Mobile browser editing, editing on the iPad, and more new features now in Google Docs

The following new features are now available in Google Docs:

Mobile editing: Log in to your Google Docs on a browser on a supported device, and select the document you want to edit. Then, when you’re viewing it, press the ‘Edit’ button to switch to the mobile editor. If you use an Android device with voice input, you can also use this to add text to your document.

Text replacements: We have added the ability to substitute text automatically and being able to manage the replacements.

LaTeX shortcuts in equations: LaTeX is a document markup language that’s often used by academics to quickly type out complex formulas. In Google Docs, when you’re inside an equation you can type ‘\sqrt’ followed by a space or a parenthesis to automatically convert the text into a square root sign √. Other examples of useful shortcuts are ‘\frac’ for a fraction and shorthands like ‘\epsilon’ for Greek symbols. Full list of equation shortcuts here.

Mobile editing: Over the next few days, we’re rolling this out to English-language users around the world on Android with Froyo (version 2.2) and on iOS devices (version 3.0+) including the iPad. We’ll be adding support for other languages soon.

Text replacements: You can right click on a misspelled word, go down to the ‘AutoCorrect’ option, and choose a way of automatically fixing this spelling mistake in the future.

Drag and Drop Upload in Google Docs

Google Docs added support for drag and drop uploads, a feature that’s already available in Gmail. The main advantage is that the new feature doesn’t use Flash or another plug-in, so it should be more reliable.

“If you’re using Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, you’ll be able to quickly drag files into the drop area and shoot them up to the cloud,” informs the Google Docs blog.


In the near future, this option could be used to upload folders, not just multiple files. Google Chrome already supports directory upload using the input tag.

Google Docs also added a menu option that lets you hide the title bar: View > Compact Controls. It’s only available in the new document editor and it’s probably more useful than the “hide controls” feature from the previous version of the editor.

Edit Documents in Mobile Google Docs

Until today, the mobile version of Google was only useful if you wanted to read a document or download some of your files. From now on, documents will no longer be read-only. If you have a phone or a tablet that runs Android 2.2+ or iOS 3.0+ and the Google Docs interface language is set to English, you’ll be able edit documents from your mobile device and the best thing is that you don’t need to install a new application.

“It’s easy to get started: visit docs.google.com in a browser on a supported device, and select the document you want to edit. Then, when you’re viewing it, press the Edit button to switch to the mobile editor,” suggests Google.

I couldn’t find the Edit button, but that’s because the new features aren’t yet available to everyone. Google promises that the mobile editor will be rolled out in the next few days and you won’t have to buy an iPad or a Samsung Galaxy Tab to use it because it will also work on an iPhone or an Android phone that runs Froyo.

Unfortunately, the mobile editor will only work for documents created using the new document editor. It’s difficult to understand why Google couldn’t find a way to convert the documents created using the old editor to the new format.

Google Docs AutoCorrect

If you frequently make a mistake when you type a word in Google Docs, you can now ask Google to automatically correct the mistake for you. Right-click on the word, select “AutoCorrect” and pick the most appropriate correction.


By default, Google Docs automatically converts (c) to the copyright sign ©, 1/2 to ½, but you can add other rules to the “Text substitution” section of the preferences dialog.


Google Docs also added LaTeX shortcuts to the equation editor and you can now insert images inside of a cell in a spreadsheet.

{ via Google Docs Blog }

Editing your Google Docs on the go

With Google Docs, we’re always trying to make you more productive—and part of that means making it possible for you to get things done from anywhere, at anytime. That’s why we’re excited that the new documents editor now supports editing on your mobile browser. We’re rolling this out over the next few days.

That means that…

  • You can work on that important memo…while on the bus or train to work.
  • If you’re behind on a group proposal, but really want to make it to the ball game tonight, your whole team can work on it from the bleacher seats.
  • You can take minute-by-minute notes at a concert so you’ll always remember the setlist. And your friends can jealously follow in real-time at home.
  • …and the list goes on!

Take a look at this video to see mobile editing in action:

It’s easy to get started: visit docs.google.com in a browser on a supported device, and select the document you want to edit. Then, when you’re viewing it, press the Edit button to switch to the mobile editor.

In the next few days, we’re rolling this out to English-language users around the world on Android with Froyo (version 2.2) and on iOS devices (version 3.0+) including the iPad. We’ll be adding support for other languages soon. And as before, we also support editing of spreadsheets from your mobile device’s browser.

We hope you enjoy editing your documents on the go—especially when you’re at the game with a hot dog in your other hand.

Posted by Andrew Grieve,

Version history for uploaded files in Google Docs

Using “Upload any file”, users already have the ability to upload, store, and share any file up to 1 GB in size. Now you can upload new versions of the same file to your document list. Previously, each time you updated a file, you would have to upload the new version as a new file with a new URL, re-share it, and put in the correct folders again.

Select the “Add or manage versions” option on any file, you can then upload new versions of a file, download previous versions, and delete older versions.

Coming Soon in Google Docs: Third Party Apps, Cloud Printing and Sync

Google Docs’ source code includes a message that reveals some important upcoming features: “Coming soon: Third party applications, cloud printers, and sync devices”.


Cloud printing is a project that will enable applications on any device to print documents. “This goal is accomplished through the use of a cloud print service. Apps no longer rely on the local operating system (and drivers) to print. Instead, apps (whether they be a native desktop/mobile app or a web app) use Google Cloud Print to submit and manage print jobs.” Google says that printers “are treated in much the same way as documents are in Google Docs”. Cloud Print will be implemented in Google Chrome and Google Chrome OS, so it will probably launched in the coming weeks.

