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10 Google Spreadsheet Tricks & Tips You Probably Didn’t Know

10 Google Spreadsheet Tricks & Tips You Probably Didn’t Know

Google Docs has been the free alternative to Microsoft Office for the longest time now. This is due in part to how the Google document suite allows individuals to create Google word documents, presentations, and spreadsheets for free and all on the web. However, there are still individuals looking for more ways to extend the power of Google Docs, and more notably Google Sheets, in their every day business and personal tasks. Today, we will take a look at ten Google Spreadsheet tricks and tips that will get you creating spreadsheet docs that will blow everyone by surprise.

1. The Power of the =IMAGE Function

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    It is of course a known fact that you are able to add images through a file upload in Google Sheets. However, a faster way to add images to your Google Sheets is through a formula of =image(“url”). In the parenthesis, put the link of the image from online in quotation marks. It’s a fairly easy formula to make use of and it can possibly save you a ton of upload time in the process.

    2. Make Use of Templates

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      You can make use of a ton of templates in Microsoft Office, and the same is true for Google Sheets. There are a ton for you to make use of and they are a great way for you to get a jump start in what ever form of word processing you are doing in Google Docs and specifically in Google Sheets. All you have to do in Google Docs is click “Create New”, from there select “From Template” and browse away.

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      3. From the Cloud, to Hard Drive

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        Keeping documents in the cloud can be great for accessing your documents on the go. However, it isn’t always best when you are trying to access them while offline. Maybe you want to have a file form of your Google Docs work, if so, this is the tip for you. In Google Docs, select by checking off the documents you are looking to backup. Under “Actions”, select “Download” and in a .zip file, your files are ready to go. It is important to note that you have a 2GB limit.

        4. List All Keyboard Shortcuts

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          Keyboard shortcuts are the ultimate way to stay productive. However, what better way to find out all of the keyboard shortcuts at your disposal than by making use of a keyboard shortcut. Command + “forward slash” (Mac) or “Control” + “Forward Slash” (Windows) brings up the ultimate list of shortcuts that will allow you to get things done in a snap.

          5. Stay Focused in Full Screen

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            It can be easy to find yourself distracted by the other things that are going on around you. When you find yourself in a focused environment however, you aren’t exactly out of distraction danger. You then encounter the distractions of your computer screen. Google Docs has a solution for that. Under the “View” tab, select “Full Screen” and you are off to an environment that will allow you to crank out an amazing spreadsheet in Google Sheets.

            6. Conditional Formatting

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              Conditional formatting is a key feature in any spreadsheet program. This is no different in Google Sheets. Today, we will focus on making use of conditional formatting to colour the cells in your document. Just as conditional formatting is used to make large tasks approachable, making use of the colouring tools in conditional formatting allows you to see a large amount of data as more approachable for you to tackle.

              If you are doing inventory and want to visually see what items are below a set quantity, you can highlight the entire cell(s) you are looking to work with, click the arrow to the right of your column header and click “conditional formatting”. When open, you can set your parameters, choose the colours for each parameter, and then click “save rules”.

              7. Get Related Terms – Magically

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                If you are like me, you may find yourself making use of mind maps a lot to stay creative and to even cure those tip-of-the-tongue moments. Google Sheets is also there to help you out in such situations as well. Using a Google Labs add-on known as Google Sets, simply type two related terms in your cell. From there, highlight the entire cell while clicking “option” on a Mac or “Ctrl” on Windows. Terms begin to “magically” appear.

                8. Accessing More Currencies

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                  If you are working in finance or simply need to make a spreadsheet involving some money, this is the tip for you. If you need to access currency other than the US Dollar, simply highlight the cells, click the “123” button in the toolbar, and scroll to “More Currencies”. Click the currency you want and you’re done. Google Docs just became a bit more travelled!

                  9. Insert Google Sheets into Docs

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                    If you are an avid Google Docs user, you will find that your word documents will need to be placed in Google Sheets and vice versa. Doing this, however, is much easier and seamless than you think. With Charts, in the Google Chrome store, you are able to insert Google Sheets charts in Google Docs by opening the add-on “Charts” in your add-on menu, click “Load Data”, select, drag what data you’ll be using, and select “Insert”.

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                    10. Gathering Data Easier

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                      If you are performing a project or need to make use of a survey to then gather information from for you spreadsheet, Google Forms its what you need. Easily sharable and even with the ability to be embedded on your website by going to “Forms” then “Create a Form”. From there, you can have individuals fill out their respective responses. Once your trials have ended, your data is added to the top of the spreadsheet for you to make use of.

                      I hope that you are able to take the tips and tricks learned today and make some fantastic Google spreadsheets. Let us know in the comments below which trick you’ll make use of the most.

                      Featured photo credit: Xcluesiv via xcluesiv.com

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                      Last Updated on February 15, 2019

                      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                      Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                      Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                      Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                      So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                      Joe’s Goals

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                        Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                        Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                        Daytum

                          Daytum

                          is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                          Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                          Excel or Numbers

                            If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                            What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                            Evernote

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                              I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                              Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                              Access or Bento

                                If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                                Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                                You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                                Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                                All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                                Conclusion

                                I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                                What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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