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An office in the cloud

Posted by: Howie2.0

Tagged in: word , spreadsheets , presentations , gtalk , google docs , Google , excel


I have recently started using Gtalk, Google Calendar, and Docs, even though they have been around for a while, and found the cloud-based office to be all I need for a nomad journo student.

Google Docs is an online service that enables you to create, edit and share live documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, and drawings with other people you invite to join. There is also an awesome Google Calendar which can be shared with others and a Gtalk IM service for instant communication. Google is my office without using ink or paper.

Figure 1 -sign up or login in with gmail account

Google Docs


(Similar features to Excel)

  • *Create, edit and format spreadsheets
  • *Work with sheets, rows, and columns
  • *Work with data (using rules, pivot table reports, filters, data validation, range names, gadgets etc)
  • *Functions and formulas (quick sum, list of functions, formula auto-complete and more)
  • *Create and edit charts
  • *Tools (spellcheck, revision history, paint format tool and more)
  • *You can export, publish and embed charts on other websites


  • *Create presentations with slides, images, videos, tables
  • *Formatting
  • *Present your data live – people in different locations can view a presentation simultaneously when each person signs into the presentation and clicks view together (bottom right of screen)
  • *Viewers of a presentation cal move through slides on their own or follow with the presenter.
  • *There is a chat function available for conversations during the presentation. This feature requires Adobe Flash Player version 8 or above. Linux users require version 9 


  • *Create, edit and format documents (similar to Microsoft Word)
  • *Inserting links, images, come=ments and discussions, headers and footers
  • *You can use Google Drawings with Google documents, spreadsheets and presentations
  • *Print documents
  • *Normal formatting and tool features (mathematical quations, translate a document into one of 53 languages)

Translate your document into 1 of 53 languages. click tools menu and select 'translate document' - Google


  • *Create and edit forms
  • *Create for school, business and personal life
  • *View and edit form responses
  • *Add themes to forms
  • *If you’d like to track your form responses, you can add the forms gadget to your iGoogle page. Once you’ve created your form (check the email that comes through – there should be an option to add this gadget) or click here for further instruction.


  • *Edit drawings online in real time with anyone you choose, and invite others to view your edits in real time.
  • *Chat with others who are editing your drawing, from within the drawings editor.
  • *Publish drawings online to the world as images, or download them in standard formats.
  • *Insert text, shapes, arrows, scribbles, and images from your hard drive or from the Web.
  • *Lay out drawings precisely with alignment guides, snap to grid, and auto distribution.
  • *Insert drawings into other Google documents, spreadsheets, or presentations using the web clipboard, then tweak them inline.

Google talk (Gtalk)

A downloadable chat application which offers instant messaging; status updates, file transfer plus voice chat (free pc to pc long distance calls; audio conferencing and chat integration).

If you want to chat face-to-face with people over Gtalk you need to download and install “voice and video chat”  (takes seconds) and then restart your computer.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this video

Google Calendar

  • *Live editing of the calendar
  • *Sends email notifications before an appointment is due to start (which if you have set up on your phone, has a audio alert)
  • *You can share your calendar with others by inviting them using their Gmail email address
  • *Access the calendar via your mobile browser
  • *Sync your calendar with Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCal and Mozilla Sunbird
  • *Access calendar offline (read-only version)


The most awesome part about all of this = it’s free! I can create and access any document, spreadsheet, presentation etc and share it with many people, have a audio conference and share calendars to set up appointments. This cloud-based service means you won’t need a USB-dependent device to carry around all your work - fantastic for those of us without an 'official' office.



Figure 2 - spreadsheets (above)

Figure 3 - Documents (above)

figure 4 - Calendar (above)


Comments (3)Add Comment
written by Howie2.0, August 17, 2011
Does anyone know of other online services similar to Google Docs?
The X
written by The X, August 17, 2011

but for advise, do not move away from google docs. They are by far the most stable online docs out there.
written by Howie2.0, August 17, 2011
@The X
Ah Ok, thanks for the advice!

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