Tag Archives: Google Docs

Improving active account awareness when opening files with multiple sign-ins

Quick launch summary 

We’re making it easier for you to identify which Google account is active when opening and contributing to Docs, Sheets, and Slides files.

When you’re logged into multiple accounts, like switching between your work and personal accounts, it can sometimes be confusing to determine which account is active when opening and collaborating on a Doc, Sheet, or Slide. We’re introducing a new dialogue that better indicates which account is active, and gives you the option to quickly change accounts.

This will help eliminate confusion and ensure you’re using the correct account when contributing to content.


Availability 

Rollout details 


G Suite editions 

  • Available to all G Suite editions 

On/off by default? 

  • This feature will be ON by default. 

Stay up to date with G Suite launches

Request and review formal document approvals with a new beta

What’s changing 

We’re launching a new beta that allows you to request and review formal approvals on Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. This feature gives you a direct way to get binding approvals on a file, and to see who’s approved them.



To learn more about this beta and to apply, see here.

Who’s impacted 

Admins and end users

Why you’d use it 

With this beta, you can easily request approval on specific files from a single or multiple reviewers. Once you add a reviewer to a file, they’ll receive a notification via email.

You’ll also have the option to specify a due date when requesting an approval. As the due date approaches, reviewers will receive reminders via email that their approval is needed. Reviewers will also receive reminders if their approval is past due.

For a single reviewer, the file is automatically approved or rejected once the reviewer makes their choice. For multiple reviewers, the file gets approved once all reviewers have selected “approve” and rejected once any reviewer selects “reject.”

 If you need to add additional reviewers to a request, you can do so as long as an approval is still pending. In addition, editors and pending reviewers can choose to re-assign a review request to a more appropriate party.

How to get started 

  • Admins: To apply for the Google Drive Approvals beta, see here
  • End users: 
    • Once this feature is enabled for your domain, to request an approval: 
      • In Google Drive, right-click the file you want to get approved and select “Approvals” from the list of options. 
      •  If you have the file open in preview mode, this option is also available in the actions listed in the three-dot drop-down menu. 
  • To approve or reject a file: 
    • If your approval is requested on a document, you’ll receive a notification email and can take action within Gmail: 
      • You can approve or reject the document in the preview pane, and add comments.
      • From Drive, you can see a pending request for approval in the action items associated with a file, or by right-clicking and choosing “View approvals.” 

Additional details 

Once you send a file for review, the content of the file cannot be modified, including leaving and resolving comments within the document. Only comments regarding the approval itself can be added.
Only editors can unlock the file, in which case the review request is cancelled. Reviews can be requested again once all revisions are made.

Helpful links 



Availability 

G Suite editions 

  • Available to G Suite Business, G Suite Enterprise, G Suite for Education, G Suite Enterprise for Education, and G Suite for Nonprofits 
  • Not available for G Suite Basic 

On/off by default? 


Stay up to date with G Suite launches

See changes in Google Docs over time with Compare Documents

What’s changing 

It’s now easier to compare two Google docs. This feature will show you the differences between the docs as “Suggested Edits” in a new document.


Who’s impacted 

End users


Why you’d use it 

This feature makes it easy to see changes between two docs over time. For instance, educators can use this tool to compare essays and track revisions, saving them time when grading.

On the other hand, business users can use this tool during contract negotiations to see what terms have changed throughout the negotiation process and to compare the final version of the doc to the initial version.


How to get started 


  • Admins: No action required. 
  • End users: To compare Docs: 
    • Open any Google Doc — this will become your ‘base’ document. 
    • From the toolbar, select Tools > Compare Documents
      • In the dialogue, click on Choose document to select the second Google Doc to compare against. 
      • In the “Attribute differences to field”, enter the name of the user who will be labelled as the author of the suggested edits in the comparison output file. 
    • Select Compare



A new document will be generated that shows all existing suggested edits from both docs as accepted. Users will be able to see the differences between both documents as suggested edits labeled with the name defined in the Attribute differences to field.


Additional details 

Doc owners and those with edit access can use this feature to compare documents.

Helpful links 



Availability 

Rollout details 


G Suite editions 


  • Available to all G Suite Editions 

On/off by default? 


  • This feature will be ON by default

Stay up to date with G Suite launches

See changes in Google Docs over time with Compare Documents

What’s changing 

It’s now easier to compare two Google docs. This feature will show you the differences between the docs as “Suggested Edits” in a new document.


Who’s impacted 

End users


Why you’d use it 

This feature makes it easy to see changes between two docs over time. For instance, educators can use this tool to compare essays and track revisions, saving them time when grading.

On the other hand, business users can use this tool during contract negotiations to see what terms have changed throughout the negotiation process and to compare the final version of the doc to the initial version.


How to get started 


  • Admins: No action required. 
  • End users: To compare Docs: 
    • Open any Google Doc — this will become your ‘base’ document. 
    • From the toolbar, select Tools > Compare Documents
      • In the dialogue, click on Choose document to select the second Google Doc to compare against. 
      • In the “Attribute differences to field”, enter the name of the user who will be labelled as the author of the suggested edits in the comparison output file. 
    • Select Compare



A new document will be generated that shows all existing suggested edits from both docs as accepted. Users will be able to see the differences between both documents as suggested edits labeled with the name defined in the Attribute differences to field.


