Google Search Tip

on Monday, October 26, 2009

It can be overwhelming to filter through the results of a Google search link by link. There is a new feature now, where you can sort the links by time, and thus find the most recent posts quickly. Click the "“Show options” link (the one with the little plus sign in front of it) below the search box. Lots of filtering options will appear on the left-hand side of your screen, so you can limit results to posts made in the last hour, the last week, or the last year. Lots of other options appear as well (shown at the left), including "Fewer shopping sites" to help ween out the folks trying to sell you something, and the "Wonder Wheel" to give you a graphic representation of related subjects.

There will be an all day Google Tools workshop in Pueblo on December 4th, where we will explore how to use on many of the amazing free Google tools available to you. Email me at for more details.

Thanks to Loretta Lohman for the tip.

Google Docs Presentations

on Friday, October 23, 2009

Google Docs allows you to share a synchronized PowerPoint presentation with others using a shared URL. Combined with a conference call, you can offer an entire presentation in this manner. For free!

Upload the PowerPoint to Google docs. Then in the upper right-hand corner, click Start presentation, which will turn the presentation to full screen.

In the lower right-hand corner, click View Together. This will bring up the presentation with a chat pod on the right (shown below).

Just above the chat pod will be a URL to share with the others in the group. Email the link to the rest of the group. As they click on the link, their names will show up on the chat pod. When everyone has joined, simply progress through the presentation, slide by slide. The presentations on their screens will move with yours, so everyone wil quite literally be on the same page.

Google Doc Forms

on Friday, October 16, 2009

This is an incredibly useful tool I use so often, and suggest to others so frequently, I was actually surprised to realize I hadn't written about this already.

You can easily build an online form and have it write the resulting data to an online Excel document housed at a Google Docs account. The form can handle many kinds of questions: multiple choice, multiple answer, text, paragraph text, grids, and scales.

To create a Google Docs form, go to your Google Docs home page. Choose Create New, then Form.

Simply type your question text into the Question Title box, choose your question type, and type in your answer options.

If you like, you can add a customized confirmation message. The resultant poll can be emailed, published as a stand alone web page, or embedded in an existing webpage or blog (as I've done below). The data will be automatically written to an Excel form at the Google Docs site.

Here's a sample form embedded into this blog. It's a live, functioning form, so feel free to fill it out. I promise to read your answers!

Publisher and PowerPoint Templates

on Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Much has been made of the Extension webpage templates, but there are other templates at your disposal as well, for brochures, reports and PowerPoint presentations. Also available are a wide range of loges, in different colors, sizes, alignments and backgrounds.

Template for Publisher brochures are available at There are templates here for Colorado Living brochures, 4H brochures (one is shown below), and general Extension brochures. Also available here, inside the Photos folder, are a wide range of photos and images, cleared for use. The instructions for using all of these are resources are posted at the URL as well.

Templates for a wide range of press releases and reports are available at Many of these allow you to easily insert an image of your own to personalize the graphics (a letterhead with an blank placeholder for your own image is shown below). Instructions are posted.

Template for PowerPoint presentations are available at One of the Master Gardener title slides is shown below.

Finally, a vast number of CSU, Extension, 4H and Master Gardener logos, in many formats, sizes, colors, and alignments, are available at Applicable graphic standards are posted here as well. The MG logo is shown below.