G Suite For Dummies book cover

G Suite For Dummies

By: Paul McFedries Published: 08-25-2020

Get fast answers to your G Suite questions with this friendly resource 

G Suite For Dummies is the fun guide to the productivity suite that’s quickly winning over professional and personal users. This book shares the steps on how to collaborate in the cloud, create documents and spreadsheets, build presentations, and connect with chat or video. Written in the easy-to-follow For Dummies style, G Suite For Dummies covers the essential components of Google’s popular software, including:

  • Google Docs for word processing
  • Gmail for email
  • Google Calendar for scheduling and day planning
  • Google Sheets for spreadsheet functionality
  • Google Drive for data storage
  • Google Hangouts and Google Meet for videoconferencing and calling capability 

The book helps navigate the G Suite payment plans and subscription options as well as settings that ensure your own privacy and security while operating in the cloud. Perfect for anyone hoping to get things done with this tool, G Suite For Dummies belongs on the bookshelf of every G Suite user who needs help from time to time. 

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G Suite For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 04-14-2022

G Suite offers a huge number of keyboard shortcuts that not only enable you to navigate the app interfaces quickly but also let you easily invoke many app features and settings. Here, you see some of the more useful shortcuts that are common to the G Suite apps, as well as some handy shortcuts you can use with Gmail and Calendar. Do you need to memorize them all? Don't be silly. But read through the lists — you'll probably find two or three that you'll use every day.

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10 Ways to Enhance Privacy and Security with G Suite

