Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Two Lesser Known Google Docs Options

Today, quite by accident, I discovered a couple of things about Google Docs that I had not previously seen. I'm sure these options have been there for a while, but unless you were looking for them you probably wouldn't find them.

The first feature, widening and narrowing of columns in your Google Docs display, is one I discovered when a colleague came running to me for help this afternoon. Apparently, she had accidentally dragged the dividing lines some of the columns in her Google Docs homepage to the point where she could no longer see her document's titles on the page. This was on a netbook so she probably would have seen them on a larger display. To fix the problem we had to move to large monitor, locate the column dividing lines, and drag them back into place to make her document titles appear on the screen again. The screen capture below shows you where to click to arrange the column width. (Click image to view full size)

The second lesser known feature is in the settings menu in your Google Docs account. In the settings menu you can subscribe to an RSS feed for your documents. This could be helpful for tracking changes in a document that you have shared with multiple collaborators. The screen capture below shows you where to find this option. (Click image to view full size)

Applications for Education
If you work with enough teachers and or students, eventually you'll come across someone that did what my colleague did today and arrange their columns to the point that they cannot access their documents. The division lines are easy to miss, in fact, I never noticed them until today.

The RSS feed for your Google Documents could be helpful for tracking updates to a document that you have many colleagues or students working on. Rather than logging into your Google Docs account, you can check the changes as a part of your regular scroll through your RSS reader.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google Earth Across the Curriculum
Useful Google Docs Updates
Need Storage? Get a Google Docs Account