Google Apps Hacks

Book description

Can Google applications really become an alternative to the venerable Microsoft Office suite? Conventional wisdom may say no, but practical wisdom says otherwise. Right now, 100,000 small businesses are currently running trials of Google office applications. So are large corporations such as General Electric and Proctor & Gamble. Google Apps Hacks gets you in on the action with several ingenious ways to push Google's web, mobile, and desktop apps to the limit. The scores of clever hacks and workarounds in this book help you get more than the obvious out of a whole host of Google's web-based applications for word processing, spreadsheets, PowerPoint-style presentations, email, calendar, and more by giving you ways to exploit the suite's unique network functionality. You get plenty of ways to tinker with:

  • Google Documents -- Share and edit documents with others in real time, view them on the run with Google Docs mobile service, and use Google Notebook for web research

  • Google Spreadsheets -- Add real-time data to spreadsheets, and generate charts and tables you can embed in web pages

  • Google Presentations -- View them on a mobile phone and save them as video

  • Gmail -- Send email to and from a mobile phone, adjust Gmail's layout with a style sheet, and a lot more

  • iGoogle -- Create your own gadgets, program a screenscraper, add Flash games, and more

  • Google Calendar -- Add web content events, public calendars, and your Outlook Calendar to this application

  • Google Reader, Google Maps, Google Earth, and Google SketchUp: the new 3D modeling software tool

  • Picasa, YouTube, and Google Video -- discover new ways to customize and use these media management apps

In addition, Google Apps Hacks outlines ways you can create a simple web site with nothing but Google tools, including Page Creator, Blogger, Google Analytics, and content from other Google apps. This amazing collection just might convince you that Microsoft Office is not the last word in business applications. The price is certainly right.