Article / Updated 08-24-2020

The more you use the G Suite apps, the more information about you gets stored online. You can quickly end up with a big chunk of your professional and personal lives stored in the cloud, so it pays to take whatever steps are required to keep that data safe and control who can see it and when. In this list, you investigate ten ways to enhance the security and privacy of your Google account and your G Suite apps. Yep, it takes a bit of time to implement these measures, but the time you spend will prove to be an excellent investment. Ensure your Wi-Fi network is locked up tight The first step in securing G Suite actually doesn't have anything to do with G Suite directly. Instead, this step is all about securing the network that you use to access the Internet (and, hence, G Suite): your Wi-Fi network. If you access your G Suite stuff only through a big-time corporate network, then of course you can merrily skip over this section, because the nerds over in IT have it covered. However, if you, like most people, do some (or a lot of) G Suite work at home, you need to take action to batten down your Wi-Fi hatches. A secure Wi-Fi network is necessary because of a practice called wardriving, where a dark-side-of-the-Force hacker drives through various neighborhoods with a portable computer or another device set up to look for available wireless networks. If the miscreant finds an unsecured network, they use it for free Internet access (such a person is called a piggybacker) or to cause mischief with shared network resources. That can mean accessing G Suite applications that are running on a network computer. The problem is that wireless networks are inherently vulnerable because the wireless connection that enables you to access your G Suite apps from the kitchen or the living room can also enable an intruder from outside your home to access the network. Fortunately, you can secure your wireless network against these threats with a few tweaks and techniques, as spelled out in the following list. Most of what follows here requires access to your Wi-Fi router’s administration or setup pages. See your router’s documentation to learn how to perform these tasks. Change the router’s administrator password. By far the most important configuration chore for any new Wi-Fi router is to change the default password (and username, if your router requires one). Note that I’m talking here about the administrative password, which is the password you use to log on to the router’s setup pages. This password has nothing to do with the password you use to log on to your Internet service provider (ISP) or to your wireless network. Changing the default administrative password is crucial because it’s fairly easy for a nearby malicious hacker to access your router’s login page and because all new routers use common (and, therefore, well-known) default passwords (such as “password”) and usernames (such as “admin”). Change the Wi-Fi network password. Make sure your Wi-Fi network is protected by a robust, hard-to-guess password to avoid unauthorized access. Beef up your Wi-Fi router’s encryption. To ensure that no nearby mischief-maker can intercept your network data (using a tool called a packet sniffer), you need to encrypt your wireless network. Some older routers either have no encryption turned on or use an outdated (read: not secure) encryption called Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP). The current gold standard for encryption is Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2), so make sure your router uses this security type. Check your network name for identifying info. Make sure the name of your Wi-Fi network — known as its service set identifier (SSID) — doesn’t include any text that identifies you (for example, Joe Flaherty’s Network) or your location (123 Primrose Lane Wi-Fi). Update your router’s firmware. The internal program that runs the Wi-Fi router is called its Reputable router manufacturers release regular firmware updates to not only fix problems and provide new features but also plug security holes. Therefore, it’s crucial to always keep your router’s firmware up-to-date. Secure your Google account with a strong password Your experience with Gmail, Calendar, Drive, and all the other G Suite apps is only as secure as your Google account. Therefore, it’s vital to ensure that your account is locked down. Fortunately, that requires just two things: giving your account a strong password (as I describe in this section) and turning on Google's 2-step verification feature (which I discuss in the next section). Your Google account’s first line of defense is a strong password. After you have a bulletproof password figured out, follow these steps to change your existing Google password: Access your Google account settings. Either of these methods is sure to work for you: Sign in to any G Suite app, click the Google Account button in the top right corner, and then click Manage Your Google Account. Surf directly to myaccount.google.com and sign in to your account. Click Security. In the Signing In to Google section, click Password. Google, ever cautious, asks you to sign in again. Enter your password and click Next. Google displays the Password page, shown. Type your new, strong password in the New Password text box. Before proceeding, make sure the Password Strength indicator reads strong, as shown. Reenter the same password in the Confirm New Password text box. Click the Change Password button. Google applies the new password to your account. Enable Google’s 2-Step Verification A password made of steel is a necessary security feature, but, sadly, it’s not a sufficient security feature. Malicious users may still worm their way into your account with guile or brute force, so you need a second line of defense. That line is a feature that Google calls 2-step verification (which is a more comprehensible name than what the rest of the Internet most often uses for the same feature: two-factor authentication). The 2-step part means that getting access to your Google account requires two separate actions: Sign in using your Google account credentials. Verify that you’re authorized to access the account by entering a verification code that Google sends to you. You can configure 2-step verification to receive the code via either a text message or an automated phone call. Here are the steps to follow to enable 2-step verification and tell Google how you want to receive your verification codes: Access your Google account settings. Either of these methods works fine: Sign in to any G Suite app, click the Google Account button in the top right corner, and then click Manage Your Google Account. Surf directly to Google's My Account page and sign in to your account. Click the Security tab. In the Signing In to Google section, click 2-Step Verification. Google displays an overview of the 2-step verification process. 4. Click the Get Started button. Google prudently asks you to sign in again. Enter your password and click Next. Google displays the Let's Set Up Your Phone page, shown. Enter your phone number. Click the Text Message radio button. If, for some reason, you don't want to (or can't) receive your verification code via text, click the Phone Call radio button instead. Click Next. Google sends you a verification code via text message (or phone call, if you went that route). Use the Enter the Code text box to type the code you received, and then click Next. If the code you get looks like G-123456, just enter the numbers into the text box. Google asks if you want to turn on 2-step verification. Click Turn On. The 2-step verification feature is now active on your Google account. Set Up Your Contact Verification Methods There’s an old saying in the security industry: "When everyone is out to get you, being paranoid is just good thinking." Okay, well not everyone is out to get you (unless there's something you haven't told me), but there are enough malefactors and miscreants out there who are out to get you that "being paranoid" is just a synonym for "having common sense." So, in that vein, your next bulletproofing chore for your Google account is to set up some methods for Google to contact you either to verify that it's really and truly trying to sign in to your account or to notify you when it thinks it has spotted suspicious activity on your account. (Yes, this is the paranoid part.) Follow these steps to configure your account with a phone number and an email address that Google can use to verify you: Access your Google account settings. Which of the following methods you use is up to you: Sign in to any G Suite app, click the Google Account button in the top right corner, and then click Manage Your Google Account. Surf directly to Google's My Account page and sign in to your account. Click Security. In the section named Ways That We Can Verify That It's You, click Recovery Phone. Google tirelessly asks you to sign in again. Enter your password and click Next. Google displays the Recovery Phone page. Click the Add Recovery Phone button. The Add Phone Number dialog box appears. Type your phone number and then click Next. Google lets you know that it will send a verification code to your phone. Click the Get Code button. Google sends you a verification code via text message. Use the Enter the Code text box to type the code you received, and then click Next. If the code you get looks like G-987654, just enter the numbers into the text box. Click the Verify button. Google adds the recovery phone number to your account. Click Back (the left-pointing arrow) to return to the Security page. In the section named Ways That We Can Verify That It's You, click Recovery Email. Google yet again asks you to sign in. Enter your password and click Next. Google displays the Recovery Email page. Click Edit (the Pencil icon). Enter the email address you want to use for verification purposes, and then click Done. Be sure to use an address other than your G Suite address (such as a personal email address). Google adds the recovery email to your account. Hide Images in Gmail Messages You can make your G Suite email address more private and secure by thwarting the external images that have been inserted into some of the email messages you receive. An external image is a picture file that resides on an Internet server computer instead of being embedded in the email message. A special code in the message tells the server to display the image when you open the message. This is usually benign, but the same code can also alert the sender of the message that your email address is working. If the sender is a spammer, this usually results in your receiving even more junk email. You can prevent this by disabling external images. Here are the steps to follow to configure Gmail not to display external images in the messages you receive: Choose Settings→Settings. Gmail opens the Settings page, with the General tab displayed. For the Images setting, click the Ask Before Displaying External Images radio button, as shown. To revert to always showing external images, click the Always Display External Images radio button instead. Click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the Settings page. Gmail asks you to confirm. Click Continue. Now, when you display a message that contains external images, you see the notification shown. You have three options: If the message is clearly (or even possibly) spam, leave the images hidden and thank yourself for being proactive about your security. If you're sure the message is safe, click Display Images Below to unhide the images. If you know the sender and trust them completely, click the Always Display Images from Address link, where Address is the address of the person or entity who sent the message. This tells Gmail to always display images in messages sent from this address. Blocking Senders in Gmail If you’ve tried out any of the G Suite collaboration features that I go on and on about in Part 3, here's hoping you've discovered that your peers and colleagues are a welcoming, supportive bunch. You might already have made quite a few new friends. However, within any group of people, no matter how amiable and helpful that group might be overall, there are always one or two bad seeds. It might be Boring Bill, who goes on and on about nothing, or Insufferable Sue, who boasts about even the most minor accomplishment. Or, it might be something more serious, such as someone who sends you vaguely (or even overtly) creepy or menacing messages. Whatever the reason, life's too short to deal with such nuisances, so you should follow these steps in Gmail to block that person from sending you more messages: In Gmail, display a message from the person you want to block. Click More (the three vertical dots to the right of the Reply icon). Click Block "Name," where Name is the name of the social pariah you want to shun. Gmail asks you to confirm the block. g-suite-block-command Use the Block command to prevent some misfit from sending you messages. Click Block. Gmail adds the person's address to the Blocked Senders list. Future messages from that person will go automatically to Gmail's Spam label. If you have a change of heart (or the person promises to mend their ways), you can unblock the person by clicking the Settings menu, choosing the Settings command, selecting the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab, and then clicking the Unblock link beside the sender you want to put back into your good books. When Gmail asks if you're sure about this, click Unblock. Choose Who Can See Your Personal Info Your Google account contains quite a bit of sensitive data, including personal data such as your birthday and gender. Normally, combining sensitive data with the Internet is a privacy nightmare come true, but, fortunately, Google comes with a decent set of tools that enable you to choose what you share and with whom. For privacy purposes, Google divides your world into three sharing categories: Only You: The data can be seen by only you. Your Organization: The data can be seen by only you and by each person in your G Suite organization. Anyone: The data can be seen by everyone who cares to look. Google applies default privacy settings for data such as your birthday (Only You), your profile picture (Your Organization), and your name (Anyone). Use the following steps to customize these and other privacy settings. Access your Google account settings. Pick your poison: Sign in to any G Suite app, click the Google Account button in the top right corner, and then click Manage Your Google Account. Surf directly to Google's My Account page and sign in to your account. Click Personal Info. In the Choose What Others See section, click Go to About Me. Google opens the About Me page. Click an item in your personal info. Click who can see the info: Only You, Your Organization, or Anyone. Note that these options aren’t available for all your personal info. Click Back (the left-pointing arrow). Repeat Steps 4–6 for the rest of your personal info. Manage Your Activity Controls Google keep tracks of various activities while you're online, including where you go on the web, which G Suite apps you use, where you're located in the real world while you're online, and what you watch on YouTube. Google says this is for "better personalization across Google," whatever that really means. If you're not comfortable with Google tracking some or all of these activities, you can use your account's activity controls to decide what, if anything, Google saves about you. Here's what to do: Access your Google account settings. Choose whichever option seems appealing at the moment: Sign in to any G Suite app, click the Google Account button in the top right corner, and then click Manage Your Google Account. Surf directly to Google's My Account page and sign in to your account. Click Data & Personalization. The Activity Controls section shows a summary of what Google is tracking about you. If you don't want Google to monitor your web and G Suite app shenanigans, click Web & App Activity and then click to toggle the Web & App Activity switch to Off. Google asks if you're sure about this. Click Pause. Google asks if you're really, really sure about this. Say "Grrr" and click Pause. Click Back (the left-pointing arrow). Repeat Steps 3–6 for the Location History and YouTube History activities. Manage Your Devices Even with your Google account locked down behind a strong password, a nefarious user might still gain access to the account. The most common way that someone can gain access is if you use the same login credentials on another website and that site is hacked and its users’ login data stolen. That data is then usually sold or posted online, and before long some stranger logs in to your formerly secure Google account. If you want to check whether your Google login credentials have been compromised, go to the Have I Been Pwned? site and then enter your Google login email address. (Pwned — it’s pronounced “owned” — is hacker-speak for having been defeated or controlled by someone else.) You certainly don’t want any unauthorized reprobate to access your account, so you should do three things: Use a unique password for your Google account. Activate 2-step verification, as I describe earlier in this chapter. Periodically check your account to see whether a device you don’t recognize has logged in to the account. For the last of these items, here are the steps to follow to look for unrecognized devices that are logged in to your Google account: Access your Google account settings. You can do it either way: Sign in to any G Suite app, click the Google Account button in the top right corner, and then click Manage Your Google Account. or Surf directly to Google's My Account page and sign in to your account. Click Security. In the Your Devices section, click Manage Devices. Google offers up the Where You're Signed In page, an example of which is shown. If you don't recognize a device, click its More icon (the three vertical dots) and then click the Don't Recognize This Device? command. Google opens the Let's Secure Your Account dialog box, which sensibly tells you to change your password. Click Change Password and then follow the prompts to configure your account with a new password. Manage Third-Party Apps It's fairly common to give non-Google apps and services access to G Suite apps such as Docs, Sheets, and Drive. That access is often convenient, but if you stop using a particular third-party app, or if you change your mind about offering that access, you should revoke the app's access to your Google account for security purposes. Here's how: Access your Google account settings. Go with one of these methods: Sign in to any G Suite app, click the Google Account button in the top right corner, and then click Manage Your Google Account. or Surf directly to Google's My Account page and sign in to your account. Click the Security tab. In the Third-Party Apps with Account Access section, click Manage Third-Party Access. Google offers up the Apps with Access to Your Account page. In the Third-Party Apps with Account Access section, click the app that has the access you want to revoke. Google displays the access you've given the app. Click Remove Access. Google asks if you're sure about this. Click OK. Google revokes the app's access to your account.

