Make a Bookmark to Quickly Restart Google Chrome

Google Chrome, most would agree, is a memory hog. Open a few website tabs in Chrome and your system slows down to a crawl. The most recommended solution is that you uninstall the non-essential Chrome add-ons and restart your browser to release some RAM.

How do you restart Chrome? Close the browser and double-click the application icon on the desktop to launch it again. That’s the usual way but Chrome also offers a special URL that makes it easy to restart Chrome from the address bar.

Go to the browser address bar, type chrome://restart and hit the Enter key. Voila! The browser restarts itself.

Bookmark to Restart Google Chrome

Make a Chrome Restart Bookmark

If you restart Chrome frequently, it may be a good idea to create a bookmark that will help you restart with a click. Here’s how.

Press Ctrl+D (Windows) or Cmd+D (Mac) to bookmark this page in your browser. Now click the Edit button on the bookmark screen, put chrome://restart in the URL input field and click save to create the restart bookmark.

That’s it. Type chrome://chrome-urls in your browser address bar to see other internal pages of Chrome that can be accessed via special URLs.


The story, Make a Bookmark to Quickly Restart Google Chrome, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 16/11/2016 under Google Chrome, Internet.

How to Embed Images from Google Photos into your Website

Google Photos is the best service for backing up your digital photos to the cloud. They have no storage restrictions, your can upload images as well as videos, and visual search helps you find photos by people or things in them. There’s one feature though that’s still missing in Google Photos.

You can easily share your photos with anyone using a simple link but Google Photos offers no option for you to embed an existing image into a website. That is, if you have already uploaded an image onto Google Photos, you can’t directly embed it into your website through Google Photos.

Google Photos as an Image Host

Embed Google Photos is a new web app that, as the name suggests, makes it extremely easy for you to pick any image hosted on Google Photos and place it on a web page using simple HTML code.

Here’re the steps involved:

  • Go to photos.google.com and open any image that you wish to embed in your website.
  • Tap the Share Icon (video tutorial) and then choose Get Link to generate a shareable link for that image.
  • Go to j.mp/EmbedGooglePhotos, paste that link and it will instantly generate the embed code for that picture.

Open your website template, paste the generated code and save (see sample). The image will now serve directly from your Google Photos account. This technique can also be used for embedding images in HTML Mail without having to use an external image hosting service.

Embed Google Photos

Embed Google Photos – How it works?

When you share a single photo via a link inside Google Photos, it creates an unlisted link that is accessible to anyone including those who are not logged into their Google Accounts. Internally, the app downloads the page behind this link and extracts the Open Graph tags to determine the direct link of the image and the underlying photo album.

Also see: Google Photos – The Good Parts

The embed app only works for single images and not albums. One more thing. I am not aware of any bandwidth limitations for images shared via Google Photos. If have a very popular site, this may not be the way to go.

 


The story, How to Embed Images from Google Photos into your Website, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 25/10/2016 under Embed, Image, Internet.

How to Capture Screenshots in Google Chrome without using Extensions

There are umpteen ways to capture screenshots of web pages in your Google Chrome browser. You can use the good-old Print Screen key (or Cmd+Shift+4 on a Mac), get a snapshot utility like SnagIt or the Windows Snipping Tool, or even better, get a dedicated Google Chrome extension like Smartshot that lets you capture the screen and annotate it.

What some may not know is that the newer versions of Google Chrome have a built-in screenshot capabilities allowing to perform screen captures without install any extensions. The more interesting part is that you can even add device frames to your captured images for more realistic mobile screenshots.

How to Screen Capture in Google Chrome

To get started, open any web page inside Google Chrome and choose Settings -> Tools -> Developer Tools. Alternatively, press F12 on Windows or Cmd+Opt+I on a Mac to directly open the Chrome Dev Tools window.

Next, toggle the Device Toolbar button so that it turns blue. Now select any mobile device from the built-in list of device presets. Set the zoom to 100% and click the Rotate icon to change the orientation (default is portrait mode).

The stage is set. Click the 3-dot menu in the right and enable device frame. Next, choose Capture Screenshot from the same menu to save a device screenshot in PNG format.

Mobile Phone Screenshots

Capture Screenshots in Firefox

You can capture screenshots of web pages in Firefox as well without installing any add-ons. Unlike Chrome which can only capture visible region, Firefox developer tools can take a snapshot of the entire web page and automatically saves it in your default downloads folder.

Open Web Developer tools inside Firefox and, under Settings, enable the option – Take a screenshot of the entire page. Firefox will add a camera icon to the developer toolbar letting you capture screenshots with one-click.


