Try out a new look and keyboard shortcuts for your documents list

As part of our effort to provide an improved and consistent web experience across Google products, we’d like to invite you to try out a new look for the documents list that's rolling out to users over the next few days. If it's available to you, you'll be able to preview the new look by clicking on Try the new look under the gear icon in the upper right. You’ll be able to return to the classic look using the same menu.

Classic look

New look

While using the new interface, you may want to see more of the items in your documents list on the screen at one time. To do this, click on the gear icon in the upper right and go to Documents settings. Under Row height, you’ll be able to select the option to use a denser view.

As part of this new look, we’ve also added keyboard shortcuts to help you easily navigate your documents list without a mouse. For example, when selecting a document, use the (down arrow) to move down the list and the (up arrow) to move back up. Once you find the item you're looking for, type a to open the Actions menu. Then, use the and arrow keys to navigate the Actions menu, and hit to select an action.

The Create new shortcuts are also convenient for creating new docs while you’re working. Simply hit Shift + T to create a new text document, Shift + S to create a spreadsheet, or Shift + C to create a new collection.

Can't remember all those shortcuts? Just remember the question mark. Type ? when you’re not in the search bar, and a window will appear showing all available shortcuts.

These shortcuts will only be available if you’re using the new interface. Keep an eye out for more changes to the new interface as it evolves, and make sure to tell us what you think about the new design in this brief feedback form so we can continue to improve your experience.

Tips & Tricks: Using the description field in your documents list

You may not have noticed the description field for items in your documents list, but descriptions hold great potential for sharing information and file management.

When you have an item selected, you’ll see information about the item in the details pane to the right of your documents list, including a Description section. If you don’t see the details pane, click the double-arrow in the upper right of your documents list to expand it.

What you add to the description, in addition to the contents of the doc itself, can be found when you use the search box in Google Docs. This opens up the possibility of using the description for keywords and tagging. So, if your description contains the words “Astronaut, Space” that file will show in your search results when you do a Google Docs search for “astronaut” or “space.”

Descriptions also allow you to add clickable links. If it’s important for you to reference a website on an item, simply copy and paste the URL into your description. When the details pane is open, you’ll be able to click the link.

You can also make your description stand out with formatting:
  • Use underscores to italicize a word, such as _word_
  • Use asterisks to bold a word, such as *word*
  • Use hyphens to strike-through a word, such as -word-
A description is a great way to share information about your shared doc or collection to all of your collaborators, or add reference notes about an item. With the added benefit of search, clickable links, and formatting, descriptions become a powerful tool for sharing information and managing your growing documents list.

If you have other suggestions for ways you’ve used the description field, please add them in the comments below.

Simpler file upload in Google Docs

Last November, we added the ability to drag and drop files from your desktop to the upload page, improving the ability to upload any file. Over the next few weeks, we’re releasing three additional features to make it easy to upload files to Docs: folder upload, documents list integration, and drag-and-drop upload.

To start, we’ve added folder upload via the new Upload menu in the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

You’ll need to install a small applet to use folder upload in Firefox and Safari. The existing folder structure is preserved on upload which means that folders within folders will also upload and become collections within collections.

Second, we’ve merged the upload page’s functionality into the documents list to create a much better upload experience. When you upload files via the new drop-down menu, a window will pop up in the bottom right of your documents list and show upload progress.

Once files are uploaded, they will appear in your documents list within seconds. You can also share them from the pop-up. Uploaded files go into the currently selected collection and have visibility set to private unless the collection is shared.

Upload settings have also moved. The first time you use the new upload method, you’ll see a pop-up asking you whether you want to convert files to the Google Docs format and if you want to convert images via Optical Character Recognition (OCR). You can always return to these settings via the drop down in the upload menu or the pop-up.

Lastly, if you are using Chrome, Safari and Firefox on your Mac or PC, you’ll also be able to drag-and-drop one or more files directly into your documents list to initiate an upload. You can even drop files directly into a collection on the left. Note due to browser limitations it isn’t possible to drag-and-drop folders directly into the documents list.

If you hit your storage limit, the upload will return an error and you’ll need to delete files or purchase additional storage for Google Docs for $0.02 per GB per month ($0.25 per GB per year). Please note that the new upload capabilities don’t support the ability to select a language when converting a document via OCR (Optical Character Recognition) or select visibility settings before upload. If you’d like to use these features, you can still use the older version of the upload page by choosing Basic... from the Upload menu.

We’ll be rolling this out to everyone with personal Google Accounts over the next month in all Google Docs languages. Rapid Release Google Apps users can expect to see the feature rolled out shortly thereafter. You’ll know when the features are available to you when you see a popup message at the top of your documents list.

If you have any additional questions about the upcoming changes to uploading files, check out our FAQ.

Update: This is now rolled out to everyone.