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10 Useful Gmail Settings

Article / Updated 08-24-2020

Gmail, one of the G Suite apps, offers a relatively simple interface on the surface, but dig a little deeper and you see that the app has a deeper side—the Settings page and its seemingly endless supply of options, configurations, and customizations. There is a lot of stuff in there. Yep, sure, lots of the settings should be labeled For Nerds Only. However, there's a veritable treasure trove of settings available that are actually useful in the real world and can help you be more productive, more efficient, healthier, wealthier, and wiser. (Well, maybe not those last three; but you never know!) Take a tour of ten eminently useful and practical Gmail settings related to the two main Gmail tasks: sending messages and reading messages. Prepare to be amazed! 5 splendiferous Send settings Sending email seems like such a simple thing: You click Compose, insert an address or three, conjure up a snappy Subject line, write the message itself, and then click Send. What more could there be to say about such a straightforward procedure? Well, quite a bit, as it turns out. Gmail actually comes with quite a few settings that can make sending stuff even more useful. This section takes you through a half dozen (minus one) settings and features that you'll want to add to your sending toolkit. Sending a message as plain text You can use one of two message modes when you send an email: Rich text: This mode enables you to dress up your message text with fonts, colors, and styles such as bold and italics. This is Gmail's default format, and almost all messages these days use this format. Plain text: This mode doesn't offer any formatting for your text: no fonts, no type sizes, no italics. What's the use of this plain-text mode? It's rare nowadays, but there are still some very old or very simple email programs that choke when faced with rich text. If you send a rich text email to someone and that person complains that your text is just a gumbo of incomprehensible symbols, you need to resend your message using plain-text mode. Here's how it's done: Create, address, and compose your email. Click More Options. More Options is the three vertical dots near the bottom right corner of the New Message window. (It's pointed out in the figure.) From the menu that appears, click to select Plain Text Mode. Gmail adds a check mark to the left of the command, as shown. Gmail also removes all formatting from your message text. When you choose the Plain Text Mode command, Gmail strips out all your existing text formatting and throws it away. You might think that turning off plain-text mode would restore your previous formatting, but no, that's not happening. Therefore, if you have an elaborately formatted message, think twice before turning on the Plain Text Mode command. Click Send. Gmail sends your plain-text message. Setting the default reply behavior As you learn a bit later in this chapter, when you open a message, Gmail offers a Reply button that you click to send a response to the person who sent the message. If the message was sent to two or more people and you want to send your response to everyone, you have to click the More button and then click Reply All. Lots of people find that they use Reply All more often than Reply, so that extra click of the More button becomes a bit of a bother. Fortunately, you can ask Gmail to switch things around and make Reply All the default button and make Reply the button you access by first clicking More. Here's how: Choose Settings→Settings. Gmail opens the Settings page, with the General tab displayed. For the Default Reply Behavior setting, click the Reply All radio button, as shown. To revert to having Reply as the default, click the Reply radio button instead. Click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the Settings page. Replying and archiving in one fell swoop Archiving a message—moving the message to Gmail's All Mail folder—is a 2-step affair: Click Reply to send a response to the sender of the message. Click Archive to move the received message to the All Mail folder. If you find yourself performing these two steps over and over, you can quickly talk Gmail into combining them into a single step: Choose Settings→Settings. Gmail opens the Settings page, with the General tab displayed. For the Send and Archive setting, click the Show "Send & Archive" Button in Reply radio button. To revert to the default behavior, click the Hide "Send & Archive" Button in Reply radio button instead. Click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the Settings page. Now when you click Reply or Reply All, the resulting message window, shown, includes both a Send button (the one on the right) and a Send & Archive button (the one on the left). If you click Send & Archive, Gmail sends the reply and automatically moves the original message to the All Mail folder. Sweet squared! Setting the default text style Earlier in this chapter, I talk about how you can format your message text with a different font, text size, color, and other attributes. If you find that you're continually making the same text formatting adjustments, you can save some wear-and-tear on your fingers by setting those adjustments in the Gmail equivalent of stone. Gmail offers a Default Text Style setting that includes the font, type size, and text color. Here are the steps to follow to change this setting to something that suits your typographical style: Choose Settings→Settings. Gmail opens the Settings page, with the General tab displayed. For the Default Text Style setting, use the Font, Size, and Text Color controls to format the text as preferred. Under these controls, the text This is what your body text will look like shows the result of your labor. If you make a mess of it, you can start from scratch by clicking the Remove Formatting icon (pointed out in the figure). Click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the Settings page. Preventing Gmail from creating contacts automatically One of Gmail's default settings is that when you send a new message to — or reply to a message from — someone not in your Contacts app, Gmail automatically adds that person's email address to the Other Contacts section of the Contacts app. Why would Gmail do this? Because, that way, the next time you start to enter that person's email address in the To, CC, or BCC field, Gmail displays the address so that you can select it rather than type the whole thing. This is called auto-completing the address. That's a laudable reason, for sure, but it does mean that you'll end up with tons of potentially useless addresses in the Contacts app. Sure, those addresses are tucked away in the Other Contacts section, but if you really don't want all those addresses accumulating, you can turn off address auto-completing by following these steps: Choose Settings→Settings. Gmail opens the Settings page, with the General tab displayed. Scroll down to the Create Contacts for Auto-Complete setting and then click the I'll Add Contacts Myself radio button, as shown. Click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the Settings page. 5 stupendous Read settings Reading messages in Gmail seems like another just-this-side-of-trivial task. After all, to read a message, you click it and then peruse the text, in either the message window or the reading pane. Done and done, right? Not so fast. Gmail has lots of settings you can use to customize the reading experience to suit your style. The rest of this chapter takes you through five of the most useful. Turning off Conversation view By default, Gmail organizes messages by conversation, which refers to an original message and all of its replies, replies to replies, and so on. That's a sensible setup because it makes it easy to see the trend of the conversation and locate a particular reply. Conversations also keep your inbox neat, because the entire conversation resides within a single "message" in the inbox. Still, many people don't like organizing messages by conversations because all the messages are "hidden" within the original message. These people prefer to see all their messages out in the open. If you fall into this camp, you can follow these steps to turn off Gmail's default Conversation view: Choose Settings→Settings. Gmail opens the Settings page, with the General tab displayed. Scroll down to the Conversation View setting and then click the Conversation View Off radio button, as shown. Click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the Settings page. Adding importance markers Gmail monitors how you use the app and the messages you receive as a way of figuring out which messages are important and which aren't. If Gmail's analysis tells it that a message is important, Gmail automatically adds the Important label to the message, which means that you can view the message outside of the noise of your inbox by selecting the Important label on the main menu. That's mighty handy, but there's a fly in this soup: The only way to know whether Gmail has declared a message to be important is to view the contents of the Important label. That is, Gmail offers no indication in the inbox about which messages are important and which aren't. If that seems just plain wrong to you, here's how to fix it: Choose Settings→Settings. Gmail opens the Settings page, with the General tab displayed. Click the Inbox tab. For the Importance Markers settings, click the Show Markers radio button, as shown. If you think it's creepy that Gmail is analyzing your messages for importance, I hear you. Fortunately, you can turn off this snooping behavior. On the Inbox tab, click the Don't Use My Past Actions to Predict Which Message Are Important radio button, and then click Save Changes. Click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the page. Setting the maximum page size Gmail's labels can end up with a ton of messages in them. Gmail handles long message lists by dividing the list into separate pages, with up to 50 messages (or conversations, if you're still using Conversation view) per page. Depending on how you work, 50 will seem like either a ridiculously large number or a ludicrously small number. Either way, the number isn't set in stone and you can follow these steps to set a different maximum page size: Choose Settings→Settings. Gmail opens the Settings page with the General tab displayed. For the Maximum Page Size setting, use the Show X Conversations Per Page drop-down list to select how many messages (or conversations) you want per page, as shown. Click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the Settings page. Managing notifications By default, Gmail doesn't display a notification on your computer's desktop when a new message comes in. That's probably just as well because many studies have shown that the notification of a newly received message (and its accompanying "ping") is a big distraction and, therefore, a major productivity killer. That said, you might want to risk the distraction anyway and give Gmail permission to display desktop notifications. It's also possible to configure Gmail to show a notification only for messages labeled as Important, so consider that a compromise worthy of consideration. Here are the steps to follow to give Gmail permission to display desktop notifications and to configure those notifications: Choose Settings→Settings. Gmail opens the Settings page, with the General tab displayed. In the Desktop Notifications setting, click the Click Here to Enable Desktop Notifications for Company Mail (where Company is the name of your business). Your web browser asks if you want to allow mail.google.com to show notifications, as shown. Click Allow. Select the desktop notification option you prefer: New Mail Notifications On: Click this radio button to see a desktop notification for all incoming messages. Important Mail Notifications On: Click this radio button (as shown) to see a desktop notification only for incoming messages that Gmail labels as Important. Click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the Settings page. Indicating messages sent only to you If you receive a ton of mail from mailing lists and similar group messages, it's handy to differentiate between messages you receive via the list or group and messages addressed to you directly. (Differentiating messages in this way has the added benefit of improving spam detection, because many junk messages are sent as bulk mailings.) For the messages you receive, there are actually three addressing levels to differentiate here: Messages sent to a single address that represents a mailing list or group Messages sent to multiple individual addresses, including yours Messages sent only to your address It's not universally true, but from your perspective, the preceding list can be treated as an indicator of increasing message relevance. That is, messages sent to a mailing list or group are more likely to be not all that relevant; messages you receive that were sent to multiple people are likely to be more relevant; and messages sent only to you are likely to be the most relevant. Gmail has a feature called personal level indicators that reflects this relevance hierarchy: Messages sent to a single address that represents a mailing list or group get no indicator. Messages sent to multiple individual addresses, including yours, get an arrow (›) indicator. Messages sent only to your address get a double arrow (») indicator. If this sounds like a sensible arrangement, follow these steps to start using personal level indicators: Choose Settings→Settings. Gmail opens the Settings page, with the General tab displayed. Scroll down to the Personal Level Indicators setting and click the Show Indicators radio button, as shown. Click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the Settings page.

