Google Docs’ Gadgets feature gives its spreadsheets an edge on Excel for some tasks. Users can create animated pie charts, produce QR codes and more. Helen Bradley of PCWorld explains how.
• Make your own QR codes. QR codes are a great way to quickly share text info such as URLs and product data. To create a QR code in a Google Docs spreadsheet, type the text for the code into one or more adjacent cells in a column. Choose Insert > Gadget > All, locate the QR code gadget, and click Add to spreadsheet. When the Gadget Settings dialog box appears, drag over the cells containing the text for the code, click OK, and Apply & Close.
• Create organizational charts. First, create the data on which you will base the org chart. In one column, type whatever text should appear in each box in the chart. In each adjoining cell to the right, type the corresponding information. If you want two lines of text in a box, type one line and press Alt-Enter to start a second line. Confirm that the spelling of each name or box label is identical wherever you use it, or the chart won’t render correctly. Now choose Insert > Gadget > Diagrams > Organization Chart, and click Add to spreadsheet. Select the cells in the two columns containing the data, and click OK. Type a title in the Title box, then Apply & Close.
• Create an animated pie chart. Create one by choosing Insert > Gadget > Charts. Locate the FusionCharts Pie & Donut Widget, and click Add to spreadsheet. Click in the Range box, select the data to plot—omitting the column headings—and click OK. Now select the chart type, and type a caption and subcaption. Enable the Animate checkbox, and, if you prefer, enable Values On and Labels On to show both labels and values for each pie slice.
Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone when creating spreadsheets. Using Google Tools is a great way to get your work to stand out.
— Adapted from “Great Google Spreadsheet Gadgets,” Helen Bradley, PCWorld.