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 Continues to Tweak G Suite App Menus for Clarity

Google Docs New Break Menu

Over the past few months, Google has been making minor tweaks to the menus in various G Suite apps online.  Most of these efforts, with the biggest change coming last month, have been aimed at making it easier to navigate these menus and to be clear about what exactly you are doing with that menu option.

Today another round of menu tweaks started rolling out to all G Suite customers that further adjusts menus in Google Docs and Google Slides.  In their announcement, Google laid out the before and after menu views to help users find the difference.

For Google Docs, to add a line or page break, here are the changes:

  • Before: Insert > Page break or Column break
  • After: Insert > Break > Page break or Column break

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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 Docs, Sheets & Slides for Android Updated With New Editing Tools

Google Docs for Android

Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides all have an update rolling out in the Play Store for Android.  The update brings the normal raft of bug fixes and performance improvements but also has some new editing tools.

There are new toolbar items will allow you to more easily format tables, images and drawings within your Docs, Sheets or Slide documents.  The editing features are tools that have been on the web-based versions of the apps so these updates bring feature parity between the platforms.

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G Suite Web Clipper To Be Removed in September

Web Clipboard in G Suite Apps

The Google G Suite team has announced that effective September 13th of this year, the web clipboard in the suite of apps will no longer be available.  The feature, according to the G Suite team, is rarely used as the ability to copy and paste across browser windows has improved over the years.  The feature was originally designed for when this was more challenging.

As these issues have become less prevalent across many browsers, we’re looking to simplify the user experience by removing the web clipboard, which is rarely used, on September 13th, 2017.

The post goes on to way that the team is working continue to improve the copy and paste feature within the web-based versions of the apps.

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Google Drive Update Brings Support for Password Protected Microsoft Files

Google Docs Online

The Google Drive team is rolling out an update to the web that allows you to preview password protected Microsoft Office documents.  The update is rolling out to everyone and should get to your account over the course of the next few days.  Once you have it, if you attempt to open a password protected file, you will be prompted for the password and can then preview the file.  The key word here is preview.  You won’t be able to edit the document nor will you be able to open it up in Google Docs, Sheets or Slides.  It is a read-only preview.

While it is limited, this is a nice edition to Google Drive.  Many users store Microsoft files on Drive so being able to at least preview a document before going through the process of opening it up in the apps could potentially save some time.  Interestingly, the ability to open or preview password protected files is something that even Microsoft does not offer with Office 365 online.

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