Have you ever tried to make a Google Doc look the way you want and experienced frustration or disappointment? Do you miss the clip art and Word Art that were available in Microsoft Office? If so, this information is for you! You will learn how to brand your Google creations to make you stand out to your students, parents, co-workers and administration. You will also learn about copyright-right friendly, free, clip art sites and how to start a collection of your finds using an app for Google Chrome and Google Drive storage. You will soon be creating impressive Google Docs with a very professional look and feel.
Based on information learned at Eric Griffith's presentation, "Taking Google from Bland to Beautiful."
Tips & Tricks for Formatting Google Documents
- Click the View menu and make sure "Show spelling suggestions" is selected. It does not say "professional" if you have typos and/or spelling errors on your documents.
- Use the Styles list to format Normal text, Titles, Subtitles and Headings. It formats your documents properly for font changes and screen readers. If you do not like the default settings for Styles, you can customize them to your liking. Click here to see how.
- Use the Insert menu to add Page numbers to longer documents. It makes it easier for your readers to relocate information they found interesting or pertinent.
- Use the Insert menu to add a Header. This is a good place to put the title, issue number, etc. for newsletters as it leaves your more "real estate" on the page for your content.
- Change the background color of a document by clicking on the File menu and selecting Page setup. On the left side of the dialog box that opens you will find a drop-down selection menu for Page color. Click the arrow and choose the color you would like to use. A change in background color can make many documents more visually appealing.
Tips & Tricks for Adding Images & Clip Art to Google Documents
- Always make sure you are using royalty free, copyright friendly images and clip art. Whenever possible provide a citation for the items you use. One of the nine elements of Digital Citizenship is Digital Law - the ethical use of technology. As professionals in education, we want to be sure we are modeling this at all times.
- When you use the Chrome browser, you can "drag & drop" clip art and images directly from a web site to your document.
- Visit the Copyright Friendly Resources page and locate some clip art and images that fit your curriculum or professional development offering. Practice dragging and dropping from one tab to another. Note: You must drag onto the tab of the document to bring it to the front and then slide your mouse down to drop onto the "paper" part of the document.
Tips & Tricks for Creating a Collection of Clip Art and Images
- Install Save to Google Drive on the Chrome browser.
- Visit the Copyright Friendly Resources page and locate an image or piece of clip art you might use more than once.
- Right-click on the image or clip art and from the menu select Save to Google Drive and then Save Image to Google Drive.
- Approve access to your Google information.
- A pop-up will open showing the progress of saving the image.
- Go to your Google Drive and locate the image or clip art you saved. Click on it once to preview it. Click on Open to view the image in regular mode.
- Sometimes images and clip art are named with a series of letters and numbers. This is not very meaningful. Click on the name in the top left area of the screen and rename it in the popup box. Note: To change the name of an image, it must be opened in regular mode.
- Add a Comment to store any citation information that will be needed when you use the image. Note: The image must be opened in regular mode to add a comment.
Tips & Tricks for Organizing and Using the Collection
- Once you save a number of images and pieces of clip art, you will want to organize them.
- To do this, go to your Google Drive, click the Create button and select Folder.
- Name the Folder.
- Select the image and Move it into the Folder you created. Note: You can do this by dragging and dropping it into the folder or by checking the box next to the image and clicking on the folder icon above the list of items in your drive and selecting the folder where you want to put the image.
- You can put folders inside of folders on Google Drive. You may want to have a main folder called Images and subfolders with more specific titles inside.
- To use an image in your collection, click on it to put it in preview mode. From this view you can drag & drop it into the document you are creating.
- Note: This is off-topic but very cool! Click here to access information about how students could open a shared image and label it with Comments.
Bonus Image Collection!
- When you are working on a Google document, if you click on the Insert menu and select Image, a popup box will open.
- One of the options in that box is Search. Click on it and select Stock Photos, then enter your search term.
- Stock Photos are available for personal or commercial use only in Google Drive, but that means you can use them in all of your Google documents so it's another good way to get images for your creations.
Tips & Tricks for Creating a Brand
- Create a new Google Drawing.
- Size it for a header by clicking and dragging the shaded triangle in the lower right corner. Note: You cannot set inches just a "look." This is a vector drawing and will be resized without loss of image quality once you put it in a document.
- Click on Insert and select Word art. Type in the title you want to use and then press Enter.
- Drag and resize the Word art to fit your Drawing.
- When the Word art is selected you can change the colors, line style and font. Note: When you are viewing the different fonts available, you can click on More fonts to open a popup where you can add even more.
- Add some images or clip art.
- Drag a shape around your work and select a color for the fill. Note: The shape will be on top of everything else you have added to your drawing. To fix this, click on Arrange, select Order and then click Send to back.
- Once you have finished created your header, you will want to "paste" it all together by using the Group feature. To do this click on Edit and choose Select all. Then click on Arrange and select Group. Note: If you ever want to change individual items in a header, click on Arrange and select Ungroup. You will then be able to work with each item in your header separately.
- You cannot drag or copy a Google drawing directly into another Google document. To use your header, you will need to click File, Download as and select either PNG image or JPG image. Your header will then be downloaded to your computer.
- Locate the downloaded version of your header and upload it into your Google Drive. Once the PNG or JPG version of your header is uploaded, you will be able to drag and drop it into other Google documents. Note: As you create your different headers, you might want to create a folder on your Google Drive called Headers so you can quickly find them.
- Another way to create an attractive and unique header is use the Cool Text website. Choose a Logo Style and then type in your title. Change any of the available options as desired and then click Create Logo. To easily save it, right-click on the logo and select Save Image as. Choose the location where you want it saved and rename it as desired. Upload the saved logo image into Google Drive and then drag and drop it on a Google drawing. Add images, shapes, etc. to further customize your header.
Tips & Tricks for Creating Brand Templates
- Create a new document and insert the appropriate header. Save it with the name of what the document will be about followed by the word template. Example: "Newsletter Template"
- When you are ready to create a document with that header, open the template and then click File and select Make a copy.
- Rename the copy to a more specific name. Example: September Newsletter
- To be organized, you can create a folder and put the template and all of the additional documents together in the folder. Example: Folder named Newsletters would contain the Newsletter Template and all newsletters from September through June.