Table of contents

  1. Contents (1/2)
  2. Contents (2/2)
  3. Foreword
  4. Preface
    1. Google’s Apps—a Google Office, or a Google OSOS?
    2. How to Use This Book
    3. How This Book Is Organized
    4. Conventions Used in This Book
      1. Using Code Examples
    5. Acknowledgments
    6. We’d Like to Hear from You
  5. Chapter 1: Meet the Google Docs family
    1. HACK 01: How to Get Your Google Account
      1. Log In to Google Docs
    2. HACK 02: Collaborate with Others Through Google Docs
      1. Get Feedback on a Document You’re Working On
      2. Publishing a Document for All to See
      3. Sharing a Spreadsheet
      4. Presenting to a Group
    3. HACK 03: Make a Desktop Icon to Create a New Document
      1. Windows
      2. Mac OSOS X
      3. Try It
      4. Changing the Icons
      5. Adding a Keyboard Shortcut
      6. Create a Shortcut Icon for an Existing Document
    4. HACK 04: Embed a Dynamic Chart into a Google Document or a Web Page
      1. The Google Charts Image Generator
    5. HACK 05: Share Documents with a Group
    6. HACK 06: Automatically Open Local Files with Google
    7. HACK 07:Google Docs on the Run
    8. HACK 08:Back Up All Your Google Docs Files
      1. Backing Up a Small Number of Files
      2. Backing Up All Your Files
    9. HACK 09:Beyond Google: Create Documents with Zoho, EditGrid and more
      1. Zoho: Online Office Suite
      2. EditGrid: An Alternative to Google Spreadsheets, Excel, or
      3. ThinkFree’s Online Office Suite
  6. Chapter 2: The Google Docs Family:Google Documents
    1. HACK 10:Let Others Subscribe to Your Document Changes
    2. HACK 11:Blog with Google Docs
    3. HACK 12:Insert Special Characters Into Your Documents
    4. HACK 13:Search and Replace Text Using Regular Expressions
      1. Hacking the Hack
    5. HACK 14:“Google Docs Light” for Web Research:Google Notebook
      1. Collaborative notes
      2. Converting a Notebook to a Google Docs document
    6. HACK 15:Convert a Word File Into a PDF with Google Docs
    7. HACK 16:Write a JavaScript Bookmarklet to Transmogrify Your Documents
      1. Hacking the Hack
    8. HACK 17:Remove Formatting Before Pasting Text Into a Document
    9. HACK 18:Prettify Your Document with Inline Styles
      1. More Ways to Change the Layout of Your Document
        1. Use the same layout for multiple documents
  7. Chapter 3: The Google Docs Family:Google Spreadsheets
    1. HACK 19:Add Live Data to Your Spreadsheet
      1. GoogleLookup, Google’s Q&A data for your spreadsheet
      2. Using GoogleLookup Values as Arguments for Other Calculations
      3. Get Real-Time Finance Data
    2. HACK 20:Pick a Winner at Random
    3. HACK 21:Embed Your Spreadsheet in a Web Page
    4. HACK 22:Use Google Spreadsheets as a Content Management System
      1. Hacking the Hack
    5. HACK 23:Show Elapsed Time as Days and Hours
      1. Hacking the Hack
    6. HACK 24: Show the Weekday or Month of a Date
    7. HACK 25:Show the Difference Between Two Dates
    8. HACK 26:Automatically Complete Lists of Related Items
      1. Hacking the Hack
    9. HACK 27:Import Data from Web Sites
      1. Overview of the Data Import Functions
        1. importXML
        2. importData
        3. importHtml
        4. importFeed
    10. HACK 28:Format Cells According to Their Values
      1. Adding Gradients
    11. HACK 29:Convert Currencies Within Your Spreadsheet
  8. Chapter 4: The Google Docs Family:Google Presentations
    1. HACK 30:Add a Custom Presentation Theme
      1. The “Change Background” Dialog
      2. Directly Adjusting the Stylesheet
        1. Hacking the Hack
    2. HACK 31:Find Images for Your Presentation
      1. The Creative Commons
    3. HACK 32:Shrink Your Presentation for Easy Sharing
      1. Find the Optimum Image Type and Compression Quality
      2. Good Resizing and Color Reduction
    4. HACK 33:Use PowerPoint Templates
    5. HACK 34:View Your Presentation on a Mobile Phone
    6. HACK 35:Make Your Presentations Easy to Read
    7. HACK 36:Embed a Presentation in Your Web Page
