Content & Color: An updated look for Docs, Sheets & Slides

Starting today, things are about to get cleaner—and more colorful—in Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms and Apps Script. First, you’ll notice each editor’s product icon displayed in the header, which doubles as a quick link back to all your files in Drive. Next, you’ll see that the header is more streamlined and compact, helping you to focus on what matters most—your content.

We hope these updates make your creation and collaboration experience just a bit more delightful. Enjoy!

Posted by Sarah Cooper, User Experience Designer

Improved discussions, search scanned text in PDFs, and more

Fresh on the heels of adding discussions to Google presentations and the ability to edit within the Google Docs Android app, we’ve been hard at work on a few other new features to enhance your Google Docs experience.

All your comments--in one tidy place
We just added the discussions feature to Google drawings, and today we’re making it even easier to see a log of all of the comments that have been made whether you’re using drawings, documents, or presentations. Just click on the “Comments” button in the upper right corner of the editor to see a complete history of your discussions. You can reply in line, resolve or re-open comments, link directly to a comment, or change notification settings--without ever leaving the “Comments” menu.

Better text search for PDFs and images 
Last month, we launched a feature to let you search for text inside the PDFs in your documents list. Now, using the same optical character recognition technology, you can search for and copy highlighted text when you open a scanned PDF, like a fax or hotel receipt.

It’s not just stuff in your documents list: we’ve also made text in PDFs and images uploaded to Google Sites searchable.

And that’s not all... 
In addition to the features that were released today, over the last few weeks we’ve also made a bunch of other changes that you may have noticed. Now you can:
  • Add custom Javascript and CSS to your Google Sites 
  • See full names in document and presentation comments (instead of showing email addresses) 
  • Use keyboard shortcuts for navigating between table cells in documents 
  • Cancel running scripts from the Google Apps Script editor 
  • Add donut charts and error bars in spreadsheets 

Posted by Ian Kilpatrick, Software Engineer

This week in Docs: Format painter, Google Fusion Tables, and drag & drop images

This week in Docs, we’re introducing three new tools that put the fun in functional.

Format painter in Google documents

First, we’ve added a format painter to help you copy formatting within Google documents. The new format painter allows you to copy the style of your text, including font, size, color and other formatting options and apply it somewhere else in your document. To use the format painter, select the text for the formatting you want to copy, press the paintbrush button in your toolbar, and then select the text where you want to apply that formatting.

If you double-click on the format painter icon, you’ll enter a mode that lets you select multiple sections of text so you can apply the same formatting to each section.

You can also use keyboard shortcuts for format painting. To copy the style of your selected text, press Ctrl+Option+C for Mac or Ctrl+Alt+C for Windows. To apply any copied styles to whatever text you have selected, press Ctrl+Option+V for Mac or Ctrl+Alt+V for Windows.

Google Fusion Tables in documents list

With this week’s update, we’re also integrating Google Fusion Tables into your documents list. Google Fusion Tables is a data management web application that makes it easy to gather, visualize and collaborate on data online. Now you’ll be able to store and share your Fusion Tables with the rest of the files in your documents list.

Recently, people have used Google Fusion Tables to:

Go to Create new > Table from your documents list menu to get started visualizing or sharing tables of data in .csv, .xls or .kml files.

We're working on making Google Fusion Tables available to Google Apps customers and will let you know as soon as they are. Take a tour to learn more about Google Fusion Tables.

Drag & drop images in Google drawings

We also made it easier to add images from your desktop to Google drawings. If you’re using the latest version of Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, you can now drag an image from your desktop and drop it directly in the drawing canvas.

Give these tools a try and let us know what you think in the comments.

Updated 9/13 to add shortcuts for Windows

This week in Docs: Copying drawings and better right-to-left table support

This week in Docs, we have a couple of new features that we hope make your life easier (and more visual). Read on.

Copying and pasting drawings across docs
Starting today, we’re adding support for the web clipboard to the embedded drawing editor so that you can work with drawings within documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. This means that you can now copy shapes from one document and paste them into existing drawings in another doc. You can also use the web clipboard to move a drawing from a document into the standalone drawing editor.

To try this out, open a new document and go to Insert > Drawing to create a drawing in the embedded drawing editor. Click the web clipboard icon and Copy shapes to web clipboard.

Open another doc that you want to paste the drawing into. Click the web clipboard icon and hover to preview the available items -- then, click to paste when you’ve located the drawing you’d like to use.

Better support for right-to-left tables
We’ve also made an improvement to tables that will be useful for Hebrew and Arabic users. If you’ve enabled right-to-left controls from your docs list settings, you’ll now have an option to create tables that are visually right-to-left. This means that the first cell in the table will be in the upper right and that tabbing through the table will move you to the left and down. You can modify a table’s directionality from the table properties dialog.

We hope you enjoy these new features. As always, let us know what you think in the forums and stay tuned for more updates in the next This week in Docs blog post.

Revisions, and presence, and painters, oh my. Updates to Drawings

Today we’re releasing a bunch of new features in Google Drawings, designed to make editing easier and more collaborative.

Presence + Revision history
Google Docs has always been designed to make it easy to work on documents together. We’re making that easier in drawings by introducing two new features. First, we’ve added presence highlights around shapes. The color that you see beside a person’s name in the sidebar is now used to highlight the shapes which that person has selected. In the example below, mfrederick is editing the triangle at the edge of the drawing.