The story, How to Capture Screenshots in Google Chrome without using Extensions, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 18/10/2016 under Google Chrome, Screen Capture, Internet.

How to Make YouTube Playlists with a Google Spreadsheet

A couple of YouTube videos, some simple Google formulas and a Google Spreadsheet – that’s all you need to quickly create a YouTube playlist. It will be an anonymous playlist, not connected to your YouTube channel, and may be a good way to bunch together multiple videos for easy sharing on WhatsApp, Twitter or an email newsletter.

Make YouTube Playlists with Google Sheets

To get started, open this Google Sheet and put the URLs (links) of YouTube videos in column A (one video per cell, starting with Cell A3). As you paste the video links in cell A, the column B gets populated with the video ID while column C will include a video thumbnail. This helps you double-check that the video URL is actually pointing to the intended video.

After you are done writing the video URLs, go to cell A1 (see tutorial) and you’ll find a link to your YouTube playlist ready for sharing with the world. If you add or remove videos from column A, the playlist link will be updated automatically. Simple. You can share the Google sheet with other people and collaborate together to build a YouTube playlist.

YouTube Playlist Generator – How It Works?

When you paste the video URL in column A, the REGEXTRACT formula uses the following regex to extract the ID of the YouTube video.

=REGEXEXTRACT(A3, “youtu(?:.*\/v\/|.*v\=|\.be\/|.*?embed\/)([A-Za-z0-9_\-]{11})”)

Once video ID is available, the IMAGE formula is used to create the video thumbnail for that YouTube video.

=IMAGE(“https://i3.ytimg.com/vi/”&B3&”/hqdefault.jpg”, 4, 80, 120)

Now comes the most interesting part – generating the YouTube playlist. Well, that’s a simple URL hack where we concatenate the video IDs with the JOIN() method and make a live link using the HYPERLINK() method.

=HYPERLINK(“https://www.youtube.com/watch_videos?video_ids=”&join(“,”,B3:B);”Link”)

Also see:  How to Copy YouTube Playlists

These YouTube playlists, generated on-the-fly, are not saved in your Google account. You can also build a permanent YouTube playlist where multiple people can collaborate with a Google Form and Google Scripts. Check out this project written by Martin Hawksey. Thank you Tor Halvor Solheim for the idea.


The story, How to Make YouTube Playlists with a Google Spreadsheet, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 05/10/2016 under Google Spreadsheet, YouTube, Internet.

How to Create Forms that allow File Uploads

Google Forms are probably the best service for creating online forms but they miss a few key features found in commercial web form builders. Google Forms do not allow file uploads, there’s no option for adding CAPTCHA in forms to prevent spam and, what may be of interest to the legal and retail industry, Google Forms cannot capture electronic signatures.

A school teacher may want a Google Form where students can upload assignments and the files are automatically saved to her Google Drive but in separate student folders. A company may want to build an online form where job applicants can upload their resumes in PDF or Word format. You cannot upload file attachments in Google Forms but there’s a workaround.

google-forms-file-uploads.png

Form with File Uploads – Demo | Buy License

Open this sample web form and you’ll find that it has all the fields found  in native Google Forms but a few extra ones. There’s a file upload button (demo), an area for visitors to e-sign the form (demo) and a CAPTCHA.

The form looks exactly like a Google Form and when you press the submit button, the files are sent to the form owner’s Google Drive while the entered data is saved in a Google Spreadsheet.

The form is integrated with Google Analytics so you can also track how many people opened your form, what browser they used and more. You can even choose to receive email notifications when people submit the form.

Add File Uploads to Forms with Google Script

The forms are built using Google Apps Script and you too can build one in minutes with absolutely zero coding. Watch the video tutorial to get started.

You’ll need to buy a license to use the form upload script.

Configure & Install your File Upload Form

The first step is to create the form. If you know a bit of HTML, you can design the form yourself or use forms.studio. This is WYSIWYG form builder where you can drag and drop fields to build your form. Save the form and copy the embed code to your clipboard.

Now that you have the form code ready, you need to configure the Google Spreadsheet that will store your form responses.

Open your Google Spreadsheet and go to Tools -> Script Editor. Click the forms.html file and paste the form embed code. Save the file.

  1. Go to Resources -> Developer Console Project and enable the Google Picker API. This will allow the form visitors to upload files directly to your Google Drive.
  2. Open the install.gs file and specify the Drive folder where files would be stored, your time zone and the email address.
  3. Go to Run -> Install to apply your configuration. You may have to authorize the first time you install the Google script.
  4. Go to Publish -> Deploy as Web App, choose Me form Execute the app as and choose Anonymous under Who has access to the web app.

deploy-google-form.png

We are almost done.

