tables. For example, developers can use Sheets as part of a rich workflow that pushes data from their app into Sheets and allows users to collaborate on that data before the updated data is pulled back into the original app, removing altogether the need to copy and paste.

Teams at Anaplan, Asana, Sage, Salesforce, and SAP Anywhere are already building interesting integrations with the new Sheets API. Check out the video below to see an overview of what’s possible as well as several example integrations.

The new Sheets API is available today. Find the developer documentation as well as a codelab to help you get started at developers.google.com/sheets.

Similar to the Sheets API, the new Slides API gives developers programmatic access to create and update presentations. For example, developers can use this API to push data and charts into Slides to create a polished report from source data in other application, ready to present.

CongaProsperWorksSalesforceIQ and Trello are all building integrations with Slides using the new API. Several examples of what’s possible are in the video below.

Partner integrations with the new Google Slides API

The Slides API will be launching in the coming months, and these partner integrations will be available soon after. You can sign up for early access to the Slides API at developers.google.com/slides.

Keep your data in sync with the new Classroom API

For developers building tools and workflows for schools, the Classroom API has launched new coursework endpoints to help you build stronger integrations that keep your data in sync. Read the full announcement on the Google for Education blog, here.

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Sync assignments & grades programmatically with the Google Classroom API

Say goodbye to stale data with linked charts

Finally, to make sure we can help keep all this data flowing seamlessly from app to app, users can now also embed linked charts from Sheets into Docs or Slides. The result? Once the underlying data in a spreadsheet changes, whether that change comes from an action taken in another app via the API or a collaborator, an updated chart in the corresponding presentation or document is just one click away.

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Linked charts allow for easy updates in Docs & Slides

For more information, see how to add a chart to a document or to a presentation.

New templates in Google Docs: designed by experts, made for you

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Google launched a collection of templates in Docs, Sheets and Slides in September to give your documents, spreadsheets, and presentations the extra polish they deserve. Today, we’re adding to that collection with new templates designed by five experts in their fields. All templates are available on the web and on Android and iOS.

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For a head start, at school and beyond

Reading Rainbow, the third longest running children’s TV series in US history and award-winning digital service, has been inspiring children to read for over 30 years. Reading Rainbow created a lesson plan and a book report template in Docsto help teachers and students get things done.

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The Google Science Fair (GSF) is an annual online science and engineering competition open to teens globally. In the competition, young scientists have tackled issues like world hunger, life-threatening diseases and the energy crisis. Use GSF’s science fair template in Slides for a head start on your next project—or for this year’s GSF.

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For your big ideas, at work and on the go

Intuit’s QuickBooks software helps small business owners get more out of financial planning with tools like automated budgeting, tax time reports, and payroll. Use the new annual business budget template by QuickBooks in Sheets to easily manage your budget so you can focus on building your business.

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GV provides venture capital funding to bold new companies. In the fields of life science, healthcare, artificial intelligence, robotics, transportation, cyber security and agriculture, GV’s companies aim to improve lives and change industries.The new GV pitch template in Slides helps entrepreneurs share their vision, based on proven presentation tactics.

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And, in the bestselling book, Made to Stick, brothers Chip and Dan Heath revealed that “sticky” messages of all kinds draw their power from the same main traits. In their big idea template in Slides, they use these principles to help you build and deliver your most memorable presentation yet.

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Jump-start your next project with these easy-to-use templates in Docs, Sheets, and Slides—available on the web and on your Android or iPhone.

Google Docs and Classroom: your school year sidekicks

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School’s in! As you settle into your classes and start to juggle soccer practice, club meetings and homework, we’re here to help. We’ve been spending the summer “break” creating new tools to help you save time, collaborate with classmates and create your best work—all for free.

Schoolwork, minus the work

Writing papers is now a lot easier with the Research tool in Docs for Android. You can search Google without leaving Docs, and once you find the quotes, facts or images you’re looking for, you can add them to your document with just a couple taps. That means less time switching between apps, and more time perfecting your thesis statement.

 With Voice typing, you can record ideas or even compose an entire essay without touching your keyboard. To get started, activate Voice typing in the Tools menu when you’re using Docs in Chrome. Then, when you’re on the go, just tap the microphone button on your phone’s keyboard and speak your mind. Voice typing is available in more than 40 languages, so we can help with your French homework, too. Voilà!