Additional details 

Doc owners and those with edit access can use this feature to compare documents.

Helpful links 



Availability 

Rollout details 


G Suite editions 


  • Available to all G Suite Editions 

On/off by default? 


  • This feature will be ON by default

Stay up to date with G Suite launches

Mail merge with the Google Docs API

Posted by Wesley Chun, Developer Advocate, Google Cloud

Students and working professionals use Google Docs every day to help enhance their productivity and collaboration. The ability to easily share a document and simultaneously edit it together are some of our users' favorite product features. However, many small businesses, corporations, and educational institutions often find themselves needing to automatically generate a wide variety of documents, ranging from form letters to customer invoices, legal paperwork, news feeds, data processing error logs, and internally-generated documents for the corporate CMS (content management system).

Mail merge is the process of taking a master template document along with a data source and "merging" them together. This process makes multiple copies of the master template file and customizes each copy with corresponding data of distinct records from the source. These copies can then be "mailed," whether by postal service or electronically. Using mail merge to produce these copies at volume without human labor has long been a killer app since word processors and databases were invented, and now, you can do it in the cloud with G Suite APIs!

While the Document Service in Google Apps Script has enabled the creation of Google Docs scripts and Docs Add-ons like GFormit (for Google Forms automation), use of Document Service requires developers to operate within the Apps Script ecosystem, possibly a non-starter for more custom development environments. Programmatic access to Google Docs via an HTTP-based REST API wasn't possible until the launch of the Google Docs API earlier this year. This release has now made building custom mail merge applications easier than ever!

Today's technical overview video walks developers through the concept and flow of mail merge operations using the Docs, Sheets, Drive, and Gmail APIs. Armed with this knowledge, developers can dig deeper and access a fully-working sample application (Python), or just skip it and go straight to its open source repo. We invite you to check out the Docs API documentation as well as the API overview page for more information including Quickstart samples in a variety of languages. We hope these resources enable you to develop your own custom mail merge solution in no time!

Two new formatting tools available in Docs

Quick launch summary 

We’re introducing two new features in Google Docs that will help you format your work:

Insert section breaks and view section breaks in Docs
You can now insert a next page or continuous section break in Google Docs by going to Insert > Break. From here, you can select next or continuous. Note both types of breaks will start at the place of your cursor location.

To easily view where section breaks are located in your document, you can use the new show section breaks tool by going to View > Show section breaks. When Show selection breaks is enabled, you’ll see a blue dotted line where each section break is located.



Adjust margins per section 
It’s now possible to use the ruler to adjust the left and right margins by section. Previously, it was only possible to adjust the margins for the entire document.

If you don’t make a selection, the ruler will adjust the margins for the section that corresponds to the cursor location. Or, you can highlight multiple sections of your doc to be adjusted.

You can also adjust margins per-section by going to File > Page Setup.

Availability

Rollout details


G Suite editions

  • Available for all G Suite editions.

On/off by default?

  • This features will be ON by default.

Stay up to date with G Suite launches

Update all linked content with one click in Docs and Slides

What’s changing 

We’re adding a new “Linked objects” sidebar where users can see all linked content in their documents, such as embedded charts, tables, slides, and drawings.

Who’s impacted 

End users

Why you’d use it 

The Linked objects sidebar gives users the ability to quickly access all linked content to see if anything is outdated and update all the content with a single click.


How to get started 

Admins: No action required.
End users: To update the data in a multiple charts or tables:

  • In Docs or Slides, at the top click Tools > Linked objects
  • A sidebar will open on the right, at the bottom click Update all
    • Note: Click Update next to specific objects to update them individually. 

Additional details 

If you don’t see Update or Update All, your charts, tables, or slides may not be linked. To learn how to link charts, tables, or slides see this article in our Help Center.

Helpful links 

Update charts, tables, slides or drawings in a document or presentation. 
Link a chart, table, or slide to Google Docs or Slides. 

Availability 

Rollout details 

  • Rapid Release domains: Extended rollout (potentially longer than 15 days for feature visibility) starting on May 20, 2019. 
  • Scheduled Release domains: Extended rollout (potentially longer than 15 days for feature visibility) starting on June 17, 2019. 

G Suite editions

  • Available to all G Suite editions. 

On/off by default? 

  • This feature will be ON by default.

Stay up to date with G Suite launches

Work anywhere with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides in new offline mode

What’s changing 

It’s now possible for users to work on Docs, Sheets, and Slides files when your device is offline or have a bad internet connection within Google Drive. You can also preview which files are available offline with a new offline preview mode.

Right click on Docs, Sheets, and Slides files from within Google Drive to make those files available offline.

You can preview which files are available offline using the Offline preview mode

Who’s impacted 

Admins and end users.