Click the Deploy button and you’ll be presented with the public URL of your form. You can use Gmail Mail Merge to send the form to all your contacts in a personalized email.

Things to Know – File Upload Forms

  • If you wish to restrict the forms to users inside your Google Apps organization, choose your domain under Who has access to the app.
  • Unlike Google Forms, file upload forms cannot be embedded on other websites due to some restrictions around web apps made with Google Scripts.
  • If you later change any parameters in the install.gs file, you need to go to Run->Install to apply the new configuration.
  • To stop accepting new responses, go to Publish -> Deploy as web app menu and click the Disable link. Or change the Who has access option to Myself.

The story, How to Create Forms that allow File Uploads, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 30/08/2016 under Google Drive, Google Forms, Internet.

How to Make Pixel Paintings with Google Spreadsheets

You may have been using Google Spreadsheets for budgeting and project management but did you know that the same sheets application can also help you create impressive pixel paintings in minutes? The Google blog recently published a story of two illustrators who created a bright and beautiful wall mural using Google Spreadsheets.

Marina and Mallory connected on Google Hangouts to plan and sketch out ideas, and creatively “hack” Sheets in order to make art: resizing cells into thousands of pixel-like squares, merging cells to create color blocks, creating vibrant color gradients with conditional formatting and cell values, and other cool things we had no idea you could do with Sheets.

The idea is simple. Each cell in the spreadsheet corresponds to a pixel in the painting. You compute the color of the pixel and make it the background color of the corresponding cell. Now resize the spreadsheet cells in small perfect squares and your spreadsheet will look exactly like the original artwork.

How to Paint with Google Spreadsheets

If you would like to create your own spreadsheet art but don’t have the time to carefully paint every cell manually, here’s a simple workaround for you. You can take any photograph, vector art, or any other image and use a Google Script to convert that bitmap image into spreadsheet art.

Watch the video tutorial  or open this Google Sheet for sample artwork.

Create Pixel Art with Google Sheets

It takes few easy steps to make pixel art with Google Sheets. You can use any free image but make sure they are 300 pixels or less for optimal performance.

  1. Open the Google Spreadsheet template and copy it to your own Google Drive.
  2. Go to the Spreadsheet Art menu, choose the Image Upload option and select the picture that you’ve downloaded in the previous step.
  3. The sheet will now parse every single pixel of your image and write the corresponding hex color codes in the spreadsheets cells.
  4. Select the “Apply Colors” option and the Google Script will set the background color of every spreadsheet cell equal to the cell value.
  5. The cells in the spreadsheet are rectangles whereas pixels are perfect squares. Select step 3 to resize every cell in the spreadsheet as a square.

And that’s it. Your spreadsheet art is now ready.

The end result may appear slightly pixelated (video) because we have used a small image as the source template but impressive nonetheless. You can download the Google Sheet as a PDF file or save it in Microsoft Excel format.

google-spreadsheet-art.jpg

Pixel Paintings made with Google Spreadsheets – Link


The story, How to Make Pixel Paintings with Google Spreadsheets, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 08/08/2016 under Google Docs, Software.

How to Embed a YouTube Video with Sound Muted

It is easy to embed YouTube videos in your website. You just have to copy the IFRAME embed code and paste it anywhere on your web page. YouTube does offer basic customization options – like you can modify the player dimensions or hide the YouTube branding – but if you would like to have more control over the layout or behavior of the embedded player, YouTube Player API is the way to go.

This tutorial explains how you can embed a YouTube video that will automatically play when the web page is loaded but with muted audio.

For instance, a products website may use short screencasts to highlight features and these videos will autoplay when the page is loaded. The volume is however set to 0 and the user can manually click to unmute the video. Similarly, if you are using YouTube video backgrounds, it makes more sense to embed muted videos that run in a loop.

Embed YouTube Player with Autoplay and Sound Muted

See the demo page to get an idea of what we are trying to do here. The page loads, the video plays but with the audio slide is all the way down.

This is easy. Go the YouTube video page and note down the ID of the video from the URL. For instance, if the YouTube video link is http://youtube.com/watch?v=xyz-123, the video id is xyz-123. Once you have the ID, all you have to do is replace YOUR_VIDEO_ID in the following code with that string.

