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Google Apps: The Missing Manual 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0596515799
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Editorial Reviews Review

A free alternative to Microsoft Office? Google Apps gives you that plus plenty of bonus reasons to switch: collaborate on documents with others at the same time; whip up a Web page stocked with downloadable files; and work on it all from any Web-connected computer. About the only thing Google doesn't offer is a guide like Google Apps: The Missing Manual--the authoritative and reader-friendly way to break free of Office.

Top 14 Google Docs Tricks
1. If you install Google Gears (, you can edit Docs word-processing documents offline, and Docs automatically syncs them with the online version the next time you sign in online.
2. If you make other folks collaborators on Docs documents and spreadsheets, everyone can work on the files simultaneously. To invite collaborators, head to the upper-right Share button (for documents) or Share tab (for spreadsheets).
3. It’s a snap to publish documents created in Docs as blog posts—just select "Publish as web page" from the Share menu, and then click the "Post to blog" button.
4. If you want to embed a Docs presentation in a Web site, just go to the Publish tab, click "Publish document", and then copy the HTML that appears in the Mini Presentation Module box. Paste the code into your site’s HTML, upload the revised version of the site, and voilà!
5. Google gives you a whole slew of functions to help make working with spreadsheets more efficient. For the complete list, go to (The GoogleLookup function is particularly nifty.)
6. If your Docs list is getting cluttered, you can hide files (documents, spreadsheets, or presentations) to keep your list clean. Just turn on the checkbox next to any file you want to hide (you can select more than one), and then click the Hide button. To make a hidden file reappear, find All Items in the left-hand menu and, if necessary, click its + sign to expand it. Then click Hidden to see your hidden files; select the one(s) you want to see in your Docs list, and then click Unhide.
7. You can easily turn spreadsheet data into all kinds of charts: column, bar, pie, line, area, or scatter. To create a chart, open your spreadsheet to the Edit tab, select the range of cells you want to convert into a chart, and then click the "Add chart" button. In the Create Chart box that appears, tell Docs what kind of chart you want to create and fill in the other info it needs, and then click "Save chart."
8. If you create a chart based on a Docs spreadsheet, you can save it as an image and insert it into a Docs document. After you create your chart, click its upper-left Chart link and select "Save image". Save it to your computer, and then open the document you want to put it in. Click Insert and select Image, then tell Docs where to find the file on your computer.
9. If you don’t like a change that you (or someone else) made to one of your Docs files, no problem. Just head to that file’s revision history (click File and then choose "Revision history") and pick a previous version that you like better.
10. If you’re working on a computer that doesn’t have Adobe Reader and you need to print a document, click Share and select "View as web page (Preview)" to open the formatted document as a Web page. You can then print it from your Web browser. The formatting isn’t quite as good as if you print from a PDF—and you’ll probably have the browser’s header and footer—but all the content is there.
11. If you’ve published a Docs document as a Web page, you can make the Web page update automatically whenever you edit the document. Just click Share and select "Publish as web page"; then turn on the "Automatically republish when changes are made" checkbox.
12. To see how your Docs document will look to folks you share it with, click the Share This Document page’s "Preview document as a viewer" link. If the preview doesn’t look quite right, then go back and edit the document before you share it.
13. You can add YouTube videos to your Docs presentations. In the blue bar above the edit pane, click "Insert video". Google opens a box where you can search YouTube videos by keyword. Find the one you want and click it to select it. Then click the Insert Video button to put the video on your slide. Once it’s there, you can move, resize, or delete it, just like any image or shape. During a slideshow, viewers can play the video by clicking the Play button on its slide.
14. When you’ve got several collaborators editing the same document all at once, have each person choose a different color for his text to help sort out who made what changes. (The simplest thing is to have each person use the same text and highlight color.) Then, when you finalize the document, simply select the whole thing and click the "Text color" button to change the rainbow of text colors to basic black.