    8. HACK 37:Drag and Drop Images from Other Web Sites
    9. HACK 38:Save Your Presentations as Video
      1. Break a Presentation up Into Images Using Screenshots
      2. Break a Presentation Into Images Using ImageMagick
      3. Making the Movie
  9. Chapter 5: Become a Gmail Power User
    1. HACK 39:Send Mail to Several People at Once
    2. HACK 40:Import Contacts from Other Email Programs
      1. Outlook Express
      2. Hotmail
      3. Mozilla Thunderbird
      4. Mac OS X Address Book
    3. HACK 41:Adjust Your Gmail Layout
      1. Internet Explorer
      2. Firefox
      3. Safari
    4. HACK 42:Change the Appearance and Behavior of Gmail
      1. Gmail with different attachment icons
      2. Gmail super clean
      3. Folders4Gmail
      4. Gmail HTML Signatures
      5. Gmail Conversation Preview
    5. HACK 43:Read Gmail on Your Mobile Phone
    6. HACK 44:Organize Messages as They Arrive
      1. Gmail’s Search and Filter Syntax
      2. Create a New Filter
        1. How Beth Handles Her Filters
    7. HACK 45:Gmail Drive, Your Online Hard Drive
      1. An Alternative: GmailFSFS
    8. HACK 46:Know Your Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts
    9. HACK 47:Make Gmail Better
    10. HACK 48:Back Up Your Email
      1. 1. Activate POP in Gmail
      2. 2. Install and run Thunderbird
      3. 3. Find your Gmail inbox file
      4. 4. Copy your inbox to a local folder
    11. HACK 49:Attach a Google Docs Document to Your Email
      1. Option 1: Attach a Word file
      2. Option 2: Share the Document with One Person or a Small Group
      3. Option 3: Paste the Document Into the Message Body
      4. Option 4: Publish the Google Document as a Web Page to be Seen by Many
    12. HACK 50:View Unread Messages
    13. HACK 51:Insert Pseudographical Email Signatures
      1. Finding the Right Unicode Character
        1. Miscellaneous symbols (Figure 5-30)
        2. Arrow symbols (Figure 5-31)
        3. “Dingbat” characters (Figure 5-32)
        4. Miscellaneous technical symbols (Figure 5-33)
      2. Adding the Character to Your Signature
      3. Creating Larger Unicode Art Pieces
        1. Box drawing characters (Figure 5-36)
    14. HACK 52:Forward Messages to Your Cellphone
    15. HACK 53:Create Spare Gmail Addresses
    16. HACK 54:Search for a Specific Language
    17. HACK 55:Link to Conversations, Searches, Labels, and More
      1. Linking to Specific Conversations
      2. Linking to Searches to Allow Easy Retrieval of Threads
      3. Linking to Labels
      4. Creating a “Compose” Shortcut
    18. HACK 56:Beyond Google: Yahoo! Mail, MS Hotmail, and More
      1. Yahoo! Mail
      2. Microsoft Hotmail
      3. Mozilla Thunderbird
  10. Chapter 6: Customize Your Google Home Page
    1. HACK 57:Add Google Tools to iGoogle
    2. HACK 58:Chat from iGoogle
    3. HACK 59:Create Your Own iGoogle Gadgets Quickly
    4. HACK 60:Program Your Own iGoogle Gadget
      1. The Hello World Gadget
      2. The Daily Product Image Gadget
    5. HACK 61:Create an iGoogle Theme
      1. igThemer
      2. The iGoogle Theme Editor Bookmarklet
    6. HACK 62:Add Google News to iGoogle
      1. The Tabbed Google News Gadget
      2. A Custom RSS Feed
      3. The Whole Google News Home Page
      4. The Non-Tabbed Google News Gadget
      5. The Mobile Variant of Google News
      6. Personalized News Recommendations
    7. HACK 63:Embed Content from Any Web Site in a Gadget
    8. HACK 64:Add Any Flash Game as a Gadget
    9. HACK 65:Beyond Google: Netvibes, Pageflakes, and More
      1. Netvibes
      2. Pageflakes
      3. Protopage
  11. Chapter 7: Manage Your Events with Google Calendar
    1. HACK 66:Access Your Calendar from a Mobile Phone
      1. Calendar SMS Alerts
      2. View Your Calendar on the Go
      3. Add and Request Events via SMS
    2. HACK 67:Subscribe to Public Calendars
    3. HACK 68:Create a To-Do List in Google Calendar
      1. A Greasemonkey To-Do List for Calendar
      2. Remember the Milk’s To-Do List
    4. HACK 69:Share Calendars
      1. Embed a Full Calendar
