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How To Video: 5 Google Docs secrets

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How To Video: 5 Google Docs secrets

3:49 /

Google Docs as a cloud-based word processor is great on its own, but with these tips, it might be your go-to for all your document needs.

-Hey, everyone. I'm Sharon Vaknin. If I need to create a document, these are my top 3 choices: Microsoft Word, Open Office, or Google Docs. I like all those platforms, but lately I've been choosing Google Docs because I can access my documents no matter where I am, and you guys know that I like my apps free, and since it's in the cloud, Google can always add new features, some that you might know about, so, let's take a look. If you have a file on your hard drive that you want to edit in Docs, there are a couple ways to transfer them. If it's only a few files, my favorite method is just drag and drop. Just take the file from your hard drive and drag it into the Docs homepage. This trick only works in Chrome or Firefox. The other way to upload a bunch of files is by going to Upload in the homepage and selecting Folder. This is good if you wanna make the full switch to Docs. It will also let you move folders with subfolders in them. Here's a nice trick for adding photos to your docs. Instead of going to Insert, Image, and then Upload, just drag and drop the photo from your desktop and move the cursor to the place you want to put the photo. Doing this will actually put the picture in-line with the text. To make it much prettier, click the photo and select Fix. Clicking it will also give you the option to resize, and while we're talking about photos, I just found out that you can actually do a Google Image search within Docs to add a photo. Go to Insert, then Image, and Google Image Search. It's really fast and definitely beats searching for an image, saving it, and then re-uploading it to Docs. Okay. One of the best parts about Google Docs is that you can collaborate with other people, but it can get confusing when it comes to discussing specific parts of documents. There's a feature called Discussions which is nice for real-time conversations, but Comments are much more effective for collaboration. Highlight some text, right click it, and hit Comment. Comments can turn into threads and you can also use tagging here, so if you wanna address someone specific, type @ and the person's name. They'll get an e-mail notification about the comment. And, look, if you move text around, the comments will move with it. Can Microsoft Word do that? Nope. I really do love Google Docs for its word processing in the cloud, but let's not forget what happened to GMail a few months ago. Oh, yeah, buggy software caused people to lose thousands of e-mails, from GMail, so even though Google is a tech giant, it's good to take precautions. Here's how to back up all your Google Docs. In the homepage, hover over a document and select Actions, then go to Download All Items, then pick the file format you want them in and hit Download. And now, I saved the best for last. A tip for finding tips. Google Consumer Operations guy, Matt K., put together a rap to show you around the Google Docs Help Center, and I have to admit that a geek rapping about Google Docs is kinda sexy. -It's the Google Help Center, I'll start us off now and put my hand in the air, and point to a tool called the Search Box there-- -Come talk to me on my Facebook page and e-mail your how-to questions to howto@cnet.com <mailto:howto@cnet.com>. And for more how-to videos, visit cnettv.com. For CNET, I'm Sharon Vaknin and I'll see you on the interwebs.

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