Windows Tips & Tricks (August 2012) – Part 2 - Manage Your Google Docs Offline with gExplore

9/10/2012 4:01:41 AM

Manage Your Google Docs Offline with gExplore

You'll need this

A Google Docs Account: Google Docs is a great tool for keeping all your documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in the cloud.

Gexplore: Keep your Google Docs organized with gExplore, available at The free trial of the program is fully functional but the number of files you can organize is limited. The full version is only $10.

gExplore is a free program that enables you to upload and download files in your Google Docs account directly from Windows, and even send PDFs via email or to a Kindle. It shows all your documents in a folder interface that looks like a traditional Windows Explorer branch structure. It allows you to upload and download all document types supported by Google Docs, and you can encrypt files before sending.

You can also delete or rename documents, export entire collections to your computer, and view detailed file properties. Files can be searched by their name and contents, and you can create notes on each file to help organize and store additional information about them. Helpfully, notes can be stored in the cloud so you can access them from any PC with gExplore installed.

1.    Install gExplore:

Browse to index.aspx and click the Download link, which is beside the small green arrow icon on the left-hand side of the page. This downloads the free version of the gExplore software, which we'll be using here; a full version, available for $10, lets you organize more files and gives you added functionality such as Cloud File Notes.

At the end of the installation process you'll be prompted to enter your Google account details (image G). Check the box marked ‘Remember my password’ and gExplore will save your login details so you're not asked for them every time you open the program. If you don't have a Google account, you must visit and register there first.

Description: Image G

Image G

2.    Upload and Download files:

gExplore is easy to use be­cause it looks just like a normal Windows Explorer window, with a branch structure on the left showing your directo­ries (image H). Only folders that are found within your Collections folder on Google Docs are accessible. Right-click a file, and you'll see the various options for editing it, including adding a star to indicate an important document (Star File).

Description: Image H

Image H

If you've made some changes to a file on your PC and want to upload the more recent version to Google Docs, gExplore lets you do this by locating the document you want, right-clicking, and then choosing Upload New Ver­sion. As long as the filename is the same as the original file held in Google Docs, it will be overwritten in the same format as before.

To download a document from gExplore to a location on your PC just choose it, right-click, and select Down­load. To upload you can either click an existing file, right- click, and choose Upload, or select Upload from the bot­tom toolbar. You can upload an individual file or a whole folder.

Right-clicking a file will bring up options to rename or delete it. The Rename option brings up a new dialog box where you enter a new name under the old one (im­age I). To verify any changes you've made in gExplore, or in Google Docs on the web, hit the Refresh button on the bottom toolbar.

Description: Image I

Image I

3.    Send and Share files:

On the right-click context menu, click Email Selected Files to bring up a win­dow where you can write the destination email ad­dress and a message (image J). You can also highlight several documents and then choose the same Email Selected Files option. This is something you can't do in Google Docs!

Description: Image J

Image J

In addition to email, you can send a document to an Amazon Kindle for reading. If this is a file type that a Kindle can read (PDF, TXT, and so on), the right-click con­text menu will show the option ‘Send to My Kindle.’ Click this to bring up a window where you can specify a Kindle email address to send the document to (image K). Or you can send the file to an iOS or Android device that has the Kindle app installed.

Description: Image K

Image K

You can also share a Collection held in Google Docs with another user. Right-click a Collection in the left-hand branch structure, and there will be an option labeled Share Collection. Clicking this will bring up a window where you can en­ter the email address of the person you want to share with (image L) and what access they should have (View or Edit).

Description: Image L

Image L

Now you can manage all your Google Docs on the desktop and get away from the often-unreliable nature of working in the cloud. An extra feature in the full version of gExplore is Cloud File Notes. This enables you to store notes about a document without putting them in the document itself, which is useful when you collaborate or share files with other users.

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