      2. Invite Others to Edit Events in the Calendar
    5. HACK 70:Put a Calendar XML Widget in Your Blog
      1. Grabbing the Feed to Use Elsewhere
      2. Tweaking Google’s Sample Code to Suit Your Needs
    6. HACK 71:Embed All Kinds of Content in Calendar Events
      1. Adding Web Content Events to iCal
      2. Hacking the Hack: Dynamic iCal Files
    7. HACK 72:Style Your Calendar
      1. Installing and Using Stylish
      2. Adding Third-Party User Stylesheets
    8. HACK 73:Quickly Add Events from Anywhere
    9. HACK 74:Know the Weather
    10. HACK 75:Beyond Google: Yahoo! Calendar and Others
      1. Yahoo! Calendar
      2. Microsoft’s Calendar
      3. 30 Boxes
  12. Chapter 8: Keep up on News with Google Reader
    1. Finding New RSS Feeds
    2. HACK 76:Use Google Reader Offline
    3. HACK 77:Subscribe to Google’s Feeds
      1. Subscribe to a Google Blog Search
      2. Subscribe to Google News
      3. Subscribe to Google Video
      4. Subscribe to Google Web Search
      5. Subscribe to Gmail Messages
      6. Subscribe to Google Docs
      7. Subscribe to Google Notebook
      8. Subscribe to Google Groups
      9. Subscribe to Picasa Web Albums
      10. Subscribe to YouTube Videos
    4. HACK 78:Take Your Old Subscriptions with You
    5. HACK 79:Get Alerts for New Blog Posts
    6. HACK 80:Share a Post with a Single Shortcut
    7. HACK 81:Use Google Reader’s Mobile Version
      1. Kidnap Mobile Reader to Display as an iGoogle Gadget
    8. HACK 82:Track What Wikipedia Says About You
    9. HACK 83:Track Your Package
    10. HACK 84:Compare Two Posts to See the Changes
      1. Retrieving the Older Version of the Article
      2. Comparing Two Versions of a File
    11. HACK 85:Beyond Google: Bloglines, Kinja, and Other Feed Readers
      1. Bloglines
      2. SharpReader
      3. NetNewsWire
      4. SendMeRSS
      5. Kinja
      6. FriendFeed
      7. Netvibes
      8. Live Bookmarks
  13. Chapter 9: Manage Your Photos and Videos with Picasa and YouTube
    1. Sign Up for YouTube
    2. YouTube versus Google Video
    3. Sign Up for a Picasa Web Album
    4. HACK 86:Turn a Picasa Photo Feed Into a Screensaver
      1. Grab Your Picasa Photo Feed
        1. Install and set up the screensaver on Windows
        2. Getting photo feeds from other places
    5. HACK 87:Link to a Specific Position Within a Google Video
    6. HACK 88:Watch Videos on Your Cellphone
    7. HACK 89:Optimize Streaming When Embedding Multiple YouTube Videos
    8. HACK 90:Add Subtitles to a Google Video
    9. HACK 91:Download a YouTube or Google Video Film for Offline Consumption
      1. Finding the right videos
    10. HACK 92:Geotag Your Photos and Share Them on Google Maps
      1. Adding Your Photos to Google Maps
    11. HACK 93:Resize and Customize Embedded Videos
      1. Resizing a Video
      2. Adding Colors
    12. HACK 94:Disguise Your Picasa Identity
    13. HACK 95:Display Music Video Lyrics
    14. HACK 96:Beyond Google: From Flickr to Vimeo and
      1. Flickr
      2. Vimeo
  14. Chapter 10: Create Your Own Home Page, Blog, or Group
    1. Publish Regular News or Perspective with a Blog
    2. Create Your Home Page with Google Page Creator
    3. Set Up Your Own Discussion Group with Google Groups
    4. HACK 97:Add a Gadget to Your Google Page (or Blog)
      1. Adding a Gadget in Google Page Creator
      2. Add Gadgets to Your Blog
    5. HACK 98:Battle Spam in Your Blog
      1. Disable Comments
      2. Enable Comment Moderation
      3. Disable Comments for a Specific Post
      4. Get Email Notifications for New Comments
      5. Helpful CAPTCHAs
      6. The “nofollow” Value
    6. HACK 99:Add a Search Engine to Your Home Page
      1. Find Out Whether Your Site Is Already Indexed
      2. Set Up Your Custom Search Engine
      3. Add a Search Box to Your Google Page Creator Home Page
    7. HACK 100:Get a Taste of Blogger’s Experimental Features
    8. HACK 101:Keep a Discussion Thread at the Top of the Group
    9. HACK 102:Blog Transparently
      1. Crediting Your Source
