The fastest way to open a local file in Google Docs

Creating a keyboard shortcut that opens your browser to the Google Docs upload option won't save you a lot of time, but you'll more easily transmit files as e-mail attachments.

What I really want to do is add a link to Google Docs on the right-click (context) menu in Windows Explorer. That way, I could open a file in Google Docs by right-clicking it in Explorer and choosing Send To > Google Docs.

Well, I wasn't able to figure out how to do this. So instead, I created a shortcut to open Google Docs, and then I browsed to the file and opened it the old-fashioned way.

This won't save you a lot of time, but at least Google Docs makes it easy for you to transmit the file to the service as an e-mail attachment. And, of course, you can send the file to other e-mail recipients at the same time.

To create the shortcut to Google Docs, log in to the service, copy the URL in the address bar, right-click the desktop or any folder window, choose New > Shortcut, paste the URL in the Location field, click Next, type Google Docs (or the name of your choice), and press Enter (or click Finish).

Now navigate to the shortcut you just created, right-click it, and choose Properties. Click in the "Shortcut key" box, and type your preferred keyboard shortcut (I chose Ctrl-Alt-G).

The Google Docs Shortcut Properties dialog box
Give your Google Docs shortcut a keyboard sequence to open the service in a flash. Microsoft

Now you can open the service by pressing the keyboard shortcut you just entered. Once it opens, choose Upload in the top-left corner of the window, browse to and select the file, give it a name (or use the existing file name), and click Upload File.

Alternatively, you can copy the unique e-mail address Google Docs generated for you under E-mail Your Documents and Files, open your e-mail program, paste the address in the To: field, and add any other recipients you want to send the file to. The file will be attached to the message automatically.

Google Docs limits your HTML and text files (including Word's .doc and .rtf) to 500KB, presentations to 10MB from your computer, and 2MB from a Web site (500KB as e-mail attachments), and spreadsheets to 1MB (spreadsheets can't be uploaded as e-mail attachments).

I'll keep looking for a way to add Google Docs to my right-click menu (either via the Open With or Send To submenus, or directly on the context menu), and when I find it, I'll let you know.

Tomorrow: remove unwanted items from your Send To menu.

About the author

    Dennis O'Reilly began writing about workplace technology as an editor for Ziff-Davis' Computer Select, back when CDs were new-fangled, and IBM's PC XT was wowing the crowds at Comdex. He spent more than seven years running PC World's award-winning Here's How section, beginning in 2000. O'Reilly has written about everything from web search to PC security to Microsoft Excel customizations. Along with designing, building, and managing several different web sites, Dennis created the Travel Reference Library, a database of travel guidebook reviews that was converted to the web in 1996 and operated through 2000.

     

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