If you can synchronize your calendar, your contacts or your mail, why not synchronize the documents stored in Google Docs? That’s one of the most important missing features from Google Docs. Google already offers some APIs for uploading and downloading files, but they’re limited to documents, spreadsheets and presentations if you don’t use Google Apps Premier Edition.

Google Docs has applications for editing documents, spreadsheets, presentations and for viewing PDF files, but what about other file types? There’s no photo editor, no video editor, no application for editing PDF files or for extracting files from archives. Third party applications could solve some of these issues and make Google Docs even more useful.

Fusion Tables Will Be Available in Google Docs

Fusion Tables is an interesting service launched last year in Google Labs to help users manage large data sets. “Fusion Tables is not a traditional database system focusing on complicated SQL queries and transaction processing. Instead, the focus is on fusing data management and collaboration: merging multiple data sources, discussion of the data, querying, visualization, and Web publishing,” explains Google.



Fusion Tables has graduated from Google Labs in September and it will become a Google Docs app. As you can see from the screenshot below, Google Docs includes fusion tables in the list of document types and there’s also an icon for fusion tables. Users can already import tables from Google Spreadsheets and sharing works just like in Google Docs.

Google Docs Adds Version History for Uploaded Files

Here’s a feature that will come in handy when Google Docs adds support for syncing: version history for files. Until now, Google offered this feature for the documents that could be edited in Google Docs, but not for PDFs and other files.

“Previously, each time you updated a file, you would have to upload the new version as a new file with a new URL, re-share it, and put in the correct folders again. When you select the Add or manage versions option on any file, you can upload new versions of a file, download previous versions, and delete older versions.”


Unfortunately, this only works when you manually add a new version of a file. If you upload a file that has the same name as an existing file, Google Docs doesn’t add a new version and you’ll end up with two files. Dropbox is smarter and it automatically updates the existing file. Another issue is that you can’t preview the versions of a PDF file in Google Docs, since the only option is to download the files.

Google Apps highlights – This week

Improvements to Gmail in mobile Safari
If you’re reading this post on an iPhone or an iPad, head over to gmail.com to see how we made the Gmail experience in mobile Safari work more like a native application. First, scrolling is a whole lot more responsive to your touch gestures. A quick flick will scroll the page much faster than before. We’ve also improved the toolbar so it stays put at the top of the screen, even when you scroll down a long page. This keeps the most common actions in Gmail right at your fingertips—literally.


Chart improvements and drag-and-drop images in Google Docs
Last Tuesday we added the ability to drag and drop images to Google documents from your desktop or from folders on your computer. You can still add images through the image upload wizard, but this new method can save time, especially when you have several images to add. This week we also rolled out improvements to charts and visualizations in Google spreadsheets. You can now add annotated timelines, organizational charts, gauges, motion charts that visualize data changing over time, and other chart types more easily. The new chart editor helps you customize the design of your charts, and now you can publish dynamic charts on other web pages that automatically update when data in the source spreadsheet changes.

Automated workflow in Google Sites with Google Apps Script
Last week we introduced the ability for you to add automated workflow to Google Sites, powered by Google Apps Script. Scripts automate tasks such as sending emails, scheduling calendar events, creating and updating site pages using data from other systems, and more. For example, you can put a button on a course registration page that adds the course to the user’s calendar, sends them a confirmation email and includes their name in the course roster within the site.


Android device management
Just yesterday, we added the ability for businesses and schools using Google Apps to remotely manage security on users’ Android devices (Android 2.2 and beyond), whether those devices are user-owned or provided by the organization. This update rounds out our device management capabilities; now administrators can perform functions like remotely wiping Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile and many Nokia phones from the Google Apps control panel without needing any special hardware or software. Administrators running BlackBerry® Enterprise Server can manage their users’ BlackBerry® devices from the control panel as well.


App Tuesday: seven new additions to the Apps Marketplace
The number of third-party software applications available in the Google Apps Marketplace that seamlessly integrate with Google Apps continues on its rapid growth trajectory. This month, we added seven new applications that complement the growing set of applications offered directly by Google. We were especially pleased to see strong international representation among this new crop.

Who’s gone Google?
Google Apps is really taking off, and we’re excited to team up in the cloud with Virgin America. But they’re not the only large organization to “go Google” recently. Multnomah County in Oregon is moving 4,500 county employees to Google Apps, and the state of Wyoming is doing an even larger deployment with 10,000 state employees. Across the board, these organizations chose to switch because of substantial cost savings and tremendous productivity improvements made possible with Google Apps.

In the last few weeks alone, tens of thousands of small and mid-size businesses have switched to Google Apps, too. Several of these new customers have shared their stories with us, and we invite you to read more here: Jason’s Deli, MainStreet Advisors, Melrose Resources, American Support and Premier Guitar.

We also reached a big milestone in the education world recently: more than 10 million students, faculty and staff are actively using Google Apps at schools and universities worldwide. While we’re focused on bringing the next 10 million education users onto Google Apps, we still took some time to celebrate how far we’ve already come—with the help of the USC marching band!

I hope these updates help you and your organization get even more from Google Apps. For details and the latest news in this area, check out the Google Apps Blog.

Posted by Jeremy Milo,