Saturday, January 24, 2015

Save All Your Open Tabs

You are right in the middle of a big project.  You have 15 tabs open in your Chrome browser, all of which you still need, and here comes an interruption.  Your prep time ends, your kids get home, the baby wakes up, it's time to make dinner, or you realize it is way past your bedtime.  Either way, you have a ton of open tabs and you don't want to lose any of them.  The solution?  Control-Shift-D.

Control-Shift-D (Command-Shift-D for Mac users) will take all the tabs you have open in your browser and put them in a folder on your bookmarks bar.  Press the keys, name your folder, and click save.  Just that easy and all your tabs are saved for later reference.  Just a reminder that you need to be using Google's Chrome browser for this handy trick to work.

Let's say I'm planning a unit on Geometry for my 3rd graders.  Here is what my screen might look like when my interruption comes along:

I press Control-Shift-D and up pops a little window.  I type in the name for my folder and click ok.

Now, on my bookmarks bar I have my folder.  When I click on it, all my tabs are saved as shortcuts.

Handy, right?  

*If your folder doesn't appear across the top of your screen under the address bar (also know as the Omnibox), your bookmark bar may not be set to show.  If you click on the settings icon (the three little lines in the top right corner of your browser), and then click on "Bookmarks", you can select the "Show Bookmarks Bar" option.  

I have used this many times since I learned about it.  I hope it will be helpful for you as well!  

A few other Chrome keyboard shortcuts I've blogged about:

Control-F (Chrome Search Bar)
Control-Shift-N (Open a New Incognito Window)  and Control-N (Open a new regular window)

Thank you for stopping by the TeachingTechNix blog!  Stop in again soon for more handy tech tips!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Labels in Gmail

The most common complaint I hear from people when they switch from Outlook to Gmail is that they miss the folder structure Outlook provides.  It's true, Gmail doesn't have folders.  Gmail does us one better - labels.

The biggest thing that makes labels better than folders, is that you can put as many labels as you want on one email.  With a folder system, an email can only be in one folder.  Gmail allows you to create labels - up to 5,000 - and even make sub-labels.  You can name your labels whatever you like and also color code them.

Creating a New Label

To create a label, find "Create new label" in the list under the red "Compose" button down the left side of your inbox.  It will be pretty far down the list.  Chances are you will need to click the "More" option before "Create new label" will show.  


You'll get a pop up window asking what you'd like to name your label.  Once you type the name of your label, you can hit the "Create" button.  If you want this label to be a sub-label, you can click the box next to "Nest label under:" and then use the drop down to choose the label you wish to create it under.  One example for how you might use the sub-label feature is with parent emails.  You may want to create a "14-15 Parent Emails" folder and then sub-labels might be things like "Sent", "Received", "Meetings", "IEP", etc.  

Once you hit create, you should see your label appear in the list down the left side of your inbox.  You may have to click the "More" button to see your label in the list.  

Managing Your Labels

You can control which labels show up in this list.  To access those settings, click on "Manage labels" in the list right above where you clicked to create your label.

You can also get to these options by clicking on the little gear button on the upper right side of the inbox screen and choosing "Settings" and then click "Labels" from the options across the top of the screen.  

Now you can choose to show or hide each label - even the Gmail created ones!  You'll have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the list to see the ones you have created.  

Applying a Label to an Email

There are two ways to apply a label to an email.  You can do it by checking the box to the left of the email to select it, or by opening the email.  Either way, you will then see a little label button appear across the top of the screen.  It looks like a little tag.  If you click on this button, it will allow you to select a label.  If you do not see the label you created in this list, simply start typing the name of your label into the search box and you will be able to select it.  Once you select it once, it should show up in that list each time you click the label button.  You'll see that you can create new labels and access your label settings from this list as well.  

Once you select the label you want, you will see an "Apply" button appear at the bottom of the label list.  Click on "Apply" and your email is now labeled. 

You will now see the label appear on your email in the inbox list.  

Remember, you can apply as many different labels to an email as you wish.

Color Coding Your Labels

You can change the color of your labels, as well as access some of the settings we've already discussed, by mousing over your label name down the left side of the inbox and clicking on the little down arrow that appears just to the right of the label.  

When you change the label color, it will always make the label with that name in the color you chose.  If I changed the Tech Stuff label to be blue, it will always show up in blue. 