Do more, together

We’ve made it easier for you to tell what was added or deleted in Docs—and who made the changes. Now when you’ve left a document and you come back to it later, you can just click “See new changes” to pick up right where your classmates left off.

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Forms helps you get a lot of information easily and in one place—so when you want to vote on your class field trip or collect T-shirt sizes for your team, you don’t have to sort through dozens of emails. With the new Forms, you can survey with style—choose one of the colorful new themes or customize your form with your own photo or logo, and we’ll choose the right color palette to match. Easily insert images, GIFs or videos and pick from a selection of question formats. Then send out your survey and watch as the responses roll in!

Your best work, your best you

Creating presentations, crafting newsletters and managing your team’s budget is hard enough without having to worry about making everything look good. With the new collection of templates in DocsSheets and Slides, you can focus on your content while we make sure it gets the expert polish it deserves. Choose from a wide variety of reports, portfolios, resumes and other pre-made templatesdesigned to make your work that much better, and your life that much easier.

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With Explore in Sheets, you can now spend less time trying to decipher your data, and more time making a point. Explore creates charts and insights automatically, so you can visualize trends and understand your data in seconds on the web or on your Android. It’s like having an expert analyst right by your side.

Mission control, for teachers and students

A year ago, we launched Classroom to save teachers and students time and make it easier to keep classwork organized. Today we’re launching a Share to Classroom Chrome extension to make it easy for teachers to share a website with the entire class at the same time—no matter what kind of laptop students have. Now the whole class can head to a web page together, without losing precious minutes and focus to typos.

New mobile apps for Docs, Sheets and Slides—work offline and on the go

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Every year, phones and tablets get better, and more of you are starting to use your mobile devices not just to view, but also to create and edit content. And while the Drive app is a convenient place to store your stuff, we want to make it easier for you to quickly find, edit and create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations on the go. Starting today, you can download new, standalone mobile apps for Docs and Sheets—with Slides coming soon. Need to find a spreadsheet? Go to the Sheets app. Need to create a document? Go to the Docs app. They’re all right there at your fingertips.

When you open the new apps, you’ll see your most recently edited files, which means less time searching and scrolling.

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The apps also come with offline support built in, so you can easily view, edit and create files without an Internet connection. Now, if you have a brilliant idea for a best-selling novel while traipsing through the Amazonian rainforest (or you know, something more probable, like during flight takeoff)…no problem. You can jot down your idea in the Docs app on your phone, even when you’re offline.

You can get the apps on Google Play [Docs] [Sheets] and in the App Store [Docs] [Sheets]. If you don’t have time now, over the next few days you’ll be prompted to download the apps when you go to edit or create a document or spreadsheet in your Drive app. And of course, you’ll still be able to use the Drive app to view and organize all of your documents, spreadsheets, presentations, photos and more.

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

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Whether you’re crunching big data or tracking your family 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.

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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.

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

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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.

 

Google Keep—Save what’s on your mind

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Every day we all see, hear or think of things we need to remember. Usually we grab a pad of sticky-notes, scribble a reminder and put it on the desk, the fridge or the relevant page of a magazine. Unfortunately, if you’re like me you probably often discover that the desk, fridge or magazine wasn’t such a clever place to leave the note after all…it’s rarely where you need it when you need it.

Google Keep

To solve this problem we’ve created Google Keep. With Keep you can quickly jot ideas down when you think of them and even include checklists and photos to keep track of what’s important to you. Your notes are safely stored in Google Drive and synced to all your devices so you can always have them at hand.

If it’s more convenient to speak than to type that’s fine—Keep transcribes voice memos for you automatically. There’s super-fast search to find what you’re looking for and when you’re finished with a note you can archive or delete it.

Changing priorities isn’t a problem: just open Keep on your Android phone or tablet (there’s a widget so you can have Keep front and center all the time) and drag your notes around to reflect what matters. You can choose the color for each note too.

Pro tip: for adding thoughts quickly without unlocking your device there’s a lock screen widget (on devices running Android 4.2+).

Google Keep is available on Google Play for devices running Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich and above. You can access, edit and create new notes on the web at http://drive.google.com/keep and in the coming weeks you’ll be able to do the same directly from Google Drive.