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10 Tips for Working from Home with G Suite Apps

Article / Updated 08-24-2020

In this article, I take you through ten G Suite tips and techniques that can help the working-from-home work effectively from home. As I was writing this in the spring and summer of 2020, the entire world was coming to a virtual halt in order to stop — or at least slow down — the spread of the novel coronavirus that emerged in late 2019. Literally overnight, those of us who were used to spending our working days in bustling offices located in faraway skyscrapers were now forced to stay home, quarantined from our colleagues and bosses. Being at home means watching Netflix all day, right? Fat chance! No, our work still cried out to get done, and those colleagues and bosses still clamored for our attention. Those same executives who nixed any calls for allowing employees to work from home in the Before Time insisted that now everyone was a work-from-home employee. Ah, but working from home isn't as easy as it sounds. Distractions abound, work is no longer bookended by commutes to and from the office, and it's just harder to get things done when the people you rely on or collaborate with are hunkered down in their own homes. Fortunately, G Suite has your back here. Set your working hours One of the biggest problems with working from home is that the working part of your day doesn't have a set beginning and end. At least when you work at the office, the morning commute acts as a transition into your working day, and the commute home is a signal to your mind and body that the working part of the day is done. (Yes, I know that our modern workdays are really 24/7, but humor me here.) At home, where your "commute" is, at best, a walk down a hallway or up a flight of stairs, you don't get that same sense of separation between your work life and the rest of your life. Even worse, your colleagues and managers also have that same lack of work-life boundaries, so they end up sending you requests for meetings and chats that happen pretty much any time of day or night. It's madness! You can fight back and inject a little sanity into your work-from-home life by setting your working hours, which are the days of the week you work and the times on those days that you've set aside for work. Any go-getter without a personal life who tries to invite you to a meeting at some insane time of the morning or evening gets notified that the event occurs outside of your working hours, as shown. You set your working hours using the Calendar app: Navigate to calendar.google.com. Choose Settings Menu→Settings from the menu bar. On the new page that appears, choose Working Hours from the navigation menu on the left. Select the Enable Working Hours check box. Deselect the icon for each day of the week that you don't work. Using the controls for the first day of your workweek, set the start and end times of your workday. Select Copy Time to All to use the same hours on each of your other workdays. If you work different hours each day, skip Step 7 and set the start and end times for each workday. For members of your team to get notified when they try to rope you into an event that's outside your working hours, you must share your calendar with the team. Show your availability Setting your standard working hours, as I describe in the previous section, is a great start for setting boundaries between your work life and your home life. However, sometimes you have to step out of the home office for a few hours or even a few days. In such cases, you need to let people know you're unavailable. G Suite offers two methods you can use: Set up a vacation responder in Gmail. Create an Out of Office "event" in Calendar. The latter of these is a special type of event that blocks out a specified chunk of time on one or more days. When someone tries to invite you to a meeting or another event during those hours, Calendar automatically declines the invitation. To schedule an Out of Office event, Calendar offers a couple of ways to get started: For a single-day Out of Office event, navigate to the date, switch to Day view, and then click inside the time zone area. Alternatively, switch to Month view, navigate to the month of the event, and then click the date of the event. For a multiday Out of Office event, navigate to the dates, switch to Week view, and then click-and-drag across the time zone area for each day of the event. Alternatively, switch to Month view and then click-and-drag across each day of the event. Calendar creates a new event and you follow these steps to complete the Out of Office event: Select the Out of Office tab. Calendar switches to the interface shown. If the Out of Office start and/or end times are incorrect, click each time and then either edit it to the correct time or choose the time you want from the list. If you don't want Calendar to decline invitations for you, deselect the Automatically Decline New and Existing Meetings check box. If you scoffed at Step 3 (good for you!), use the Message text box to specify the message that Calendar sends back to the meeting organizers. Select Save. If you left the Automatically Decline New and Existing Meetings check box selected, Calendar asks you to confirm that you want the app to decline meetings on your behalf. Select Save & Decline. Calendar adds the Out of Office event to the Events area. Tell chat to chill for a while One of the unique challenges of working from home is that you often have to perform other tasks around the house during work hours: Empty the dishwasher, fill the dishwasher, put in a load of laundry, wax the dog, and so on. If your coworkers are a chatty bunch, you probably don't want a fistful of chat notifications to come rolling in while you're taking care of the homestead. To silence chat notifications for a while, follow these steps: Head on over to chat.google.com to open Chat. Select the Notifications menu, which appears to the right of the Chat logo. Chat displays the Mute Notifications list, as shown. Select the amount of time you want blissful silence. Chat activates Do Not Disturb for the amount of time you selected and changes your status from Active to Do Not Disturb (the moon logo), as shown. Keep up the face-to-face communication When you're at home and everyone you deal with every day is "out there" somewhere, it can be easy to fall into the trap of responding to requests, questions, and discussions using text-based communication channels such as email, messaging, and chat. Those methods are convenient and quick, but they do come with a significant downside: When you're out of sight, you're out of mind. That is, communicating with coworkers only via the written word can quickly erode your relationships and can make all your communications feel increasingly impersonal and formal. How do you prevent your work relationships from going south in this way? Easy: Connect via video as often as you can (or as often as you're comfortable). There's no substitute for face-to-face conversation as a way of staying in the loop, keeping relationships friendly and cordial, and responding empathetically (because you can read facial expressions and hear tone of voice). Fortunately, G Suite makes a video get-together a no-brainer, thanks to Google Meet's easy video meeting setups. Know which communications tools to use G Suite gives you lots of ways to reach out to your coworkers, but not every communications tool is right for every task. After all, you wouldn't use a hammer to peel an orange. (At least, I think you wouldn't.) Here are the main G Suite communications apps, along with some suggestions about when it's appropriate to use each one: Chat: Useful for short conversations, time-sensitive updates, urgent messages, and quick feedback. Video call: Useful for conversations that consist of sensitive topics, constructive criticism, or any other matter where facial expressions are important. Groups: Useful for most day-to-day communications, question-and-answer sessions, status updates, and so on. Meet: Useful for longer discussions, larger groups, or ad hoc meetings to discuss issues too complex for Groups posts. Gmail: Useful for longer, more thoughtful, and less time-sensitive messages and replies. Add time zones in your Calendar If you have colleagues, customers, or suppliers who work in a different time zone, it’s often important to know the correct time in that zone. For example, you probably won't have much luck calling someone at work at 9 A.M. your time if that person lives in a time zone that’s three hours behind you. Similarly, if you know that a business colleague leaves work at 5 P.M. and that person works in a time zone that’s seven hours ahead of you, you know that any calls you place to that person must occur before 10 A.M. your time. If you need to be sure about the current time in another time zone, you can customize Calendar's display to show not only your current time but also one or more world clocks, each of which displays the current time in another time zone. Follow these steps to add one or more world clocks to Calendar: Cajole your web browser into displaying calendar.google.com. Choose Settings Menu→Settings. In the World Clock section, select the Show World Clock check box. Click the Add Time Zone button. Calendar adds a Time Zone list. Use the Time Zone list to select a time zone you want to display in your world clock. To add more world clocks, repeat Steps 4 and 5 as needed. Calendar saves your settings automatically. The following figure shows Calendar with a couple of world clocks on the go. Knowing the current time elsewhere is great, but it's not a big help when it comes to setting up events and meetings. Fortunately, Calendar can help by displaying a second time zone in Day view and Week view. Here's how to set this up: Ask your web browser to please take you to calendar.google.com. Choose Settings Menu→Settings. In the Time Zone section, select the Display Secondary Time Zone check box. Use the Label text box to the right of the Primary Time Zone list to enter a short name for your main time zone. While you're at it, double-check that the Primary Time Zone list is set to your time zone. Use the Secondary Time Zone list to select the other time zone you want to display. Use the Label text box to the right of the Secondary Time Zone list to enter a short name for the second time zone. The following figure shows the Time Zone section with a secondary time zone all set up and ready to go. The following figure shows how the two time zones appear in Calendar (in Week view, in this case). Calendar saves your settings automatically. Configure Calendar for speedy meetings The biggest problem with working from home is not only that you have multiple hats to wear — besides your work hat, you might also have a spouse hat, a parent hat, a cook hat, a taking-out-the-garbage hat, and many more — but you also often need to switch from one hat to another throughout the day. That's life in the big city, but you can give yourself a bit more time to change hats by