Top 10 Cool Things about Gmail
1. Gmail’s system of organizing emails into conversations (a collection of all the messages in an exchange) makes it easy to keep track of the various messages in a discussion.
2. You can access Gmail from a cellphone or other mobile device. Just start up your phone’s browser and point it to to sign in.
3. Although you can have periods in your Gmail address, Gmail doesn’t actually recognize periods—it treats the address exactly the same with or without the periods. So if your Gmail address is, emails sent to or even will reach you.
4. If you’re reading an email and want to set up a filter for this message and similar ones, click More Actions and select "Filter messages like these". (You can also select messages in a mailbox, and then choose this option.) Gmail shows the filter options with the sender’s From address already filled in. From there, you can filter by sender and/or any of the other filtering criteria.
5. Gmail scans your emails, looks for keywords, and then pairs the email with advertising that relates to those keywords. Usually, one ad’s displayed above the message you’re reading and several others are on the right-hand side of the page (they’re easy to ignore). But Gmail tries to keep things tasteful, so if you receive an email about a tragedy, such as a death in the family, you won’t see any ads at all.
6. You can set up your Gmail account so that messages sent to your other email accounts arrive in your Gmail inbox. That way, you can check all your email accounts in one place. Even better, in Gmail, you can send emails so that they look like they come from your various email accounts.
7. If you write emails in more than one language, Gmail tries to guess the language of the email you’re working on and uses the appropriate dictionary. (If Gmail’s wrong, next to the Check Spelling link, click the arrow, and, from the list that appears, select the language you want.)
8. You can chat with your AOL Instant Messenger buddies through Gmail’s version of Google Talk. In Gmail’s left-hand Chat section, click the Options link and select "Sign into AIM", then follow the directions.
9. To help protect you from viruses and other Internet threats, Gmail neither sends nor receives executable files—they typically have the file extension .exe—which can launch programs and wreak havoc on your computer.
10. Instead of folders to file your messages in, Gmail uses labels to organize messages. You can assign more than one label to a message, so you have several ways of finding it and don’t have to remember which folder you put it in.

11 Ways to Save Time with Google Apps
1. With Google Docs, you and your coworkers can edit the same document simultaneously, so you don’t have to waste time emailing files or tracking down the current version.
2. Put the Gmail gadget on your iGoogle page so you know right away when new email lands in your inbox (and can read it with one click).
3. When you’re away from a computer, check your Google Calendar events and appointments by sending a quick text message from your cell phone. Send one of these messages to GVENT (48368):
  • "Next" to get a message about the next event in your calendar.
  • "Day" to get a message listing all of today’s events.
  • "Nday" to get a message listing tomorrow’s events.
  • 4. Don’t waste time waiting around for a friend or coworker to answer your email. Use Google Talk to see at a glance whether the other person is online; if she is, click her name to start chatting. 5. Quit slowing yourself down by reaching for the mouse. Use the keyboard shortcuts available for Google Docs (, Gmail (, and Google Calendar ( to bring your data entry up to power-user speed.
    6. If you use Firefox or Internet Explorer to browse the Web, install the Google Toolbar so you can keep an eye on Gmail, add events to your Calendar, and open files as you zip around the Web.
    7. Use Gmail’s colored labels so you can scan your messages and quickly find what you’re looking for. Or simply use Gmail’s awesome search feature to zero in on a message.
    8. Creating a Web site? Don’t get flummoxed by HTML, CSS, or any other what-the-heck-does-that-mean acronym. Use Google Page Creator, which comes preloaded with layouts and color-coordinated themes so you can see your pages as you build them.
    9. Speed up data gathering by creating a form that automatically feeds data into a Google Docs spreadsheet: Create a new spreadsheet, and then click the Share tab. In the "Invite people" section, turn on the "to fill out a form" radio button, and then click "Start editing your form". The form can have text boxes, multiple choice lists, checkboxes, and radio buttons. Click "Next, choose recipients" and specify who’ll receive the form. You can publish the form to the Web or embed it in your Web site or blog. When someone fills out the form, the info goes straight into your spreadsheet.
    10. Send or receive files as you chat in Google Talk—no waiting around for someone to remember to send them via email or drop them off at your desk. Just drag-and-drop the file into the chat window, and off it goes.
    11. Gather the info you refer to most in one place: your iGoogle page. Using Google gadgets, you get at-a-glance access to news headlines, weather forecasts, local movie times, a dictionary, and a whole lot more. So instead of chasing information around the Web, you’ve got the info that’s important to you right where you want it, all on one page. Best of all, you can put mini-versions of your Google apps on iGoogle, including Docs, Gmail, Talk, and Calendar, making it easy to keep an eye on your work and sending your productivity through the roof.

    About the Author

    Nancy Conner has a PhD in English from Brown University and has taught writing, including technical writing, to college students for more than a dozen years. She is currently a freelance copyeditor, specializing in technical books covering topics ranging from the MS Office suite to programming languages to advanced network security.


