Two years ago Google introduced extensions for Google Docs and Sheets. These third-party add-ons expanded on what the browser-based word processor and spreadsheet could do, often integrating them with online services. Now that functionality has made its way to Android.
Embedding charts into a document is one of those basic office app functions that you take for granted. It's important that you can do it, but you may not see an obvious way embedding charts could be improved. Google did, though: rather than re-embedding every time the underlying data changes—which would require deleting the old embed and adding the replacement—you can now just click a button to refresh the chart.
This is one of those details that won't affect the workflow of a lot of people, but for those it does affect it will be a huge timesaver. If your organization shares a lot of documents, for instance, you might wonder if the graphics have gone out of date.
The problem of having files stored in the cloud is that they're not accessible when you're offline. For a while now, Google has been attempting to change this by making files on Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides available to download for offline viewing or editing.
With the latest update to the three apps, any file that has recently been opened will be downloaded to your device. (Note: Slides has not rolled out yet, but we'll let you know when it does.) If you lose your internet connection, this file will be available offline. The changes you make will then be synced back once you've got an internet connection.
Google added voice typing to Docs last year, but it was fairly limited. Today, Google is rolling out more features to voice typing in Docs. You now have control over formatting like text selection, punctuation, and copy / paste. While this is not strictly Android, it's pretty close and we think it's cool.
Google Drive keeps getting small incremental improvements on the Web and on mobile platforms to enhance the experience for anyone who uses it regularly or semi-regularly to create, edit, and share files. The team has just announced two such small changes that, for now, are coming to Google Drive on the Web.
First, search is getting easier and cross app. Whether you're in Docs, Sheets, or Slides, typing a new search term will not only look for a document of the corresponding type, but across all of your Drive. This will make the experience more consistent if you're editing a couple of related documents and presentations for example and don't what to manually hop over from Docs to Slides to work on the file.
Updates to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides tend to travel in groups. They're timid that way. Few of them are bold enough to jump out at you directly. But taken together, they're worth a look.
Sheets brings the bulk of the changes. Google's spreadsheet app will now show you more content when you zoom in and out of a spreadsheet. The toolbars will disappear and reappear as needed. And while you're taking a look at things, you can now view filters that were created on the web.
Then once you start tweaking a document, Sheets' paste special option will also let you copy content and paste only associated values, formula, data validation, and other formatting.
There are several reasons why it isn't fun to write formatted documents on a phone, but one of the biggest is how arduous the process of doing simple things like hyperlinking or adding images is. Well, Google rolled out an update to the Android app for Docs that makes these tasks far easier. From within the app, you can now perform Google searches, read webpages, and insert links or images in a very user-friendly way.
In the Docs app, you can now use a feature called "Research" in the overflow menu. This brings you an in-app interface to make the process of finding and using external sources way simpler.
Google has announced that the Android version of Docs is now gaining the ability to show users how their homework assignments and notes will look once they go through the printer. The option to view print layout is currently heading out to users.
Once the feature is enabled, you should see it appear as a toggle in the app's drop-down menu. Turning it on will show documents with a fixed width.