configuring Calendar to schedule slightly shorter meetings by default. Using the Speedy Meetings settings, Calendar automatically schedules meetings as follows: When you create a 30-minute meeting, Calendar schedules the meeting for just 25 minutes. For example, if you create a "30-minute" meeting to start at 3:00pm, Calendar schedules the meeting to end at 3:25pm. When you create any meeting longer than 30 minutes, Calendar sets the end time for 10 minutes less than what you selected. (For example, if you select a 60-minute meeting, Calendar schedules it for only 50 minutes.) I ask you: Who doesn't like shorter meetings? If you're loving the sound of all this, follow these steps to configure Calendar to automatically schedule shorter meetings: Make your web browser go to calendar.google.com. Choose Settings Menu→Settings. In the Event Settings section, select the Speedy Meetings check box. Calendar saves the new setting automatically. Read email from another account When you're working from home, you might have to monitor email messages from one or more accounts besides your Gmail account. Normally, monitoring another email account means configuring an email client or accessing a website where that account is configured. However, you can avoid all that hassle by configuring Gmail to check for messages from that account. If Gmail finds any messages on the other server, it helpfully imports them into your Gmail Inbox for leisurely reading. To set up Gmail to check mail from another account, here's a rundown of the information you should have at your fingertips: The account email address. The username and password for the email account. (Note that in most cases the username is the account email address.) The address used by the email provider's incoming mail server. This address often takes the form mail.provider.com or pop.provider.com, where provider is the name of the email provider. Gmail calls this address the POP server, where POP is short for Post Office Protocol. A mail server is a computer that your ISP uses to store and send your email messages. Whether your email provider requires a secure connection to check for and retrieve mail. Secure connections are handled via a protocol called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). Whether the email provider requires you to use a special port number for incoming mail. You can think of a port as a communications channel, and Gmail and your provider must be tuned to the same channel for things to work. If you don't have any info on this, your provider probably uses the standard port number: 110 if you don't use SSL; 995 if you do use SSL. With all that info at your fingertips, follow these steps to add the other account to Gmail: Head on over to mail.google.com. Choose Settings→Settings. Gmail opens its settings. Select the Accounts tab. In the Check Email from Other Accounts section, select Add an Email Account. Gmail opens the Add an Email Account window. Enter the account address in the Email Address text box and then click Next. Gmail asks you to enter the settings for the account. Note that Gmail makes a few guesses about the info, most of which should be accurate, or close to it. In the Username text box, enter the account username (usually, the email address). In the Password text box, enter the account password. In the Pop Server text box, enter the address of the server that your provider uses for incoming mail. In the Port list, select the port number your provider uses for incoming mail. Again, this is 110 if your provider doesn't require SSL (see Step 11 in this list); if your provider does want you to use SSL, select 995 in the Port list. If you want Gmail to leave a copy of any imported message on the original server, select the Leave a Copy of Retrieved Message on the Server check box. If you still want to access the account's messages using another email client, selecting the Leave a Copy of Retrieved Message on the Server check box is a good idea. If you'll access the messages only in Gmail, leave the check box deselected so that after Gmail retrieves your messages, it deletes the messages from the original server. If your email provider requires that incoming mail connections be secure, select the Always Use a Secure Connection (SSL) When Retrieving Mail check box. It's a good idea to label the account's messages in some way, so select the Label Incoming Messages check box. By default, Gmail labels the messages using the account's email address. If you prefer to use a different label, use the drop-down list to select New Label, enter the label in the dialog box that appears, and then click OK. If you want Gmail to bypass the Inbox and send the account's incoming messages straight to the label you specified in Step 12 (or to the All Mail label, if you skipped Step 12), select the Archive Incoming Messages check box. The figure shows a filled-in version of the Add an Email Account window. Click the Add Account button. Gmail adds the account and then asks whether you also want to be able to send email from the account. Alas, this functionality isn't available through G Suite work accounts. Click the No radio button and then click Next. Gmail now regularly checks your account for messages. Handle Microsoft Office documents Because you're a full-fledged G Suite user, there's a good chance your organization has decided to go all in with Docs, Sheets, and Slides for productivity apps. That makes exchanging files with your colleagues easier, but when you're working from home, you might have to deal with people who haven't gone all-Google and still use Microsoft's Office productivity stalwarts: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Fortunately, G Suite understands this and is happy to work with Office documents. Here are the three main techniques you need to know: Opening Office documents: G Suite gives you a few different ways to open Office documents in their corresponding Google apps: In a Google app, choose File→Open from the menu bar, select the Office document, and then click Open. This opens a preview of the Office document, and you then select Open with Google App (where App is Docs, Sheets, or Slides, depending on the file type). If you receive an Office document as an email attachment, select the attachment's Edit with Google App icon (where App is Docs, Sheets, or Slides, depending on the file type). If the Office document is in Drive, select the document, click the More Options icon (the three vertical dots), choose Open With from the menu that appears, and then select the Google app that works with the file type. Whichever method you use, the Office document appears in the Google app. To remind you that this is an Office file and not a native Google file, you see the Office document's file extension beside the document name. For example, this figure shows a Word document open in Docs, so you see the .DOCX file extension. Converting an Office document to Google format: If you only ever use Google apps but you have a bunch of Office documents lying around, you should convert those files to their Google-equivalent formats to make it easier to work with the files. To convert an Office document, first open it in the corresponding Google app: Docs for a Word document; Sheets for an Excel spreadsheet; or Slides for a PowerPoint presentation. Choose File-->Save As Google App (where App is Docs, Sheets, or Slides, depending on the file type) from the menu bar. Sharing a Google file as an Office file: If you've created a file using a Google app but you want to email that file to an Office user, you're out of luck, right? Nope. You can actually attach the Google file as an Office file, which enables your recipient to view and work with the file — no problem. To share a file in this way, open the file in its native Google app, and then choose File--> Email as an Attachment from the menu bar. In the Email As Attachment dialog box, use the Attach As list to select the Office format (such as Microsoft Excel for a Sheets spreadsheet file). Fill in the To, Subject, and Message fields in the usual email way and then click Send. Set up your video conference space Conducting video meetings at the office is easy enough because you almost always have the right equipment, the right space, and the right environment. Holding video meetings at home, on the other hand, is quite a bit trickier. I close this chapter with a few tips borne out of hard-won experience with home-based video meetings. First, here are some things to consider, equipment-wise: To minimize the disturbance for others in your household, consider wearing headphones or earbuds. This not only prevents meeting noises from leaking to other rooms in your house but also has the added benefits of giving you the best audio experience and preventing potential echoes. You'll almost certainly be taking notes during the meeting, so to avoid subjecting your meeting buddies to the noise of your typing, be sure to mute your microphone when you're not talking. What's that? You often type while you talk? Wow, good on you! In that case, however, you should think about using an external microphone instead of your computer's built-in mic, to minimize the typing noises. Okay, so now that you're in the market for an external microphone, you should get a wireless mic or headset, right? Not so fast. Wireless mics are convenient and easier to manage in the heat of the call, but the sound quality is often not that great. For the best audio, go for a wired headset or mic. Make sure Meet is using the microphone and camera that you prefer. Now get a load of these tips for setting up your home environment: The room you use should have good lighting — preferably, natural light from a nearby window. Don't sit with the light behind you, which turns your head and upper body into a silhouette. Try to position yourself so that the light is in front of you. Don't rely on your camera feed to judge your lighting and position. Cajole a colleague or friend into running a test call to see how things really look. Ideally, the wall or space behind you should be blank or, at least, nondistracting. Make sure that whatever section of the room people can see is neat and tidy. This is a business call, after all. Ideally, the space you use should have little to no ambient noise. Do not — I repeat — do not play music or talk radio during the meeting. If you can't avoid noise, or if noise is always a potential danger (parents with children under 10 nod their heads knowingly), be sure to mute your microphone when you're not speaking. Finally, here are some ideas for eking out the best video performance: Connect your computer to your Internet router directly with an Ethernet cable, if possible. If you need to use Wi-Fi, try to sit as close as possible to the wireless access point. For the best Wi-Fi performance, use a 5 GHz network, if you have one. Politely ask the other members of your family to hold off on heavy-duty Internet activities (such as streaming video or online gaming) for the duration of the meeting. Be prepared to buy everyone pizza as compensation.