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    Product Details

    • Series: Missing Manual
    • Paperback: 752 pages
    • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (June 6, 2008)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0596515790
    • ISBN-13: 978-0596515799
    • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
    • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
    • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #799,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

    More About the Author

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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    51 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Brett Merkey on June 8, 2008
    Format: Paperback

    This Google apps book has more of a user focus and a bit more hand-holding than other Google app books I have taken a look at lately. (Google Apps Hacks)

    The 13 chapters are divided into 4 parts:
    1) Setting up with Google and using the word processing, spreadsheet and presentation creation software.

    2) Using Google e-mail, communication and calendar applications.

    3) Customizing the Google home page and creating Web pages without HTML knowledge with the new Page Creator.

    4) Using Google applications within organizations. This last section went into administering users and facilitating team collaboration. This was interesting and something I had not seen in other books.

    This "Missing Manual" is pretty thorough and has a good index. If your goal is to *use* Google applications (rather than program them), this book is an excellent reference and guide.

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    27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Dan McKinnon VINE VOICE on September 23, 2008
    Format: Paperback
    As a long time Google sycophant, pretty much anything this company puts out I love and the case is no different as it relates to the Google Apps suite of products. Released within the last couple of years these programs have quickly taken the world by storm and I rarely ever create a document or spreadsheet outside this environment any more. The Missing Manual line of books always does and incredible job of teaching regular joes and janes how to get around their computer and this book is no exception. Focusing on all the popular apps like Spreadsheets, Gmail, Talk, Calendar, iGoogle, Page Creator and more this book covers all the angles in 700+ pages of great writing and content.

    This book WOULD have been an easy 5 stars but the lack of color really hurts this release, so much so I dropped a star off. I don't understand why some books that need color are denied this at pre-release time while other books that don't need it get the full treatment.

    Great book, just could have been even THAT much better.

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    19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Allen Stenger on February 13, 2009
    Format: Paperback
    This is a good overview of a number of useful free web-based applications put out by Google. It is especially helpful for alerting you to some non-obvious features of the apps. Google Apps are an exciting development not only because they are a free way to perform most common computer tasks, but because they permit a high degree of collaborative work. They are also pleasing to those of us who prize simplicity in computing (I like the phrase "hyperlink carnival" used on p. 411 to describe the typical dotcom home page, contrasted to Google's simplicity).

    A book about Google Apps is bound to be awkward, because they are not a single subject and are aimed at several different audiences. In general this book assumes the reader is already familiar with the type of application being discussed, and just needs to learn how to use the Google version. In particular the presentation focuses on individual features and doesn't say much about workflow. For example, although Google's spreadsheets are simple, and well-described here, I don't believe anyone who was unfamiliar with spreadsheets would be able to figure out how to use Google Doc Spreadsheets from this book.

    The section on Google Docs (word processing, spreadsheet, slideshows) goes fairly quickly through the available editing functions. It goes into more detail on the collaboration functions (since documents are stored on the web, you can collaborate with anyone else who can get on Google), version history, and reconciling online and offline edits. This section of the book works well.

    The section on Communications (email, talk, calendar) really does start at the beginning and assumes you've never done this before. This also works well, although it is a little overwhelming for Gmail because there are so many features.
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    12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Janis Kelly on August 14, 2008
    Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
    Thorough, well-written book that opens up new, er, vistas in Google. Not full of techie twaddle. Works for real people.
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    14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Carl Smith on August 3, 2010
    Format: Paperback
    Things like "There's something inspiring about a brand-new calendar..." aren't useful for me and yet the actual instructions are mixed in with narrative like that. for the 'missing manual' I'd hope for clear step by step instructions with the background to make it more intuitive. I'd like a book that speeds up my learning time on new software, not slows it down.
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    7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. Larkin on December 21, 2008
    Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
    If you use any Google Applications this is the book for you. I liked it so much that I had to get another one and give it away as a gift. While Google applications are always changing this book gives you 90 % of what you need and it even covers information that I didn't know. It's well worth the price and is the only book out there that tells it all. for example, I didn't realize that if you register a domain name with google that you can switch it over to since that's who actually registers the domain name for them. It tells you that and how to transfer evertything properly. No more printing out of help text to find out how to do things.
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    9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 10, 2008
    Format: Paperback
    Nancy Conner's GOOGLE APPS: THE MISSING MANUAL offers a free alternative to Microsoft Office, covering all of Google Apps' downloadable files, step-by-step coverage of Gmail, Docs, and Calendar, and tips on producing in Google anything you can do with Office: spreadsheets, slideshows, and word processing. Move the files back and forth between Google Apps and Office and learn how to create a Wiki website with this outstanding guide.
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