      2. Hacking the Hack
    10. HACK 103:Hide the Blogspot Navigation Bar
    11. HACK 104:Monitor a Thread for New Posts
      1. Change Detection Services
      2. Hacking the Hack
    12. HACK 105:Hide the Ads in Your Google Group
    13. HACK 106:Track Who Links to Your Blog Posts
      1. Using Blogger’s Backlinks Function
    14. HACK 107:Quickly Share YouTube Videos on Your Blog
    15. HACK 108:Generate Text Images
      1. Generate a Signature
      2. Create 3D Text
      3. Create 2D Text
    16. HACK 109:Blog via Email
    17. HACK 110:Outsource Your Knowledge Base Hosting
    18. HACK 111:Test Your Web Site in Other Browsers
    19. HACK 112:Get a (Google) Site
      1. Signing Up with Google Apps
        1. Setting Up Your Google Site
    20. HACK 113:Turn Your Blog Into a Book
      1. Print on Demand—How Works
        1. The Technical Steps for the Blog-to-Book Conversion
        2. How to Write Blog Posts that Stand the Test of Time
    21. HACK 114:Beyond Google: From WordPressand FriendFeed to Yahoo’s GeoCities
      1. Blogging Software
      2. Home Page Creators
      3. Creating a Discussion Group
  15. Chapter 11: Dive into Google Maps, Google Earth, and Sketchchup 3D
    1. Google Maps
    2. Google Earth
    3. Google SketchUp
    4. HACK 115:Drop a Google Map Onto Your Site
      1. Hacking the Hack
    5. HACK 116:Add a Gadget to Google Maps
      1. Creating Your Own Mapplet
    6. HACK 117:Create Your Own Google Maps Layer
      1. Creating the Map
      2. Sharing Your Map
      3. Allowing Others to Edit the Map Along With You
    7. HACK 118:Enable Advanced SketchUp Tools
    8. HACK 119:Load Plug-ins Into SketchUp
    9. HACK 120:View the Moon and More on Google Maps
    10. HACK 121:Create Google Maps Overlays On the Fly
      1. The Outset
        1. The Python script
    11. HACK 122:Add a Sky to Google Earth
    12. HACK 123:Add Your Business to Google Maps
    13. HACK 124:Make Your 3D Model More Sketch-Like
    14. HACK 125:Avoid the Clash of Context Menus
    15. HACK 126:Plot Google Calendar Events on a Google Map
      1. Geocoding a Google Calendar XML Feed
      2. Viewing Public Google Calendars in Google Earth
    16. HACK 127:Turn Google Earth Into a Flight Simulator
    17. HACK 128:Beyond Google: The Yahoo! Maps Web Service, Live Maps, and More
      1. Yahoo! Local
      2. MapQuest
      3. Ask Maps
      4. Microsoft Live Search Maps
  16. Chapter 12: Google Analytics and Beyond: Market Your Site, Track Visitors
    1. Getting Started with Google Analytics
    2. HACK 129:Customize Your Google Analytics Dashboard
    3. HACK 130:Optimize Your Site for Search Engines
      1. Off-Page Optimization
      2. On-Page Optimization
    4. HACK 131:Track the Traffic of Your iGoogle Gadgets
    5. HACK 132:Create a Firefox Keyword to Skip the Analytics Login Box
    6. HACK 133:Export Your Analytics Traffic to Google Spreadsheets
      1. Exporting the Data
      2. Importing the Data
    7. HACK 134:Promote Your Site Using Google Gadgets
      1. Contacting Blogs
    8. HACK 135:Roll Your Own Analytics API for a “Most Popular Posts” Widget
      1. Basic Method
      2. Setting Up the Google Group
      3. Setting Up Google Analytics
      4. Yahoo! Pipes
      5. Displaying Your “Most Popular Posts”
    9. HACK 136:Conduct a User Survey
    10. HACK 137:Visualize Traffic with DIY Vector Graphics
      1. Draw Something Using Canvas
      2. Getting Canvas to Work in Internet Explorer
      3. Drawing a Traffic Chart in Canvas
    11. HACK 138:Talk to Your Visitors
    12. HACK 139:A Different Display for Google Analytics
    13. HACK 140:Follow the Online Discussion
    14. HACK 141:Beyond Google: Clicky, Mint, and Others
      1. Alternatives or Companions to Google Analytics
  17. Credits
    1. About the Author
    2. Contributors
  18. Index (1/3)
  19. Index (2/3)
  20. Index (3/3)

Product information

  • Title: Google Apps Hacks
  • Author(s): Philipp Lenssen
  • Release date: April 2008
  • Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  • ISBN: 9780596515881