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What Is G Suite?

Article / Updated 08-24-2020

Google's G Suite is a set of applications that work together; G Suite apps are designed to tear down silos. In the world of business jargon, a silo is a person or department that can't or won't share information with other people or departments in the company. Not all that long ago, all employees were silos in a way. Why? Because they beavered away at their computers using installed software such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, with all of their documents stored safely on their hard drives. Sure, every now and then they shared a document on the network or via email, but for the most part they worked in not-so-splendid isolation from their peers. But as management gurus and overpaid consultants have been telling anyone who'll listen for at least a couple of decades now, silos are bad. On an individual level, silos make everyone less efficient and less productive; on a departmental level, silos create duplication of effort and endless turf wars; on a company level, silos inhibit growth and innovation. Yes, silos are nasty things, but how do you get rid of them? An alarmingly large number of management reports and business books have been written to answer that question. It's a complex and difficult topic, but here are three solutions that are almost certainly common to all those reports and books: Make it easy for individuals to access their software and documents no matter where they are or what type of device they're using. Make it easy for people on the same team or in the same department to collaborate with each other. Make it easy for people on different teams or in different departments to share information with each other. How can G Suite apps tear down silos? By implementing the preceding list of solutions in the following ways: G Suite apps aren't installed on your computer. Instead, they live online (in the cloud, to use the vernacular), so you can access them from any location that has Internet access, using any type of device — desktop PC, laptop, Touch PC, tablet, smartphone, you name it — that you have handy. G Suite apps are built with collaboration in mind. For example, two or more people can work on the same document at the same time. No, I'm not just making that up — it's a real feature. G Suite also enables you to easily email, meet, and chat with members of your team or department, so everyone stays in the loop. G Suite documents aren't stored on your computer. Instead, all G Suite data and documents reside in the cloud, so it's a snap to share them with anyone in your company. Silos, schmi-los! What You Get with G Suite My dictionary defines a suite as "a connected series of rooms to be used together." You're probably thinking hotel suite, but that definition is actually a succinct and useful definition of the Suite part of the G Suite name. You can, in fact, define G Suite as "a connected series of Google apps to be used together." That is, the G Suite apps are all awesome when used by themselves, but they're designed in a way that connects them together to make your work life easier, more efficient, and more productive. Okay, so what are these apps that I've been going on and on about? The G Suite Apps App What You Can Do with It Gmail Send and receive email messages. You can also share files as attachments, organize messages, control email conversations, and more. Calendar Maintain an online schedule of appointments and other events. You can also see reminders of upcoming events, schedule repeating events, share calendars, and more. Contacts Create and maintain an online address book. For each contact, you can store info such as the person's name, email address, and phone number. You can also import contacts, group related contacts, and more. Docs Create, edit, and collaborate on word processing documents. You can change the layout, add bulleted and numbered lists, work with headers and footers, format text, paragraphs, and pages, and more. Sheets Create, edit, and collaborate on spreadsheets. You can build formulas, sort and filter data, analyze data, and more. Slides Create, edit, and collaborate on presentations. You can change the theme, show your presentation, create slides that include text, images, and shapes, and more. Meet Set up and join online meetings. You can invite people to a meeting, share resources, record and live-stream a meeting, and more. Chat Exchange real-time messages with members of your team, department, or organization. Groups Join and create groups for posting messages, sharing files, and more. Forms Create forms, quizzes, and surveys to gather information and opinions from members of your team, department, or organization. Keep Create, edit, and share notes. Drive Store, manage, and share files online.

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Gather Info with G Suite's Forms App

Article / Updated 08-24-2020

You use G Suite's Forms app, as its name implies, to construct forms that gather information from people. It might be a form that enables people to register for an event, order a product or service, give feedback about something, take a survey, or test their knowledge with a quiz. Whatever the content of the form, the Forms app gathers the responses automatically so that you can later analyze them. One of the simplest, yet most useful, ways to collaborate with others is to ask them for information. For example, you might ask your customers for feedback about a product or service, or you might ask coworkers for feedback about an event you hosted. Want to know what people think about a topic? Send them a survey. Want to measure how much people know about a subject? Give them a quiz. “Sounds great,” I hear you thinking, but it also sounds like a ton of work. It certainly would be if you have to build the necessary forms with the sweat of your own brow. Fortunately, you can build forms sweat-free with Google Forms. Whether you modify an existing template or construct a form from scratch, Forms makes it easier than you might think to publish professional-looking feedback forms, registration forms, evaluations, surveys, quizzes, and much more. The Google Forms website When you feel up to it, use either of the following techniques to get the Forms home page in sight: Convince your web browser to take you to Google Forms. If you're in a G Suite app that has the Google Apps icon (such as Gmail or Calendar), click Google Apps and then click Forms. The Forms home page When you first get to Forms, you see the home page, which looks similar to the page shown here. Take a quick trip around the screen so that you know what's what here (the figure points out the features in the list that follows): Main menu: Click this icon to open the Main menu, which gives you access to other G Suite apps (such as Docs and Sheets), Settings, and Drive. To close the menu, click any empty space outside of the menu. Search: Search Forms for the item you want. Google apps: Display icons for all the Google apps. Google account: Gain access to your Google account. Start a new form: Display a few templates that you can use to start a new form. A template is a document that comes with predefined text, formatting, and (sometimes) images to get you off to a good start. Template gallery: Click here to see the complete list of Forms templates. Recent forms: These are the three forms you've worked on most recently. Open file picker: Click this icon to open a file from Drive or upload a file from your computer. Create a new form Once you land on the Forms home page, you'll want to create a new form. You have two ways to ask Forms to create a new document for you: To open an empty form (that is, a form with no predefined text or formatting), click Blank. To open a form that has some ready-to-edit text and formatting, either select one of the template tiles shown in the Start a New Form section or click the Template Gallery button and then choose a template from the long list of possibilities that Forms displays. The Untitled Form screen When you create a form from scratch, you end up at the Untitled Form screen, shown in the following figure, which includes the following features: Document area: Where you add, edit, and format your document text. Forms home: Takes you back to the Forms home page. Form name: The name you've given the form. When you start a new form, the area says Untitled form. Customize theme: Enables you to modify the overall look of the form. Send: Ships out the form when you're done. More: Displays a menu of commands. Google account: Gives you access to your Google account. Toolbar: Offers quick access to some useful form features. Fabricate a form With your new form waiting for your input, here are the general steps to go through to build a working form: Enter a title for the form. Enter a description for the form. Replace the Untitled Question text with the question you want to ask. Use the Question Type list (refer to the preceding figure) to select the format of the question. There are ten question formats in all, including Multiple Choice (respondents choose one out of a group of possible answers), Checkboxes (toggle answers on and off), Drop-down (choose an answer from a list), Short Answer, and Paragraph (a longer answer). The response controls you see depend on the question format. (For example, Multiple Choice uses radio buttons.) If you want to reuse questions you added to a previous form, don't enter them from scratch. Instead, click Import Questions, select the form that contains the questions, and then click Select. Enter the text for the first answer option, if required by the question format. Add more options, as needed for the question. Click the Add Question icon. For longer forms, or forms that cover multiple subjects, it often helps to break up the form into multiple sections. To add a section to your form, click the Add Section icon. Repeat Steps 3–6 for the new question. Repeat Steps 7 and 8 until your form is complete. Give your new form a trial run by clicking the More icon and choosing Preview from the menu that appears. Construct a quiz If you want your form to be a quiz, you need to make a couple of adjustments: Click the More icon, and then choose Settings from the menu that appears so that you can open the Settings dialog box. Select the Quizzes tab and then click the Make This a Quiz toggle. By default, Forms shows the user their score immediately after they submit the quiz. If you prefer to review the quiz first, click the Later, After Manual Review option. Click Save to convert your form to a quiz. If you're starting your quiz from scratch, the easiest way to go is to select the Blank Quiz template in the Template Gallery. For each question, you now see an Answer Key link. Click Answer Key, set the number of points you want to assign to the question, choose which option is (or options are) the correct answer, and then click Done. How to add form collaborators Why build a form yourself when you can cajole other people in (and out) of your organization to chip in and help? I can't think of a reason! To bring one or more collaborators on board, click the More icon and then choose Add Collaborators from the menu that appears. In the Sharing Settings dialog box that drops by, you have two ways to entice people to work on your form: Share a link: Under Who Has Access, click Change to open the Link Sharing dialog box, select who you want to share the form with, and then click Save. Copy the address that appears in the Link to Share box, and then paste the address in an email, a text, a web page, or wherever. Invite people via email: Use the Invite People text box to enter the names or email addresses of the people you want to invite to collaborate. If you want to include a custom message in your email, click Add Message and then enter your message in the text box. Click Send to fire off the invitations. Send your form When your form (or quiz) is complete and you've previewed it successfully, it's time to make the form available to its respondents. You have three ways to make a form available: email, link, and web page. Actually, there's a fourth way to share your form: via social media. As pointed out in the following figure (see the following section), you can click either the Facebook icon or the Twitter icon to share a link to your form on those sites. Emailing a form If you want only select people in your organization to fill out the form, send the form via email by following these steps: Click Send. In the Send Via section, click the Email icon. Use the To field to select each person in your organization that you want to fill out the form. Edit the Subject line, if needed. Edit the Message field, if you want to. Click Send. Forms ships out the email, which includes a Fill Out Form button that users click to go to the form. Sharing a link to a form If you want to share your form not only via email but also via text, chat, or any other text medium, you need to get a link to the form and send the link to your peeps. Here's how it's done: Click Send. In the Send Via section, click the Link icon. The Send Form dialog box shows the link to the form. Form addresses tend to be quite long. If you prefer to send a shorter version of the address, click the Shorten URL check box. Click Copy. Forms copies the form address to your computer's Clipboard. Paste the link into whatever media you want to use to share the form. Click Close (X). Embedding the form in a web page If you want to make your form available to anyone who has access to a particular web page and you know how (or know someone who knows how) to add HTML to the page, follow these steps to embed the form's HTML code in the page: Click Send. In the Send Via section, click the Embed HTML icon. The Send Form dialog box shows the HTML code for the form. Use the Width and Height text box to specify the dimensions of the frame that holds the form. Click the Copy button. Forms copies the form HTML to your computer's Clipboard. Paste the HTML into your web page code. Click Close (X). Checking out the form responses When your respondents complete your form and click Submit, the submitted forms start showing up on the form's Responses tab. Here you see a summary of the responses, question-by-question results, and user-by-user responses. You also get a Create Spreadsheet icon to load the responses into a Sheets file for data analysis. Sweet!

