Google Sheets Update Brings Improved Pivot Table Support

Google Sheets for Android

A small update is rolling in the Google Play Store for Google Sheets that brings improved support for pivot tables.  The new build is version 1.18.232.03 for those keeping score at home and should be hitting everyone this week.  With the update, you can now expand and collapse pivot tables in the app.  This a pretty big deal for those who use pivot tables as you no longer have to go into the web version of Sheets to do this activity.

While doing this on your Android phone can still be a bit tricky simply because of screen size, if you are using the Google Sheets app on a Chromebook, this will be hugely handy.

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How to Get The Pride Celebration Rainbow Easter Egg in Google Sheets

Pride Easter Egg in Google Sheets

To help celebrate Pride month, Google has put together a nice Easter Egg in Google Sheets.  Google has long thrown such hidden surprises in their apps and services and, as a long time supporter of LGBTQ rights and Pride month, it is only fitting that they have a special one for the month.

If you type in PRIDE in a Google Sheet, it will be painted with the six colors of the rainbow.  To do this, just put a “p” in cell A1, “r” in B1, etc.  Once you put the “e” in e1, the spreadsheet will automatically be changed.

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Activity Dashboard in Google Docs Updated With New Insights of File Activity

Activity Dashboard in Google Docs

Some improvements to the Activity Dashboard in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides are in the process or rolling out to G Suite domain customers.  The updates bring an easier way to email contributors on shared files right from the dashboard as well as a file activity chart to see access and editing information of a file.

The update is rolling out to G Suite Business, Enterprise, Education, and Nonprofit editions and everyone should see the new information in the Activity Dashboard over the next couple of weeks.

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Activity Dashboard in G Suite Shows When Shared Files are Viewed

G Suite Activity Dashboard

A new Activity Dashboard has started rolling out to G Suite domains that allows admins and users to see when shared files have been viewed by others.  The idea behind the dashboard is to improve collaboration by letting users know when someone who is working with them on a file has actually viewed that file.  Think of it as read receipts for files.

The new feature works for Google Docs, Sheets and Slides files and the feature will be rolling out in two phases.  First, admins will have the ability to enable or disable the feature starting today and only they can see the Activity Dashboard.

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Google Adds More Tweaks to G Suite App Menus

Google Docs New Break Menu

For the third month in a row, Google has begun rolling out menu tweaks to some of the G Suite apps today.  The update that is rolling out today impacts Google Docs and Google Sheets online and will be coming to all G Suite customers over the course of the next week or two.

Like the updates from last month, these tweaks are aimed at making navigation within Google Docs and Google Sheets easier by clarifying what a function does.  These are all visual changes and not changes in function.

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Google Bringing Accessibility Improvements to Sheets, Slides and Drawings

Google G Suite

Google has begun the process of rolling out several accessibility updates to Google Sheets, Google Slides and Google Drawings.  The updates are all for the web-based versions of these G Suite solutions and are cloud-side changes that will be rolling out to all accounts over the course of the next couple of weeks.

First, Braille support has been added to Google Sheets.  Joining support that is already in Docs and Slides, within Sheets you will be able to use a Braille display to read and edit cell content as well as navigate between cells on a sheet.  Initially support for this will only be available on Chrome OS with the ChromeBox screen reader.  Google indicated in the release notes that they are working on support for other platforms and readers.

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Google to Improve Menus in G Suite Online

Google Docs Online

Google has announced that they will be making some minor menu updates to some of the G Suite apps starting in January.  The updates are primarily focused on Google Docs and Google Slides with the idea being to make it easier for users to find certain menu settings.

The changes that Google outlined will be coming to the apps starting January 4, 2018 with the schedule release of the updates.  It should be noted that the changes that are coming are only for the online version of the apps.  Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides for Android and iOS are not impacted by this change.

As for the changes themselves, most of them are renaming of features and not necessarily moving them.  For example, in both Google Docs and Google Slides, “Lists” in the Format menu have been renamed to “Bullets and numbering”.

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Google Sheets Update Brings AI-Driven Enhancements

Google Sheets Explorer

Google has announced that several new features are coming to Google Sheets online that are aimed at bringing more Artificial Intelligence into the spreadsheet service.  All of the features are aimed at increasing productivity, be it through automatic suggestions on formulas or, in natural language, being able to build a pivot table in the Explorer tab.

For most users, the easier creation of pivot tables is the big improvement in this update to Sheets.  Now by typing in a simple question into the Explorer tab in a Sheets file, it will suggest and auto-create a pivot table based on the data in that spreadsheet.  As Google says…

In the Explore panel, you can also ask questions of your data using everyday language (via natural language processing) and have the answer returned as a pivot table. For example, type “what is the sum of revenue by salesperson?” or “how much revenue does each product category generate?” and Sheets can help you find the right pivot table analysis.

This is a powerful way to interact with your data and builds on the already impressive data mining tools that can be found in Explorer.

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