Tech Tips for Writers is an occasional post on overcoming Tech Dread. I’ll cover issues that friends, both real-time and virtual, have shared. Feel free to post a comment about a question you have. I’ll cover it in a future Tip.
If you use Google Apps (Docs, Sheets, Draw, and the rest), here are seven tricks that will make them even more useful:
- Revision History—this is a running list of all changes made to a document over time. It tracks collaboration and allows everyone to roll back a document to a previous version in case something unexpected happened. Great for writers editing a book, for that time you made a change, don’t like it, and wish you could bring back the original.
- Share/Collaborate–multiple people can create and use the same document and automatically save it to their Google Drive. This is great for note-taking, collaborative research, and plan/edit/rewrite. Great for writers in critique groups or working with an editor.
- Research–search topics on the internet but from within the document. That includes quotations, images, and a variety of other resources. Insert the result into a document complete with footnoted citations. Great for non-fic WIP where you want to keep track of information, to be included in a bibliography.
- Auto-save—documents are automatically saved to the cloud without any action on your part. I constantly hear from writers who lost their work. This doesn’t happen with Google Apps. If you can get to the internet, you can access your work.
- Download As—download any Google Apps file in another format—Office, Open Office, PDF, or RTF (rich text format). Great for submitting work to agents, queries, critique groups, and more.
- Embed—any Google Apps document into a blog, website, or any number of online locations. Called ‘publishing’, this is simple. I love this for writers. If you embed a preview to your document in your blog, and then update it a year later, it automatically updates the embed. No more out-of-date entries on old blog posts.
- Insert comments–to a collaborative document so stakeholders can see ideas from other members using the ‘Comments’ button. Perfect for online critique groups–or in-person–and working with editors.
If you’re not familiar with Google Apps, you find it under Google Drive (the nine dots in the upper right of your screen when you’re on Gmail or Google). Click the dots; select Google Drive; and go.
More on Google for Writers:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Against All Odds, Summer 2020. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning