During the course of one of my classes I ended up working with a student who was unable to use a reliable spreadsheet application at home. This means that their only option to complete any spreadsheet work would be to come into the computer lab and use Microsoft Office on those computers. Of course with the snow and usual pain in the butt that goes along with coming into the computer lab, this is kind of a crappy option. So why doesn’t he have a spreadsheet application?
Well why wouldn’t anyone have a spreadsheet application accessible to them at home in these modern times? To be honest, I didn’t ask, I felt as though I was intruding a little too much with that question. Everyone should have access to these tools. Maybe installing StarOffice is not allowed in the home (I wouldn’t let my kids install it on my personaly computer), maybe Microsoft Office is too expensive even with the student discount…..so what is a student, or anyone to do in these circumstances? They have somehow made the effort to obtain a computer and it already has a licensed operating system on it (that is the easy part). But what about the basic applications to make these things work?
Well to my suprise the neat thing Google has been talking about was a great fit. A lot of people have been talking about it and to be honest it is better then Microsoft‘s “test drive” (a.k.a Not easy to use and completely FREE). The second half of that statement really gets me pissed off, Microsoft copies a lot of things from Google, but they are able to somehow miss the essence of what is being offered (similar to zune vs. ipod), just easy to use best of breed technology. Yes I would rather use excel online with it’s specialized functions for accounting and other operations, but I may not be able to afford it……is pirating the only option?
So what are some of the cool features that I am talking about for Google Spreadsheets?
Go check it out, go to Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Login or get an account (includes IM, email, calendar, etc), create a spreadsheet and check out these features that make collaboration a reality…..
- On the left hand side of the screen under the Google logo there is a “file” button, when you click the button you can select the “export” >> then export the single spreadsheet as a .csv or .html, you can also export the entire workbook as a .ods, .pdf, or .xls (.xls is highly compatible with people who may want to edit the file so is a good idea to use for collaboration), .pdf is great for publishing to wide variety of sources.
- On the right hand side of the screen under the “Sign Out” link and under the “Save & Close” button, there is a tab titled “Collaborate”, this tab allows you to add collaborators (people who can edit the spreadsheet) and viewers (people who can simply view the spreadsheet). In the screen shot below I have myself listed as a collaborator and my wife as a viewer.
- Once you have collaborators and viewers invited, these people can view and collaborate on spreadsheet numbers, formulas, formatting, etc, etc
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