Tech Tip Tuesday – “Even more” Google Docs

Google Document and Spreadsheet offers “Even More” by Mary Fran

Before we leave Docs to introduce you to more Google tools, I wanted to tell you about a few Google Document and Spreadsheet features you may not find in other office tools.


Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Images

Ever get stuck for just the right word? No need to tab into a new browser window or grab a thesaurus, just click in the word, select Tools > Look up word > Look up synonyms. You can also look up the definition or find the word in the encyclopedia using the same tab. Want to find an image to make your point clearer? Select Tools > Search the web for word > Search the web for “word ” images. It’ll take you right to Google Images.

More on Revision

While up to 200 people can share your document either as viewers or collaborators, up to ten people can edit simultaneously. When working with a number of  people, you might want collaborators to use different colors to insert comments. This is easily done by choosing Insert > Comment. When the “Comment here” box appears, click on it and choose one of the six colors. When you go to print the document, you can choose to have it print without the comments without having to delete them.

You’ll know when another collaborator else is viewing the document at the same time you are. Their name will appear in a box at the top of the screen.

Offline Access

Google realized that you might want access to Document when you are away from the Internet. It’s easy to work offline but to use this feature, you’ll need to install Google Gears. On your Google Docs List Page choose Offline > Get Gears Now. You will then be asked to allow as a trusted site. Check the box next to “I trust this site. Allow it to use Gears.” Then, click the Allow button. When you go to use this feature, it may take a few moments to sync your files. But once this is done, you’ll be able to use Document anytime, anywhere!

When you’re working on an online document, you’ll notice a green icon next to your e-mail address. This indicates that you are working online.

When you are offline, type [] into your browser. (You may prefer to install a Google Gears short-cut to your offline document on your desktop.) This will bring up Google Docs. You’ll notice that the icon is now gray. You can now work on your document and when you go back online, your document will automatically be updated.


If you have URLs listed in a cell of a spreadsheet, you can go directly to its website. When you choose the cell, a blue border and an icon appear.

When you click the icon, the web page will open up in a new window.


Just as with Document, you can share a Spreadsheet with up to 200 people as collaborators or viewers. However, with Spreadsheet, up to 50 collaborators can edit the spreadsheet at the same time!

You’ll know when another collaborator is viewing or editing the spreadsheet because the you’ll see their name in the top right corner of the spreadsheet right under Share. A down arrow will appear. Click on it and you can chat about the spreadsheet, or anything else, with everyone signed in.

In Spreadsheet, you can receive an e-mail whenever a spreadsheet is revised by choosing Share > Set notification rules. You can choose to receive a daily digest of revisions, or an e-mail as soon as a revision is made!

I hope you have had some time to try Google Docs out. Forms has become a favorite of mine. It is so easy to poll students or to collect information from them. My third graders love to fill in the form and to see the analysis. Sharing the analysis with parents is easy, just provide them with the URL.

Colette and I would be happy to help you with Google Docs in any way we can. Feel free to reach me at or Colette at or

We’ll be back next week with a new Google Tool!

Tech Tip Tuesday is written and published weekly by MaryFran Lynch and Colette Cassinelli.  The archive of all tips are located at: