5 cool Google Apps tricks for business users

Here are some of Google Apps' best hidden features -- including a solution to the age-old question: "Was that meeting time PST or EST?"

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4. Turn PDFs into editable text

If you've downloaded a PDF that you want to edit, or if you've scanned in a document that you want to convert to a Google Doc, use the Google Documents List API -- a tool that uses optical character recognition to convert high-resolution image files with text into text that you can edit.

To do this, log into your Google account and visit this site. Select the file you want to convert from your computer and click "Start OCR import." Note that your file has to be fairly high resolution -- 10-pixel character height is recommended. The maximum file size is 10 MB.

When your upload is complete, the document will load in Google Docs, where you can make changes to it. Depending on the quality of the document, some words may not translate. These will be highlighted in yellow and say "unrecognized text."

Text from a PDF, now editable in Google Docs
Text from a PDF, now editable in Google Docs

5. View your calendar events in multiple time zones

If you travel frequently or hold offices in multiple time zones, you can configure your Google Calendar to preview according to more than one time zone, eliminating confusion and frantic time calculations before meetings.

To enable this, visit the "Settings" tab in your Google Calendar. Under "Your current time zone" choose to add an additional one, and label it appropriately. When you visit another time zone, visit this page again and click the "Swap" button on the right. This will configure your calendar so that all meetings and appointments will appear in your current time zone's time.

Adding another time zone
Adding another time zone

Staff Writer Kristin Burnham covers consumer Web and social technologies for CIO.com. She writes frequently on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google. You can follow her on Twitter: @kmburnham.

This story, "5 cool Google Apps tricks for business users" was originally published by CIO.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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