Accessing Labeled Emails

When you apply a label to an email, it stays in the inbox with a little label added to it.  It isn't removed from the inbox like it was in Outlook when you put it into a folder.  If you don't want the email to show in your inbox list, you can archive it.  Once archived, an email will show in the "All Mail" list, but not in your inbox.  To archive an email, either select the email using the check box on the left, or open the email and then click the Archive button across the top of the screen.  It looks like a little file folder.  Your email will still be accessible to you during searches when it is archived.

*UPDATE* If you select an email in your inbox and click and drag the email into one of the labels on the left side navigation list, it will automatically archive your email and label it so it no longer shows in your inbox.  You can also select the "Move" option and choose a label which will do the same thing.

If you want to see all the emails you have placed under a specific label, weather they have been archived or not, click the name of the label in the list down the left hand side of your inbox.  

You can do a Gmail search specifically for emails with a certain label by typing "label:" followed by the name of your label, into the search bar across the top of your inbox.  For example, if you know you had an email from Sam about homework that you labeled with the "Parent Emails" label, then you can do a search like this:

To read more about harnessing the power of the Gmail search bar, read my post on Searching in Gmail. 

Well, there you have the basics of labeling.  Go ahead and give it a try!

Thank you for stopping by the TeachingTechNix blog!  Drop by again soon for more handy tech tips!

Friday, January 9, 2015

How to Hyperlink

"Just make a hyperlink."  Sounds easy, right?  For some people yes, for others, it sounds like techno speak.  I think people assume everyone knows how to hyperlink.  Truth is...they don't.  I think it is one of those times we tell our students about.  When you don't know how to do something, but you smile and nod and don't say a word because you are worried about what others will think.  What do you as the teacher say to that?  "You should just go ahead and ask because there are probably other kids who don't know either but no one is brave enough to ask."  Right?  I've said it.  If you've been in the classroom very long, chances are you've said it, or at least thought it.  I'm here to make sure that doesn't happen to you the next time someone says to "just hyperlink that".

A hyperlink is a word, phrase, or series of characters that becomes a clickable link.  You can click it and it will take you somewhere else.  That might be to another place in the same document or webpage, or a new document or webpage altogether.  Exactly how to create a hyperlink depends on the program or application you are using, however the basic idea is the same no matter what you are working on.  I'm going to give you the basics you need to know.  

Chances are you've created a hyperlink before and you haven't realized it.  When you found that cool website you wanted to share with a colleague, or that thing on Amazon you wanted your husband to order you for your birthday?  When you copied the web address and pasted it into an email, chat, or text message, you created a hyperlink.  Most programs and applications will take a web address and automatically make it a clickable link.  Problem with that is, sometimes it's really long and looks really messy.  If you are posting a link on a website or into a document or email, you might want something that looks a bit nicer, more professional.  This comes in especially handy now that we are working with so many Google Docs and Forms, which have long, complicated, and not-very-pretty web addresses.  

To make any word or series of words into a hyperlink: 

1.  Copy the web address of the site, document, or Google form you want to link to.  
2.  Type the word or words you wish to hyperlink.
3.  Highlight the word or words with your mouse.
4.  Find the hyperlink button and click it.
5.  Paste the web address in the space for the URL in the pop up window.

Now, finding the hyperlink button is a little different depending on the app you are using.  

The chain link symbol is pretty common.  You'll see this in Gmail and Google Docs.

In Google Docs it is located across the top of your document:

 In Gmail it is across the bottom of your compose message window:

You may also see just the word "Link" like in Blogger.

In Microsoft Word, there are two ways to hyperlink.  One way is to go to the "Insert" tab on the tool bar (also called the ribbon) and click the hyperlink button there, shown with a globe and a chain link.

In Word you can also highlight the text you wish to hyperlink and right click on it.  One of the options will be "hyperlink".  

That covers most of the common programs and icons.  

Once you click the hyperlink button, you will get some options for what you want the hyperlink to do.  Most programs and applications will offer you a place to paste the URL, or web address, for the site you want to link to.  Here are some common ones:


Google Docs:

Microsoft Word:

You'll notice in Microsoft Word, it gives you some other options down the left hand side.  You can link to a web page, file, or place in the same document.  You can also have it create a new document or open an email to a specific email address.  