<div id="muteYouTubeVideoPlayer"></div>

<script async src="https://www.youtube.com/iframe_api"></script>
<script>
 function onYouTubeIframeAPIReady() {
  var player;
  player = new YT.Player('muteYouTubeVideoPlayer', {
    videoId: 'YOUR_VIDEO_ID', // YouTube Video ID
    width: 560,               // Player width (in px)
    height: 316,              // Player height (in px)
    playerVars: {
      autoplay: 1,        // Auto-play the video on load
      controls: 1,        // Show pause/play buttons in player
      showinfo: 0,        // Hide the video title
      modestbranding: 1,  // Hide the Youtube Logo
      loop: 1,            // Run the video in a loop
      fs: 0,              // Hide the full screen button
      cc_load_policy: 0, // Hide closed captions
      iv_load_policy: 3,  // Hide the Video Annotations
      autohide: 0         // Hide video controls when playing
    },
    events: {
      onReady: function(e) {
        e.target.mute();
      }
    }
  });
 }

 // Written by @labnol 
</script>

Next place the edited code on your web page and the embedded video would automatically play but the sound is muted.

You can further customize the player by modifying the various player variables as commented in the code. For instance, if you set loop as 1, the video will play in a loop. Set fs to 1 to show the fullscreen button inside the video player. Internally, the player is embedded using the YouTube IFRAME API. When the page is loaded, the onReady event runs that mutes the video.

youtube-mute-video-embed.png

The embedded YouTube video will autoplay, but muted.


The story, How to Embed a YouTube Video with Sound Muted, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 15/08/2016 under Embed, YouTube, Internet.

Make Stunning Video Presentations with Spark Video from Adobe

Adobe Voice has long been my favorite digital storytelling app for making video presentations and photo slideshows on iOS device. All you have to do import your photos, type some text, add your own voice narration and a stunning video is ready for uploading on to YouTube or Facebook.

Here’s a video story that our 10-year old made with Adobe Voice. The background music, transitions and other effects are automatically applied by the Voice app to make your video looks both cinematic and professional.

I have all good things to say about Adobe Voice except that you need an iPad or iPhone to create videos. Well, until now as Adobe has quietly launched a new suite of web apps that, among other things, will let you use Adobe Voice inside your desktop browser. The suite, known as Adobe Spark, includes tools for creating video stories, magazine-style web pages and typography posters (think of Typorama but for the web).

And the price is just right. $0.

To get started, go to spark.adobe.com and sign-in with your Facebook or Google Account. This is mandatory because all your work will be auto-saved under this account and will also be accessible on your iPad and iPhone.

Spark Video offers a PowerPoint style layout. You have a plethora of cinematic themes to choose from and each theme has its own set of background music, transitions and fonts. Changing a theme for your video is as simple as choosing one from the sidebar.

Video Themes

Your slides can have photos and text or both. If you click that little ‘speech’ icon, you can alter the position of the photo on the slide or mark the main point that should be focussed during transitions.

You can either import photos from the computer or there’s a built-in search engine to help you search photos that are in the Creative Commons domain. You can also import photos from Dropbox or Google Photos. Spark Video automatically add the photo sources in the closing-credits of the movie.

Search Photos

Your movies stay forever on the Adobe Spark website and you get a permanent link to share that video with friends. Alternatively, you can download the raw video in MP4 format for uploading to other sites like YouTube or Facebook or publish as an iTunes Podcast.

Adobe claims no copyright over the video or embedded music so you can legally download the video and do anything. For instance, some people may want to remove the Adobe Voice branding that’s added in the last slide and you can easily do with any video editing software.

Export Video

Adobe Spark will make it easy for anyone to make cinematic quality presentations will little effort. The one feature that you’ll miss though is that there’s no option to import GIFs and video clips into your slides.


The story, Make Stunning Video Presentations with Spark Video from Adobe, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 19/05/2016 under Presentations, Tools, Internet.

How to Copy an Entire Folder to Another Folder in Google Drive

Google Drive, launched almost 4 years ago, is an online vault where you can store all your files and documents. It offers nearly all the functionality that you would expect in a file manager app making it easier for you to manage files from within the browser. You can move files between folders, rename files, differentiate them with colors, add text notes for easier lookup and more.

However the one piece that is still missing in Google Drive is the ability to copy folders. You can duplicate any file in Google Drive by right-clicking the file and selecting “Make a Copy” but this option is not available for folders. A Google Script exists to copy folders in Google Drive but it is complicated.

The option to duplicate folders doesn't exist in Google Drive

The option to duplicate folders doesn’t exist in Google Drive

How to Copy Folders in Google Drive

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were an xcopy (Windows) or rsync (Mac, Unix) like command for Google Drive that would recursively copy everything inside a folder, easily It should not only copy all the files and subdirectories but also retain the directory tree structure and maintain the shared file permissions.