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Sharing Notes with G Suite's Keep App

Article / Updated 08-24-2020

You can use the Keep app, one of G Suite's set of collaboration tools, to create simple text documents for things such as to-do lists and meeting notes. A word processing app such as Docs is useful for creating complex and lengthy documents. However, this powerful tool feels like overkill when all you want to do is jot down a few notes. For these simpler text tasks, the Keep app that comes with G Suite is perfect because it offers a simple interface that keeps all your notes together. The Keep home page Are you ready to see what Keep can do? That's the spirit. Accompanied by an optional fist pump, use either of these techniques to land safely on the Keep home page: Go to the Keep app. If you're in a G Suite app that has the Google Apps icon (such as Forms or Groups), click Google Apps and then click Keep. The Keep home page that you see when you first arrive looks like the page shown. (Although note that the figure shows the Keep home page as it appears in the Google Chrome web browser. Other web browsers might not offer every feature you see here.) Let's take a quick trip around the screen so that you know what's what here (refer to the figure, which points out the features in the list that follows): Main menu: Click this icon to toggle Keep's Main menu between icons only and icons with titles. Search: Search Keep for the note you want. Refresh: Ask Keep to check for new or changed notes. List/Grid view: Toggle the notes display between a list and a grid. Settings: Display a menu of Keep settings. Google apps: Display icons for all Google apps. Google account: Gain access to your Google account. Create a new note As shown, the Keep home page includes a box with the text Take a note that's awfully tempting. When you can't take it any longer, follow these steps to create a note: Click inside the Take a Note text box. Keep opens the new note for editing, as shown here. Use the Title text box to enter a title for your note. Use the Take a Note text box to enter your note text. If all you want to do is create a basic note, you're pretty much done, so feel free to skip way down to step 10. If you want to be reminded about your note, click Remind Me and then select the time you want to be reminded. To set the background color of the note, click the Change Color icon and then choose the color you prefer from the palette that appears. To insert an image into the note, click Add Image, select the image file in the Open dialog box that appears, and then click Open. To add a label to your note, click the More icon, choose Add Label from the menu that appears, enter your label name, and then press Enter. To add a drawing to your note, click the More icon, choose Add Drawing from the menu that appears, create your drawing in the window that appears, and then click Back (the left-pointing arrow). To add check boxes to the note, click the More icon and choose Show Tick Boxes from the menu that appears. When you're done, click Close. Keep saves your note. If a note contains information you want to refer to often, or if you know you need to add info to a note frequently, you can keep the note handy by clicking the Pin Note icon. Keep creates a new Pinned section at the top of the window and adds the note to that section. If you want to create a note that includes elements other than plain text, Keep gives you three slightly quicker methods to get the note off the ground: To start a new note that has a list of check boxes, click the New List icon. To start a new note that has a drawing, click the New Note with Drawing icon. To start a new note that has an image, click the New Note with Image icon. How to add note collaborators Notes are such simple affairs that the idea of collaborating on a note might seem odd. However, consider these ideas: If you have no artistic skill whatsoever, but a colleague does, it would make sense to ask that colleague to add a drawing to a note. If a colleague has an image you need for a note, the easiest way to use that image would be to add that colleague as a collaborator. If you and some members of your team are brainstorming a topic, you can all record your ideas in a shared note. I'm sure you can think of 1,001 uses for sharing notes, so here's how you actually do it: Select the note you want to share. Click the Collaborator icon. Keep opens the Collaborators dialog box. Enter the name or email address of a person in your organization you want to collaborate on the note. Click the Add Collaborator icon (the check mark). Repeat Steps 3 and 4 until you've specified all the collaborators you want to work on your note. Click Save. Keep shares the note with the people you specified. For people in your organization or people with a Google account, the note appears automatically in the person's Keep window. If someone shares a note with you but you don't want to contribute to the note, you can take yourself off the list of collaborators. Select the note, click the More icon, choose Remove Myself from the menu that appears, and then, when Keep asks you to confirm, click Delete.

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Why Create a Group with Google Groups?

Article / Updated 08-24-2020

With so many other G Suite collaboration tools at your disposal, why bother with Google Groups? The simple answer is that when you create a group and then add the connected employees to that group, collaboration suddenly becomes much easier. Why? Because now you can treat the group as a single entity, which means you can communicate with everyone in the group just by communicating with the group itself. Here are some examples: You can email everyone in a group by sending the email to the group's email alias. You can invite everyone in a group to a Calendar event by adding the group to the event's guest list. You can ask everyone in a group to collaborate on a file by sharing that file with the group. You can invite an entire group to a chat room by making the group a member of the room. You can use the group's online forum to have group discussions. Sure, none of these examples is a big deal if you're only talking about 2 or 3 employees. But if a group contains 20 or 30 employees, or 200 or 300, then dealing with just the group rather than all those individuals is a real timesaver. The Groups Home Page Are you intrigued by Groups? Curious? Just want to get it over with? Whatever your state of mind, you can use either of the following techniques to take yourself to the Groups home page: Whistle for your favorite web browser and then ask it to load Google Groups. In a G Suite app that has the Google Apps icon (such as Calendar or Docs), click Google Apps and then click Groups. The Groups home page that materializes out of the ether will look like the page shown here. Let's examine the screen so that you know what's what: Main menu: Provides a few commonly used Groups commands. Main menu icon: Click this icon to toggle Group's main menu. Search menu: Select what you want to search. Search: Search for the group you want to view or join. Google account: Gain access to your Google account. Group Roles When you work with groups, particularly if you create your own groups, you constantly bump up against the idea of who does what in a group and what permissions each of these roles has. There are four roles to consider in any group: Group owners: The owner of the group is the person who created the group. However, that person can also assign the owner role to other people. The owner role has the following default permissions: All member permissions (see "Group members," below). Post original messages and replies as the group (that is, by using the group's email address). Add or remove group members, managers, and owners. Moderate group content. Change member roles (for example, promote a manager to an owner). Change group settings. Delete the group. Export group memberships and messages. Group managers: The manager role has the following default permissions: All member permissions (see "Group members," below). Post original messages and replies as the group (that is, by using the group's email address). Add or remove group members and managers (but not owners). Moderate group content. Change member roles (for example, promote a member to a manager; managers can't promote anyone to an owner). Change group settings. Export group memberships and messages. Group members: Everyone in a group has the member role by default, which means they have the following permissions: View the group's messages. Post messages to the group. Post private replies to the author of a message. Moderate post metadata (such as assigning topics). Send files to the group. View the group's membership list. Entire organization: Everyone in your G Suite organization, even folks who aren't members of the group, have the following permissions by default: View the group's messages. Post messages to the group. Contact the group owners. View the group's membership list. If you're a group owner or manager, you can make changes to any of these permissions by following these steps: Select the group you want to work with. Groups opens the group and displays the most recent conversations. In the main menu on the left, click the Group Settings tab. Click to activate the Advanced toggle. For each of the following permission settings, click the role that you want to assign: Group Owners, Group Managers, Group Members, or Entire Organization: Who can view conversations? Who can post? Who can view members? Who can contact the group owners? Who can view the member's email addresses? Who can edit their own posts? Who can reply privately to authors? Who can attach files? Who can moderate content? Who can moderate metadata? Who can post as the group? Who can manage members? Who can adjust roles? Click the Save Changes button. Groups applies the new roles to each permission you modified.

