Thursday, September 19, 2013

Google Input Tools (World Language Keyboards and Transliteration)

If you find that you need to work in a language other than English (whether you're teaching or taking a world language, or you regularly communicate with other people in a language that is not English) Apps Mail and Google Drive offer you Input Tools.  With Input Tools users can do the following:

  1. Insert all of the necessary characters, letters and punctuation needed for communication in the target language via a pop-up, on-screen keyboard (called the virtual keyboard).
  2. Transliterate a word into the target language based on text entry in English phonetics.  (i.e. using French transliteration "mehr see" would become "merci".)
  3. Use a Latin alphabet keyboard to convert your keystrokes to Asian characters.
To enable this feature you must turn it on through Apps Mail (or Gmail for your personal account if you have one).  Once logged into your Apps Mail: 
  1. Click on the Settings button (gear) in the top right.  Select Settings.
  2. In top of the General Tab locate the Language section.
  3. Click on Show all language options.
  4. Place a check mark next to Enable Google Input tools.
  5. A window will pop up showing you all of the language support offered.  Choose the languages you need to add to the Input Tools feature.  The keyboard icon installs the virtual keyboard.  Transliteration is installed by selecting the option displaying letters or characters.
  6. Scroll to the bottom and click on Save Changes
Input Tools will now be activated in Apps Mail via a keyboard icon that displays in the upper right.  In Google Apps a keyboard icon will display to the right of the toolbar.

If your target language is written from right to left (such as Hebrew and Arabic) you can switch your document to display right to left (RTL) text entry and editing.

This video and link gives you an overview of how Input Tools work, and how to get them.

Finally, Google Input Tools is also available as a Google Chrome Browser extension via the Chrome Web Store.  This will allow you to use your target language across the Internet, not just in Google drive.  Use the link above to get to the extension in the Chrome Web Store.

Currently Google supports over 80 languages in the Input Tool.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Set Gmail as the default email client in Chrome or Firefox

Do you find yourself inadvertently opening Novell Groupwise when you click on an email link on a website?  Below are instructions on how to set your default email client to Gmail in Chrome or Firefox.  This will result in Gmail being opened instead of Novell whenever you click on an email link.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Inserting Non-organic Documents as Objects in Google Sites

Have you ever wanted to insert a Word Doc or a PDF as an object in a Google Sites page?  Google Sites allows users to display a full Google Doc, Sheet, Presentation, Form, etc. as an embedded object on a Google Sites page as an alternative to the typical web link.

In Page Editing view the Insert menu provides the option to place organic files from Google Drive as embedded objects on that page.  The short video below from Macalester College shows how you can do it with non-organic files.  Even though the person in the video is using a Microsoft Word Doc this process will work for other non-organic files

If you have any questions or need further assistance please reach out to an Instructional Coach, a Teacher Coach or to the Central Hub.

File Security in Google Drive

As you know over the course of this year HCRHS will be migrating away from Novell iFolder to back up teacher's files.  We are switching to Google Drive as our backup system, but you also know that Google Drive can do much more.

This link explains how Google keeps your files safe and secure, as well as what you -- the end user -- needs to do in order to maintain file security as well.

Google Drive Security Article

As always feel free to reach out to any Instructional Coach, a Teacher Coach or the Central Hub staff for further support.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Cool Calendar and Sheets Features

Event Flair for Google Calendar

Google Calendar has a Lab called Event Flair that will allow you to place a small symbol on any event you've created and/or are invited to.  You may, for example, choose to mark a birthday with a slice of cake, an anniversary with a heart, or an important deadline with an exclamation point.

To enable this feature, go into your calendar settings (cogwheel icon on the upper-right of your calendar screen) and click Labs.  Search for Event Flair and enable the lab.  From this point forward, you should be able to click on an event and add the icon of your choice.

If the lab does not work properly*, you can try installing a third-party app called the Event Flairs Gadget.  That has seemed to fix the problem for most people.

*Remember that Labs are experimental features that may break, disappear or stop working at any time!

Alternating Row/Column Formatting for Google Sheets

It's now possible to make all the alternating rows and/or columns of a Google Sheet turn light grey to allow for easier viewing.  Follow these directions to enable this feature:

  • Open the Sheet you want to format.
  • Click Insert.
  • Choose Script.
  • Search the word "background".  The top result should be AlternateBackgroundColors.
  • Install the script.
  • Refresh your Sheet and click on the Background coloring toolbar next to Help.
  • Give the script permission to run.
  • Click on any area of your Sheet and then click Background coloring again to format the selection.
Note: you may have to repeat the click-and-format process after making edits to the Sheet; however, feel free to search for and/or try out similar scripts that may work better for you!