Well, we are not sure if Google will ever provide an option to duplicate folders in Google Drive but there’s an open source web app by Eric YD that does exactly what you are looking for. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Go to labnol.org/xcopy and click the Authorize button.
  2. Allow the app to access your Google Drive files. The app would perform the copy operation directly inside your Google account without involving a third-party server.
  3. Once authorized, select the source folder using the Google File picker and specify the destination folder name.
  4. Click the Copy Folder button to begin the cloning process.

That’s it. The script will run in the background and copy files, one-by-one, into the target folder.  It will log everything in a Google Spreadsheet so you know what’s happening behind the scene.

While optional, the app can also retain permissions and in the case the copied files will be editable/viewable by the same people as the original files. The copying process would however take longer if you choose to copy the sharing permissions.

Also see: Add Files in Google Drive to Multiple Folders

Copy Folders to another Google Drive Account

Say you have a folder in one Google account (A) that you would like to copy to another Google account (B). While the app doesn’t support copying across accounts, there’s a simple workaround:

  1. Use labnol.org/xcopy to copy the folder in its original account (A).
  2. Log into account B, create a blank folder and share it with account A.
  3. Log into account A and move the copied folder into the shared folder.
  4. Go back to account B and remove the sharing permissions for the folder.

The Alternative – If you are not comfortable giving access to your Google Drive to another app, you can manually copy folders using the Google Drive desktop client for Windows and Mac. Go to Windows Explorer (or Finder), select the source folder and press Ctrl+C followed by Ctrl+V to duplicate the folder.

This would however not retain the original file permissions. The other downside is that Google Drive will have to reupload all the copied files whereas in the previous case, the copying happened on Google servers directly.


The story, How to Copy an Entire Folder to Another Folder in Google Drive, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 03/05/2016 under Google Drive, Internet.

How to Copy an Entire Folder to Another Folder in Google Drive

Google Drive, launched almost 4 years ago, is an online vault where you can store all your files and documents. It offers nearly all the functionality that you would expect in a file manager app making it easier for you to manage files from within the browser. You can move files between folders, rename files, differentiate them with colors, add text notes for easier lookup and more.

However the one piece that is still missing in Google Drive is the ability to copy folders. You can duplicate any file in Google Drive by right-clicking the file and selecting “Make a Copy” but this option is not available for folders. A Google Script exists to copy folders in Google Drive but it is complicated.

The option to duplicate folders doesn't exist in Google Drive

The option to duplicate folders doesn’t exist in Google Drive

How to Copy Folders in Google Drive

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were an xcopy (Windows) or rsync (Mac, Unix) like command for Google Drive that would recursively copy everything inside a folder, easily It should not only copy all the files and subdirectories but also retain the directory tree structure and maintain the shared file permissions.

Well, we are not sure if Google will ever provide an option to duplicate folders in Google Drive but there’s an open source web app by Eric YD that does exactly what you are looking for. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Go to labnol.org/xcopy and click the Authorize button.
  2. Allow the app to access your Google Drive files. The app would perform the copy operation directly inside your Google account without involving a third-party server.
  3. Once authorized, select the source folder using the Google File picker and specify the destination folder name.
  4. Click the Copy Folder button to begin the cloning process.

That’s it. The script will run in the background and copy files, one-by-one, into the target folder.  It will log everything in a Google Spreadsheet so you know what’s happening behind the scene.

While optional, the app can also retain permissions and in the case the copied files will be editable/viewable by the same people as the original files. The copying process would however take longer if you choose to copy the sharing permissions.

Also see: Add Files in Google Drive to Multiple Folders

Copy Folders to another Google Drive Account

Say you have a folder in one Google account (A) that you would like to copy to another Google account (B). While the app doesn’t support copying across accounts, there’s a simple workaround:

  1. Use labnol.org/xcopy to copy the folder in its original account (A).
  2. Log into account B, create a blank folder and share it with account A.
  3. Log into account A and move the copied folder into the shared folder.
  4. Go back to account B and remove the sharing permissions for the folder.

The Alternative – If you are not comfortable giving access to your Google Drive to another app, you can manually copy folders using the Google Drive desktop client for Windows and Mac. Go to Windows Explorer (or Finder), select the source folder and press Ctrl+C followed by Ctrl+V to duplicate the folder.

This would however not retain the original file permissions. The other downside is that Google Drive will have to reupload all the copied files whereas in the previous case, the copying happened on Google servers directly.


The story, How to Copy an Entire Folder to Another Folder in Google Drive, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 03/05/2016 under Google Drive, Internet.