Monday, April 28, 2008

New in Google Docs: Insert Videos, Edit CSS

There are so many updates at Google Docs, that you'll need many hours to explore them and start to use them.

You can now access your browser's contextual menu by pressing Shift while right-clicking. This might be useful if you want to search the text from a document online or to use other features included in your browser.

If you don't want to convert a document to PDF and print the generated file, the option to print the document as a web page is back in the File menu. For simple documents, this should be a better option.

For better customization, Google Docs lets you define CSS styles for your documents: Edit > Edit CSS. Those who know CSS will find it faster to define styles and use them in the HTML code. The most important limitation is that you can't use images that are not hosted by Google Docs in your CSS rules. This page shows you how to add watermarks, repeating backgrounds, styled headers, image borders using CSS.

Presentations can now include videos, obviously only from YouTube, but at least you can find videos directly from Google Presently. "Videos can help you make a point, command the attention of your audience, or even add humor to your presentation," points out Google Docs Blog. Unfortunately, when you export your presentations as PPT, YouTube videos are replaced with still frames.

To write some text that might guide you while presenting, use the new speaker notes feature. "These notes will be visible to you and your viewers in presentation mode or when you print your slides."

Google Docs Blog also mentions that everyone who uses the English interface should be able to view and edit documents offline. "When we first announced offline access several weeks ago, it was limited to viewing and editing word processing documents. Now, we've added view-only offline access to spreadsheets and presentations as well."