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Online Word Processors: Google Docs Revisited

The Education Techie reviews tech tools that can help students and teachers. In today's article, the Techie takes a look at some recent improvements to Google Docs. Keep reading to learn more!

Overview

In my previous review of Google Docs, I praised the program's ease-of-use and collaborative capabilities. All of those features I discussed before are still present. My main criticism of the program focused on the fact that you need an Internet connection to use the program, and that also hasn't changed. However, the interface is somewhat different, and some useful new features have been added.

The home screen has changed a little bit, with the new design being a bit more compact. Overall, though, the appearance is very similar, and the same tools and commands apply. The updated interface is still very user-friendly and straightforward. I'll detail specific new features below. These changes range from details like new fonts to capabilities like optical character recognition (OCR), the ability to convert a PDF into a text document.

I also did a review focused just on the Drawing feature of Docs. This feature has been updated too, with improved ability to draw connectors between shapes for charts and idea maps. You can even move shapes around, and the connector will follow as you move.

Many of these changes were inspired by user feedback, and Google continues to solicit suggestions from users. If you think of a change you'd like to see, go ahead and contact them. You might just get what you want!

Details On Some New Features

Here are some of the updates that I think are most helpful.

Mobile Editing

Now, you can edit your text Google Docs on your mobile device. You can also start new spreadsheets and text documents. This is a great feature for frequent travelers and others who use their mobile devices like stand-in computers.

Photo Insertion

If you have an account with Picasa, Google's photo sharing and storage program, you can easily insert images into your documents. Your images will have to be saved to Picasa, but it's a good program that you should check out.

Automatic Text Replacement

With this feature, you can set the program to automatically replace certain text with characters. For example, if you frequently misspell the word like 'vacuum,' you can set Docs to automatically correct your errors. You can also apply this feature to symbols, so a specific key command will automatically convert to a copyright sign, for example.

Where to Learn More

This list of new features is hardly exhaustive. Visit the Google Docs 'What's New' page for more specifics.

The Education Techie writes about education and technology. Stay tuned for more informative articles and reviews!