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How to Find and Join a Google Groups Group

Article / Updated 08-24-2020

If you own or have joined just a few groups in Google Groups (part of the G Suite of applications), locating the group you want isn't too much of a bother. That is, you choose My Groups from the main menu and then select the group you want in the list that appears. Even if your My Groups list is quite long, you can do a couple of things to make finding a particular group easier: If you joined or created the group relatively recently, choose Recent Groups on the main menu. If you access the group frequently, favorite the group by selecting it in My Groups and then clicking the group's Favorite Group icon. From now on, you can find the group quickly by choosing Favorite Groups on the main menu. However, if you have a long list of groups and the one you're looking for is neither recent nor a favorite, it's time to bring the Groups search feature into the game. Here's how it works: On the main menu, choose My Groups. Alternatively, you can search Recent Groups, All Groups, or Favorite Groups. To narrow your search, drop down the Search box list and select what you want to search: Group name contains: Use this text box to enter some or all of the group name. Join Date: Use the From and To calendars to select a date range for when you joined the group. Group Organization: Choose Within My Org to search only the groups that are part of your organization; choose Outside My Org to search only the groups that aren’t part of your organization; choose Any Organization to search for both types. Email Subscription: Use this list to search based on the group's email subscription setting: Each Email, Digest, Abridged, None, or Any. Group Managed By: Choose Myself to search only the groups you own or manage; otherwise, choose Anyone. Click the Search button. Groups displays a list of groups that match your criteria. How to join a group After you've located a group that sounds promising, it's time to join the group and get involved. Wait — not so fast! Joining a group isn't as straightforward as you might think. How you join (and even whether you can join) depends on how the group owner configured the group's Who Can Join Group setting. You have to consider three possibilities: Join a group directly, ask to join a group, or wait to be contacted by the owner if the group is invitation-only. For the last of these possibilities, there's not much you can do except wait to receive an invitation. Joining a group directly If the owner has configured the group's Who Can Join Group setting to Organization Users Only, it means that anyone in the group's organization can join directly. Here are the steps required to join such a group directly: Click the Join Group button, shown. The Join Name dialog box appears, where Name is the group's name. The second figure here shows an example. If you don't want group members to view your G Suite profile, deselect the Link to My Google Account Profile check box. If you elected to not link to your Google account in Step 2, the Display Name text box gets enabled, and you can use that text box to specify a different display name to use in this group. Use the Subscription list to select how you want group emails delivered to you: Don't send email updates: You receive no email messages from the group. Send daily summaries: You receive up to 25 complete messages combined into a single email and delivered once per day. Combined updates: You receive summaries of up to 150 messages combined into a single email and delivered once per day. Every new message: You receive all the group's messages, emailed individually as they're posted to the group. Click the Join Group button. Groups adds you as a member of the group. Asking to join a group If the owner has configured the group's Who Can Join Group setting to Organization Users Can Ask, it means that anyone in the group's organization can ask the owner whether they can join. (Any group owner or manager can approve the join request.) Here are the steps to follow to ask to join such a group: Click the Ask to Join Group button, shown. The Ask to Join Name dialog box appears, where Name is the group's name. The second figure below shows an example. If you don't want group members to view your G Suite profile, deselect the Link to My Google Account Profile check box. If you elected to not link to your Google account in Step 2, the Display Name text box gets enabled, and you can use that text box to specify a different display name to use in this group. Use the Subscription list to select how you want group emails delivered to you. See Step 4 in the previous section for the details about each option. Use the Reason for Joining text box to offer one or more reasons why you should be allowed to join the group. Click the Ask to Join button. Groups sends your request to the group, where it will be reviewed by the group's owners and/or managers and either approved or rejected. How to leave a group If you find that a particular group's conversations have become tiresome, annoying, useless, or all of the above, you're free to leave at any time. Here's what you need to do: Open the group you want to leave. In the main menu on the left side of the window, click the My Membership Settings tab. Click the Leave Group button. The Leave Group button appears just below the Search bar. Groups asks you to confirm. Click the Yes, Leave Group button. Groups revokes your group membership.

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Chatting, G Suite Style

Article / Updated 08-24-2020

As proof of chat's ascendance in the corporate communications realm, you need look no further than the myriad ways that G Suite enables its users to message each other: Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Meet. Before moving on to Google Chat, the next few sections take a quick look at these alternative chat methods. Chatting with Gmail When you're hanging around in Gmail, you can use Google Hangouts to exchange messages with people you know, including people outside of your organization. You can set up a classic one-on-one text conversation, or you can organize (or join) a group chat of up to 100 people. Here are the steps to follow in order to start a chat in Gmail: In the Chat section of the navigation menu running down the left side of the page, click the New Conversation (+) icon. A Hangouts Chat dialog box appears, prompting you to specify someone to chat with. (Optional) If you want to chat with two or more people, click New Group and then use the Name Your Group text box to enter an optional moniker for the group. Use the Enter Name, Email Address, or Telephone Number text box to enter the name, email, or phone number of the person you want to chat with. Hangouts Chat displays a list of names that match what you've typed so far in three categories: people inside your organization; people outside your organization who have a Hangouts account; and people who don't have a Hangouts account. If you see the person you want, select that name from the list. If you opted to chat with a group, repeat Step 3 as needed to populate the group. When you're done, select the check mark. Hangouts Chat opens a chat window. For a one-on-one conversation, click Send Invitation; for a group chat, send your initial message. Hangouts Chat sends the invitation or message, which appears in the other person's (or persons') Chat area in Gmail. When that person clicks (or those people click) Accept, you can begin the conversation. Chatting with Docs, Sheets, and Slides When sharing a document, spreadsheet, or presentation with other people, you might need to ask a question or just be sociable with someone who's editing the file with you. Easier done than said: Click the Chat icon in the top left corner of the screen to open the Chat pane and then start "talking." Chatting with Meet During a meeting, you might want to make a comment to another participant without interrupting the meeting, ask a question, or share a link with everyone. You can do all that and more by clicking the Chat icon to open the Chat pane, as shown. Remember that all Meet chats are public, meaning that anyone else in the meeting can read the messages you exchange with someone. Therefore, Meet chats are definitely not the place to rag on your boss or make snarky comments about someone in the meeting! Chatting with Google Chat The rest of this chapter covers Google Chat, which is the main messaging app for G Suite users. To get you started, here are the three ways you can access Google Chat (which I call Chat from here on out): On the web: Take your web browser by the hand and guide it gently to Google Chat. The figure shows the stark Chat landscape that appears when you first open the site. If you've been conducting some Hangouts Chat conversations recently, they'll likely show up here, so your version of the Chat page might look a little livelier. On the desktop: There's a Chat app available for Windows and Mac. Click the Download button. On your mobile device: There's a mobile version of the Chat app available for Android and iOS. Use Google Play (Android) or the App Store (iOS) to install the app on your device.

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