Google has upgraded its Google Docs system with some pretty fantastic upgrades. It’s going to be much easier to use, edit, and share documents now. It wasn’t tough before but leave it to the Mountain View team to come up with great solutions to problems you didn’t even know you had yet! From the Google Blog:
They say a house is only as good as its foundation, and we believe the same holds true for web applications like Google Docs. With our old foundation, we could continue delivering most features you wanted quickly, but over time it became clear that some just weren’t possible. So we decided to rebuild the underlying infrastructure of Docs to give us greater flexibility, improved performance and a better platform for developing new features quickly.
Today, we’re pleased to announce preview versions of the new Google document and spreadsheet editors and a new standalone drawings editor, all built with an even greater focus on speed and collaboration. To get a taste of what’s new today, check out our video:
A better document editor
We’ve brought the responsive, real-time editing experience you’ve come to expect from our spreadsheets over to documents, which means you can now see character-by-character changes as other collaborators make edits. We also added another popular feature from spreadsheets: sidebar chat, so you can discuss documents as you work on them with colleagues.
The new technical foundation also helped us improve document formatting, which means better import/export fidelity, a revamped comment system, real margins and tab stops, and improved image layout within documents. These improvements have been highly requested, but previously impossible to create with the older documents editor on older browsers.
A faster spreadsheet editor
With the new spreadsheets editor, you’ll see significant speed and performance improvements — spreadsheets load faster, are more responsive and scroll more seamlessly. We’ve also added a host of often requested features, like a formula bar for cell editing, auto-complete, drag and drop columns, and simpler navigation between sheets. And as always, real-time collaboration in spreadsheets is easy with sidebar chat and the ability to see which cell each person is editing.
A new collaborative drawing editor
In the year since we launched the Insert drawing tool, we’ve received many requests for the ability to collaborate on drawings and make them accessible directly from the docs list. The new standalone drawings editor lets you collaborate in real time on flow charts, designs, diagrams and other fun or business graphics. Copy these drawings into documents, spreadsheets and presentations using the web clipboard, or share and publish drawings just like other Google Docs.
Please note, these new editors are not compatible with Gears (the technology that powers offline access), so they do not have offline support today. However, we plan to bring back offline support in the future, taking advantage of new technologies like HTML5 and advancements in modern browsers.
The drawings editor will be available later today, and preview versions of spreadsheets and documents will roll out to all individual users over the next few days. To try them out, click “New version” at the top of any spreadsheet or go to the ‘Document Settings’ page and select ‘New version of Google documents.’ To learn more about using the new editors in your business, school or organization, check out the Google Enterprise blog.
We’re excited to take advantage of this new foundation to bring you even more new features in the future. Stay tuned for in-depth looks at Google documents, spreadsheets and drawings over the next few days on this blog.