You'll notice each of these programs has a place for "text to display".  This should be automatically filled with the word or words you highlighted to make your hyperlink.  

Regardless of the program you are using, I recommending testing the hyperlink before you send the email or publish the document, just to be safe.  Sometimes, when you are editing an email, you'll need to press control (command for MAC) and click on the link, instead of just clicking on it to test it.  Once you send the email, people will just be able to click on it.  When you are editing a Google Doc or a message in Gmail, if you mouse over the hyperlink, it will display the link for you to click on to test it out.

Now you can create your very own hyperlink!  Happy linking!

Thank you for visiting the TeachingTechNix blog!  Stop in again soon for more helpful tech tips.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Open in New Tab

I want to tell you about a handy little option you have when you are browsing the internet.  This is true for most browsers - Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.  You have the option to open something in a new tab, or a new window, so that you don't have to leave the page you are on in order to click on the new link.  All you have to do is right click on the link you wish to open and choose "Open Link in New Tab" or "Open Link in New Window".

This picture comes from Chrome, but the specific wording may vary depending on your browser.  Sometimes it just says, "Open in New Tab" instead of including the word "Link".

This comes in handy no matter where you are browsing, but I find this option especially helpful when I run a Google search.  I can scroll through my results and click "Open Link in New Tab" for any of the links I think I might want to see.  Then once I've looked through the list, all the links I am interested in are open in separate tabs across the top of my screen.  I don't have to click the back button and return to my search to look through more results.

Happy browsing!

Thank you for stopping by the TeachingTechNix blog!  Stop in again soon for more handy tech tips.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Searching in Gmail

One of the biggest complaints I heard from people when our school switched from Outlook to Gmail, was that they couldn't make folders anymore.  I told everyone not to worry, because Gmail provides users with a labeling system.  I think it's even better than folders because you can give one email multiple labels, whereas you could only put an email in one folder in Outlook.  You can create up to 5,000 labels and even make sub-labels.  I'll be making a post about labels in the near future, but today I wanted to share with you about Gmail's amazing search feature.  It is so amazing in fact, that I don't even use labels.

At the top of your screen in Gmail you will see a search window.  You've probably even used it before.  You can type in a person's name, the subject of an email, or even a keyword to find the email you are looking for.  One you thing you may not have noticed though, is the little down arrow on the right edge of the search bar.  

This little arrow adds a lot of power to your search.  It allows you to search more specifically.  When you click on it, you get a bunch of options for your search.  

You can choose what section of your mailbox you want to search in (All Mail, Inbox, Trash, Spam, Read Mail, Sent, Drafts, etc.)  You can enter a name or email address of a specific sender or of the person you sent the email to, you can search for a specific subject, or for particular words. You can even search for an email that doesn't have a particular word or words.  One especially useful thing is the little check box for "Has attachment".  You can specify a size and even a date range, too.  It is pretty handy if you ask me.  

You can also use some advanced search operators to narrow down your search without clicking the arrow and using the drop down. 

When you are typing into the search bar, you can use these advanced search operators to help you:

use this to specify the recipient of the email
use this to specify the sender of the email
use this to search for words in the subject line of the email
use this to search for emails you know you have labeled
use this to search for an email you know has an attachment
use this to search for an attachment with a specific name or file type

If you know the file type, but not the exact name, you can simply search for the file type
use this to search a specific area of your mailbox
in:all mail
use these to specify a date range
you can use them together, or individually
(use the date format yyyy/mm/dd)

If you want to get a bit more technical, you can click here to see some other advanced search operators on Gmail's support page.

For example, if I wanted to search for an email from Heather about homework that has a pdf attachment and was sent before December 1, 2014, it would look like this:

I'm assuming here that I wasn't positive the word homework was in the subject line.  If I was sure of that, then I would have used subject:homework instead of just typing the word homework.

One thing you'll want to keep in mind is that Gmail search doesn't recognize special characters like &, *, ( ), [ ], and $.  

I know I use these search operators often when I'm hunting for emails.  I hope they come in handy for you as well!

Thank you for stopping by the TeachingTechNix blog!  Stop by again soon for some more helpful tech tips.

Helping teachers incorporate technology, one tech tip at a time.