Ed Tech Tips with E. Mosier

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Customizing the URL of a Google file


There are many times when you're wanting to share a single document out with a group of people. For most, you would share the link so the audience could View it, then have them go to File >Make a Copy. But, are you aware of the power of the Slash?! No connection to Guns n Roses, but a tiny adjustment to the URL can completely transform your Google file. Adding keywords after a slash allows you to transform a Google file and share it out, download it, or even turn it into a template with ease.

New files without opening Drive

This has to be one of my favorite shortcuts for creating new Google apps. By typing "/create" at the end of a Google apps URL, it will automatically create a new file without needing to go to your Google Drive. For example, if you type "docs.google.com/create" into your omnibox (where the URL is typed), a new Google Doc will be created. You don't even have to go into Drive to do this! The same thinking applies to every other Google app: sheets.google.com/create, slides.google.com/create, forms.google.com/create, and drawings.google.com/create. However, recently, Google has added an entirely new domain: ".new." simply typing "docs.new" or "sheets/new" will open up a blank file for you to create with.

Force Copy a Google Doc

Instead of relying on your students or your audience to make a copy of your Doc, there is a way you can, essentially, do that for them. At the end of the URL of any Google file that you're working on is the word "edit." All it takes to do this is to replace the word "edit" with "copy," and then share out that link. Just like that, anyone who has that link will be forced to make a copy of the file, making it really easy for sharing. If you'd like to take this even further, you can copy and paste the new link (with "copy" at the end) into a URL shortener, customize the address, and then students or the audience will have a simple link to type that will still force them to make a copy!

Share a View Only / Preview file

Simply editing a URL can also transfer a file that is editable to a view only file. If you change the word "edit" to "preview," it will automatically bring up a view only file. This is another neat way to share a file that you want to use for observation purposes, without sharing a file with several different email addresses.

Create a Google Doc Template

Another cool feature is that of the Template feature. To do this, remove "edit" at the end of the URL. Then, replace it with "/template/preview." What this does when typed in by the student or audience is, instead of a "Make a Copy" button, it brings up a "Use as Template" option. Think of it as a crossover between the preview option and the make a copy option. This could be really valuable if you're wanting to share a template without typing individual student names or email addresses, or if Google Classroom isn't an option for sharing.

Turning a File Into a PDF

A teacher friend in Indiana, Sean Fahey, shared a blog post with me by Tony Vincent and I learned about this one. However, this one is a little more involved and depends on which tool you are using. To do this, you will still replace "edit." But, if you're using Google Docs and Sheets, you will replace it with "/export?format=pdf." If you are using Google Slides or Drawings, replace "edit" with "/export/pdf." A benefit to this would be if you're in a large group and want to easily transform a file into a PDF quite easily.

Conditional Formatting in Sheets

Google Sheets is perfect for data collection. But, using Conditional Formatting makes viewing a lot of data even easier. Once you set rules for your Sheet, cells will automatically change color based on the information within it. Go to Format > Conditional Formatting to set up your own rules to customize a great amount of data, for a much easier visual representation.

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