Thursday, April 21, 2016

Force a Copy of a Google Doc

There are times when you need to give your students - or maybe even your colleagues - a copy of a Google Doc.  Perhaps it is a template they need to fill out or some other type of assignment or plan that they need their own copy of so they can edit it and make it their own.  Rather than asking them to go in and go to File-->Make a copy, you can edit your link so that it will prompt them to make a copy as soon as they click on the link.

All you need to do is change your sharing settings so that the person will be able to have "view" access to the file.  You can do this by clicking on the blue "Share" button on the top right corner of your document.

If you are doing this for just a few people, type their names in and their accounts will pop up for you.  Here is the difference - be sure to click on the "Advanced" link at the bottom of the sharing settings window.

Clicking on "Advanced" will add some new options to the window.  Be sure to uncheck the box that says to "Notify people" - you don't want them to get an email letting them know you shared the file with them.  You want them to click on the link you are going to send them separately.  Once you've unchecked the box, you can click on the blue "OK" button to save the changes.

​If you are sharing with a whole class or a large group of people - the easiest way to accomplish the correct sharing privileges is to click on the blue "Share" button and then click "Advanced" just like I showed above.  You'll notice it says the access is set to Private - Only you can access.  You'll see a blue "Change" link just to the right.  Click on that.

Change the link sharing to be "Anyone at [your organization] with the link" and be sure the access level is set to "Can view".  (This will only work if you are sharing with people who all have email addresses belonging to your organization.  If you are sharing outside your organization, choose "Anyone with the link" instead.) Then click the blue "Save" button.  Sharing this way won't notify anyone via email.  It will just allow anyone with an organization email address to have view only access to the file - but only if they have the link.

Whether you shared with a few specific people, or anyone at your organization, once you click "Save" it will go back to the general sharing options window.  You will see that it now shows the access you just selected.  At the top of the window will be the URL link you need to copy and paste to give to whomever you wish to share the file.  Once you have copied the URL you can click the blue "Done" button.

Now is where we edit the link so that it will prompt people to make a copy instead of taking them into the file.  You'll want to make a hyperlink for your students or colleagues to click on so they can see a phrase of your choice as the link instead of the ugly URL - if you need instructions on making a hyperlink - click here to see how.

When you paste your URL into the hyperlink it will look something like this:

Near the end of the URL you will see "/edit" with some other text after it.

Delete everything after the / and change it to say "copy".

That's it!  Now when some one clicks on the link - it will take them to this screen - prompting them to make a copy of your document.  When they click "Make a copy", it will make a copy, save the file to their Google Drive, and allow them to begin editing their own copy of the document.

This can come in very handy to avoid any confusion when people need a copy of your Google Docs.

Hack The HTML Code to Resize Images

There are many products we use that have HTML in the background.  For instance, you are reading this blog post on Blogger, which I have edited in this happy little editor, however - in the background is HTML code commanding what you see.  Sometimes my editor doesn't give me the options to do what I'd like to do, so I can edit the HTML code to modify my post.

Perfect example:

I'm working on a blog post right now about forcing a copy of a Google Doc.  I inserted a picture into my post and the original size was too large, so I had four choices in my editor: Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large.  I picked Extra Large because it looks best in the editing window.  The other three sizes are just too small.  The picture looks great!

When I preview my post though, I get this:

My picture overlaps the sidebar on my blog.  What can I do?  Well...I can edit the HTML!  In the upper left hand corner of my Blogger post, I have a button that allows me to make the switch between my nice easy compose editor and the HTML code.

Once I get into the HTML code, I'm going to search for the image code.  I'll know it because it will list a long web address (the URL of the picture) and I'll see the words height and width with some numbers next to them.  Like this:

I can change these numbers and my picture will still look ok, as long as I keep the ratio the same.  So I've tested and figured out that using 80% of these numbers will get me a nice size that fits into my post.  So I will take 640 and multiply by .8 to get 512.  Then I will multiply 115 x .8 and get 92.  I'll change the numbers accordingly and then click in the top left to return to the compose editor.  

Now my picture looks smaller in the editor.  

When I go to preview now, it is perfectly sized!

You can almost always find access to the HTML code of your website - you just have to hunt for it.  I've edited the HTML in Google Sites, Blogger, and Weebly.  If you aren't sure how to edit the HTML to do what you want it to do, just do a search on Google for it.  I can almost guarantee someone will have a post about how to do it.  

Don't feel stuck by the options in your editor, hack that HTML code to make your site look the way you want! 

Zoom in on Google Chrome

Ever been reading a web page with text too small to read comfortably?  An email that came in with an extra small font?  Maybe you are showing your class a Google Doc or web page, and it is too small for the kids in the back to read.  No problem - easy fix!

In the upper right hand corner of your Chrome window, you will see the menu button.  It has three lines stacked on top of one another.  This menu is often referred to as the "hotdog" or the "hamburger".  Click on it to access the Zoom options in the drop down menu.

You can then click on the little plus sign to zoom in closer.  Of course - if you want to zoom out, you can use the little minus sign.  Here is what it looks like when I zoom in a few times.

If you have adjusted the zoom in any way - you will have a small magnifying glass in the upper right hand corner of your address bar (also called the Omnibox).  If you click on it, you can adjust your zoom from there, or you can hit "reset" to go back to normal.  

Happy zooming!

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