Google Apps

Revised tip: Create new Google Drive docs with desktop shortcuts

Save a whole bunch of keystrokes by creating a desktop shortcut for creating new Google Docs in Google Drive on the fly.
This tip was originally published in February 2012. With the release of Google Drive, the shortcut URL links used in February have changed. This is the revised version, which includes updated shortcuts. All of the other steps in the tip remain the same.

CBS Interactive, the division of CBS that manages websites like TechRepublic, adopted Google Enterprise Apps as its base office suite last year. I have been clinging on to the Microsoft Office way of doing my job ever since. But it has become increasingly obvious that I am going to have to adapt to the "cloud computing" way of doing things.

With that in mind, I have been slowly developing the tools and tricks I need to make Google Apps easier to use as my primary editing and writing tool. One annoying thing I have been able to overcome is the number of mouse clicks required to merely start a new Google Doc. Instead of starting Chrome, clicking the appropriate domain bookmark, logging in, navigating to the Google Docs page, and then clicking the New button, I can just click one icon, login, and get to work.

This is accomplished with a desktop shortcut, which can be easily setup for any domain instance of Google Docs. It is even easier if you are using the free version of Google Docs.

Note: I am using Windows 7 for this example, but the same technique will work for Vista or XP.

Setup

Right-click anywhere on the desktop, navigate to the New menu item, and then click the Shortcut entry as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Start a new shortcut
On the next screen, type (or copy and paste) the appropriate shortcut link into the text box, similar to Figure B. Of course, you want to replace the YOURDOMAIN placeholder to reflect your domain.

Figure B

Type the appropriate shortcut - Ignore the shortcut in the image - use the revised shortcuts

Here are some the potential documents you can create shortcuts for:

  • https://docs.google.com/a/YOURDOMAIN.com/document/create?hl=en
  • https://docs.google.com/a/YOURDOMAIN.com/spreadsheet
  • https://docs.google.com/a/YOURDOMAIN.com/presentation/create?hl=en
  • https://docs.google.com/a/YOURDOMAIN.com/drawings/create?hl=en

Notice that there are slight differences between each shortcut.

If your instance of Google Docs does not reside within a domain, you can still create shortcuts, but you will leave out the reference to a domain, like this:

  • https://docs.google.com/document/create?hl=en
  • https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet
  • https://docs.google.com/presentation/create?hl=en
  • https://docs.google.com/drawings/create?hl=en
Click Next (Figure C) and give your new shortcut an appropriate name and click OK.

Figure C

Give it a name
You will probably also want to change the default icon for your shortcut; right-click the shortcut and then select Properties. Click on the Web Document tab and click the Change Icon button. (Figure D)

Figure D

Change the Icon
The system defaults to the Chrome set of icons, but you can find other icon libraries within the Windows directories or on the Internet. (Figure E)

Figure E

A better icon

Also read:

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

6 comments
Atharton_CB
Atharton_CB

Thanks Mr John. Just registered. Saw their video, its nice though didn't get clearly what they are gonna provide. Seems like they are like Evernote, DropBox. Gotta Wait for the beta version only then can say something. It would be nice if you can put some light about the product CollateBox http://www.collatebox.com/ . Athar

louishelps
louishelps

why not just highlight the url and drag it onto your desktop, where you can rename it? simple enough

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I am looking to compile a list of the features missing from Google Docs that prevent you (and me) from using the productivity suite as our primary set of apps. What is on your list?

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