Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘google docs’ tag

September 13th, 2011 at 5:00 am

5 Terrific Android Smartphone Apps

I use my phone for so many things and I love that it’s so powerful and versatile. I always feel like I’ve got a lifeline to information and I can tackle anything when I’ve got my fully charged Android with me.  Here are five apps that I use regularly that take my phone to the next level of power and convenience.

CardStar – consolidate all of your shopping reward card information into this handy free app. With it, I never have to fumble around for the actual card or miss out on rewards opportunities because I’ve given the card to my husband or child to use. Just bring up the bar code when you’re at the checkout and let the cashier scan it. Also available for iphone and Blackberry.

CamScanner - with this app, I can take a photo of a document and have CamScanner turn it into a pdf that can be uploaded to the cloud or emailed as an attachment. This is a great way to digitize business receipts and save them as files for reconciling expense reports. There’s a free version as well as a licensed versions for $4.99.  Also available for iphone.

Swype – I am terrible at touch typing on my phone. I watch others and it looks so easy, but I just never got the hang of it. My solution is the free Swype app which allows me to just move my finger over the keys I want, hesitating every so slightly on each and Swype puts the words together for me. It takes a little getting used to, but once you do, it’s fast and really convenient to enter text.  For Android and Nokia devices only.

Google Docs – I just love that I an access any of my cloud documents on my phone. This app allows me to quickly view docs that I own or that have been shared with me wherever I am. Yes it’s a little bit harder to create or work on docs on your phone, but for viewing purposes, this is a real convenience. There’s no native iphone or Blackberry app, but you can access Google Docs at from any phone browser.

250+ Solitaires – I’m not ALL business. I do like to play solitaire. Forty Thieves to be specific. I can get lost for hours playing this game and I just love having it at hand anytime I have time to spare. My husband will attest to this as any car trip is a great opportunity for me to get lost in my games. Beats staring out the window.  It’s free and also available for iphone.

There are so many apps available and there are many other good ones.  Evernote is way at the top of the list, but since I already wrote about that app, I thought I’d share these.

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.


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June 21st, 2011 at 5:00 am

Google Forms to the Rescue

A few weeks back I did a post on Google Docs and told of the benefits of using a cloud-based document software suite. Today I’d like to expand upon one of the coolest features of Google Docs.

One type of document you can create is a form. Forms are useful. Forms are also annoying. Collecting data from forms is even more annoying. Typically someone fills out a paper form and someone else has to compile all of the data into a spreadsheet or other system by typing in the data manually. For those of you on the receiving end of the paper forms, Google Forms is a brilliant solution.

Say you’re the keeper of the emergency contact info for your child’s soccer team, scout troop or other organization. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if you could provide the users with an online form that will collect all the data in one place for you? Well you can.

You create the online form by choosing Create New/Form from you Google Docs home page. Add your questions, give it a nice theme, name it and you’re almost there.

There are multiple types of questions. Text, multiple choice, check boxes, scale, grid, etc. Customize your form to gather all the appropriate types of data you need, make questions mandatory if desired, and give helpful hints for answering.

What Google Docs does with the form as you create it is structure a spreadsheet with the appropriate column headings behind the scene. As people submit their responses from the online form, the spreadsheet records are populated automatically. NO TYPING.

To share your form, do the following:

  • Open the form you just created from the Google Docs home page
  • Go to the Forms drop down menu
  • Click on Go to Live Form
  • Copy the url from the live form page
  • Paste the url into an email or put it on a website
  • Ask you recipients to fill it in and submit
  • Go back to the form/spreadsheet in Google Docs and view the results

Hint: Don’t share your form. If you do, your responders will all have to have a Gmail or Google account to access the form. If you use the link to the live form, anyone can access it.

Once your data is there you can sort, total, organize, filter, and manipulate as you wish. As more people fill in the form, the data keeps coming in. It even records a timestamp for each submission to help you track the responses.

To see an example of a user survey I created for this post, click here. Feel free to fill it out (it’s anonymous) if you’d like to share a little info about your technology usage. I’d love to know a little bit more about you my reader.

Thanks and have a great week! Summer’s here!

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.


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May 17th, 2011 at 4:00 am

Do You Google Doc?

Have you tried Google Docs yet? If not you should give them a try. The suite of products offered in Google Docs is a free, easy and really useful alternative to Office.

Here’s how it works. If you’re a Gmail user, then just click on the Documents link at the top of your Gmail home page. If you’re not, then go here. You will need a Google account (not the same as a Gmail account, just a free account that lets you take advantage of all of the Google products) to sign in.

Once you’re in the Google Docs home page, you can create a document, spreadsheet, presentation or form using the Create New button. If you’re familiar with Microsoft Office products, it’s pretty easy to create your documents and use the tools and menu items to design and format them.

Keep in mind that for heavily formatted documents and complex spreadsheets and presentations, the Office products are still the best, but for everyday docs, Google Docs have a distinct advantage. Here’s why.

Any document that you create can be shared with others for collaboration or just viewing. I use this feature for working with colleagues and the ease of use is a real plus. These are also great when working in school and volunteer committees. No more attaching docs to emails, and worrying about revisions and saving under a different version and all that headache. Once you’ve given someone share privileges, they can edit the document freely and you can check out the changes by watching them work on it in real time, or checking the revision history to see what changes have been made. And if you are working on it together, you can conduct a chat to discuss the process. It is so easy and so efficient!

You can also upload your existing documents into your Google Docs space. Different options allow you to convert to the Google Docs format or keep in their native format. The beauty of using the Docs product is that your documents are now available online from any web enabled pc or tablet. So any device becomes your workstation.  That is powerful.

Goodbye flash drives. Welcome to the cloud.

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.


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