Why you’d use it 

We know it’s important for users to access and work on their files while traveling or when there’s low connectivity. With offline mode, it’s now possible to create, edit, and comment on Docs, Sheets, or Slides files. Any changes made to files while offline will then sync in Drive once the user is connected again.

How to get started 

  • Admins: Admins can enable this feature for all or some users:
    • To let users enable offline access (recommended), go to Apps > G Suite > Drive and Docs.
    • To enable offline access for specific devices, see this article in our Help Center.
    • Note: The default for this feature is that all users can enable offline access on any device they sign into, but it is not enabled automatically except on Chromebooks 
  • End users: To work with your files while offline, you’ll need to enable offline access in your Drive settings:
    • From Google Drive, click the gear icon at the top right corner, select Settings > General and select Sync Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings files to this computer so that you can edit offline.
    • Once offline access is enabled, a checkmark icon will appear in the top right next to Settings (gear icon) and Support (question mark). When you click this icon, you can find the offline preview toggle. 



Additional details 

To make files available offline in Google Drive, right click on any file and toggle Available offline from the menu while connected.

When offline access is enabled, Google Drive also automatically and intelligently makes a certain number of Google Docs/Sheets/Slides files available offline based on how recently you accessed them. You can preview which files are already available offline automatically using the offline preview mode. You can also mark a file available offline -- so that it always remains available offline -- while in offline preview mode, as long as you are connected.

Helpful links 

Availability 

Rollout details 
  • Rapid Release domains: Gradual rollout (up to 15 days for feature visibility) starting on April 24, 2019 
  • Scheduled Release domains: Extended rollout (potentially longer than 15 days for feature visibility) starting on May 21, 2019. 
G Suite editions 
  • Available to all G Suite editions.
On/off by default? 
  • This feature will be ON by default for users who already have offline enabled.
Stay up to date with G Suite launches

Work with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides in Dropbox with a new beta

What’s changing 

This Dropbox beta will allow Dropbox users to work with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides directly in Dropbox.

G Suite admins with a Dropbox Business subscription for their organization can find more details and apply for the beta here.

Who’s impacted 

Admins and end users.

Why you’d use it 

When users are signed in to both their Google and Dropbox accounts, they can create and store Docs, Sheets, and Slides files in any Dropbox folder, alongside traditional files. You’ll be able to:

  • Create and edit web-based files: 
    • You can start a shared Docs, Sheets, or Slides file right from dropbox.com or from apps on Windows and Mac, and have it stored in Dropbox. When you open files, you’ll be taken straight to familiar Google editors within Dropbox.
    • You can also open .docx, .xlsx, or .pptx files from Dropbox in Docs, Sheets, or Slides, and save them back to Dropbox in their original format. 


Create Docs, Sheets, and Slides from within Dropbox Web UI

  • Share Files and manage access: 
    • Adding a Docs, Sheets, or Slides file to a shared Dropbox folder will automatically grant members access. You can also share files on a one-off basis without adding it to a shared folder by inviting people from Dropbox or creating a shareable link. 


    • Whether sharing files directly from Dropbox or with a link, you can set edit or view-only access. You’ll also have the option to set permissions to team only when sharing within your organization or anyone when sharing files outside your organization.


Dropbox sharing modal overlaid on Slides presentation 



  • Search your files: Docs, Sheets, and Slides files will show up when searching in Dropbox, including results from the content within your Docs, Sheets, and Slides in addition to file names. 


  • Collaborate: You’ll be notified of any comments or edits made on your Docs, Sheets, and Slides files in your Dropbox notifications, so you can easily stay on top of what’s happening with your files. 

We hope this feature will streamline workflows by reducing the time spent switching between multiple tools helping you use data more effectively.

How to get started 



Additional details 

Dropbox users on desktop, web, and mobile can view, comment, search, move, copy, and delete files. Note that mobile users will not be able to edit files.

Helpful links 

For more details and how to apply for the beta, see here.

Availability 

G Suite editions 

  • Available to all G Suite editions.

Stay up to date with G Suite launches

More collaboration insights in the Activity dashboard

This announcement was made at Google Cloud Next ‘19 in San Francisco. Check out Next OnAir to tune into the livestream or watch session recordings following the event.

Quick Launch Summary 

We’re introducing two new features to the Activity dashboard in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides:

Sharing history
Sharing history provides users with granular visibility into how your document is being shared with others across your organization and elsewhere. You’ll now see who shared access with who and what level editing access they’ve been granted.



Comment trend 
Comment trend will help users visualize the conversations in a particular document, showing the number of comments, suggestions, and replies created per day. A graph will display the number of new comment threads, replies, and unresolved comments over the lifetime of a document.



These updates add more context to the Activity dashboard, a feature we launched last year to help users see who’s viewed a particular document and viewer trends. These additions will further flesh out the Activity dashboard, making it a centralized hub where document owners and editors can see how other collaborators are engaging with their content.


Availability 

Rollout details 

G Suite editions 
  • Available to all G Suite editions. 
On/off by default? 
  • This feature will be ON by default.

Stay up to date with G Suite launches