When you’re working on drawings together it’s really helpful to see who made which change and to be able to go back to previous versions. That’s just what we’ve added. We took the new revisions interface from documents and spreadsheets and brought it to the drawings editor. Now it’s easy to see all the edits that went into your drawing. You’ll also see the full revision history for any drawings that you’ve already created.

Format painter & recent colors
The new format painter lets you choose a source shape, press the format painter icon to copy its formatting, and then click on another shape to apply that formatting to the destination shape.

Colors are a special type of formatting because in drawings you can choose any color value you want. This feature is nice because it lets you make your drawings just so, but it can be frustrating because you need to remember any custom color codes in order to make sure that different shapes had the same colors. You can now solve that problem with the format painter, but we’ve also made matching colors even easier by adding a recent color palette. The palette shows you up to eight custom colors that you’ve used in your drawings.

Sub-group selection
Groups help you keep your drawings organized and they make it easy to format a bunch of shapes with a single action. But sometimes when you have a group of shapes, there’s a single shape that you want to modify. Before now, you would need to ungroup the shapes, make your modification, and then regroup. But today we’ve added the ability to select a shape within a group. To do this, first click on any shape in the group, then click again on the specific shape that you want to modify. You’ll see outlines and dragging handles around the entire group and also around the shape you selected.

Hopefully these features make online drawings a little easier. If you’ve got any fun drawings that you created, please share them with us in the comments.

Our favorite Docs things - 2010 Year in Review

We’ve been keeping busy this year with over 85 new enhancements to Google Docs and Google Sites, making it possible for you to work, communicate and collaborate entirely in the cloud. We wanted to take a moment to share a few of the most exciting enhancements from 2010 that are making it easier for you to go “100% web.”

In addition to some of the most requested favorite features like mobile editing, OCR, advanced sorting rules and a more consistent look, here are more of our team’s favorite things from this last year:
We look forward to bringing you more improvements next year. Let us know what is at the top of your Google Docs and Sites wish list in the comments.

On behalf of the entire the Google Docs and Google Sites teams, happy holidays! We’ll see you in the New Year!

Demo Slam! Epic Docs Animation

If you’re reading this post, you’ve probably seen your fair share of Google Docs videos featured on this blog. Well, we have one more to show you this year, created entirely with Google Docs, demonstrating the power of nothing but the web -- and it just might be our favorite yet.

Google introduced Demo Slam in October 2010 as a way to turn traditionally boring tech demonstrations into out-of-this-world displays of technology. A couple of weeks ago, three animators worked together for three days in three different cities to create a Google Docs demo slam using Google presentations and drawings. Take a look:

If you like what you see, vote for “Epic Docs Animation.” Let the Slam begin!

Tips & Tricks: Building Organizational Charts in Google drawings

With the new addition of connectors in Google drawings, it’s easier than ever to build anything from a family tree to a flowchart in just a few minutes.

In honor of the holidays, we thought we’d create a bracket-style showdown between our favorite types of pie.

Select Shape from the Insert menu, and you’ll see a variety of bubbles, arrows, and symbols to choose from. I used the rounded rectangle shape for this example, but you can select the shape that’s best for your flowchart.

From there, you can double-click on individual bubbles to enter text.

When you select and drag a particular object, the snap to guides will help you line it up with other objects.

Hold Shift and click to select multiple objects at once. This allows you to move these objects around as a group.

Next, use our newly launched connector tool to attach lines to your shapes. Even if you move or rotate your shapes, they’ll stay connected.

In just a few steps, you’ll have created an organizational chart that you can share, download, or embed into another Google doc. Try it out for yourself.

Want to know what else you can do in Google drawings? Check out our template gallery for more inspiration.

Your feedback makes a difference: Product Ideas

Many of you have visited our Product Ideas page to let us know what features you’d like to see in Google Docs or what you think we’re missing. Your participation was astounding: we received over 165,000 votes on over 5,000 ideas from thousands of people around the world over the course of a year. Here are just a few of the things we launched in the last year that accomplish many of the things you’ve been asking for:
We’re starting a new process with the Product Ideas page to make sure we keep it fresh and avoid favoring older posts. We’ve temporarily closed the page to new posts to gather a comprehensive look at your ideas thus far and to restructure our Product Ideas sessions.

In order to get the most precise feedback possible, the new Product Ideas sessions will be targeted at a specific feature, product or idea. These sessions will happen every three months or so for a few weeks at a time. As we receive new ideas on the Product Ideas page, we’ll keep working hard to implement the top requests and ideas that are posted. We’ll let you all know when the ideas page is open and post ongoing updates here on the blog and in the help forum.

Import WMF files into Google drawings

Yesterday we added a new import type for Google drawings: Windows Metafile (WMF) . It’s an image format that’s designed to be scalable. Unlike other image formats (PNG, JPEG, etc.) WMF files use vectors to represent pictures so that no matter how much you stretch an image, it will never look pixelated.

To import a WMF file to Google drawings, start with a WMF file you own on your computer like this one:

Go to the upload page in Google Docs, and select the image that you’ll be uploading. Make sure to check the box to automatically convert files to the corresponding Google Docs formats.

When you click on the uploaded file, it will open in Google drawings. From there it’s easy to view the image, or to edit it yourself. Here’s what that same bag looks like with a green interior:

We hope this feature makes it a little easier to take your drawings and move them to the cloud.