Translate a PDF using Google Drive

open with google docs

Do you have a PDF in another language that you need to translate? Google Drive/Docs makes it very easy to translate a PDF document. You can do this in two easy steps on your computer. (It doesn’t work on a tablet or smart phone).

upload documentStep 1: Convert your file to text

  1. Go to on your computer.
  2. Upload the file from your computer (click and drag or New | File upload)
  3. Right-click on the file (two-finger click or ⌘-click on a Mac)
  4. Select Open with | Google Docs.

You can now view your converted document. Note that some of the text formatting may be lost and tables, columns, lists, endnotes, footnotes, etc. may lose their format.

translate documentStep 2: Translate a text document

  1. With the document open, go to Tools | Translate document in the top menu.
  2. Type in a name for the document and choose the language that you would like to translate to.
  3. Press Translate to see a new document with the translated text in a new tab.

Keep a Record of your Edublogs blog

There are several reasons why you may want to keep an archive of your posts on an Edublogs site. These include:

  • you’re leaving a school and will lose access of your site
  • you would like to keep an archive of your year
  • You would like to collate a series of posts for your eportfolio

It is a good idea to export your Edublog site as an xml file. This will allow you to upload your posts to a new blog e.g. a free one at or (make sure that you register/login with a personal google account, not your work account). The xml file will contain your posts and comments. When you import the xml file into a new blog, the new blog will try to make copies of your media from your old blog; this means that the old blog must still be online. Note that this process sometimes fails.

Whether or not you’re successful creating a new blog that’s an image of your old blog, you may be interested in accessing your old blog as an ebook. It is not possible to “read” an xml file. If you want to read your posts without creating a new blog, it is a good idea to create an ebook from your posts. I have tested* the following sites with okay results (details follow):

  • saves in pdf format with good formatting; book in chronological order; includes images and links to online video/sites
  • saves in epub format with no media and little formatting; book in reverse chronological order; embedded media ignored. Limit of 250 posts.
  • saves in pdf format with images; book in reverse chronological order; embedded media ignored; 100 posts limit within the given time range; only includes posts within the last year.

If you’ve embedded media in your blog by uploading them directly to Edublogs, you may want to download them. This is also important if you haven’t imported your xml file into a new blog or if you had any problems copying the media into the new blog from the old blog. Since you uploaded the media to your blog in the first place, you probably have it saved on your computer (and have backed it up). If that’s not the case, you can use DownThemAll on Firefox. It’s the best tool that I’ve found for this purpose. Even if you’re a devout Chrome or Safari user, pull out Firefox for this task.


How to Download Media with DownThemAll

  1. Install the DownThemAll addon to Firefox
  2. Log in to your Edublogs site dashboard and go go the Media page
  3. For each of your media pages:
    1. Go to Tools | DownThemAll Tools | DownThemAll!…
    2. Go to Pictures and Media and press Start!
    3. The files will be saved in your default downloads folder. I suggest creating a folder and moving all your blog backup items (including the media) into that folder.

* I tested all three options about a year ago to assist teachers who were moving. I  checked the documentation to confirm process/features.

Use Operators in Google Search

I cringe a bit when I watch this video that I made in 2010 due to the voice, and my emphasis, but even more importantly, some of the information is no longer valid. Here’s a highlight of what’s different in using Search operators in Google now.

  • +word used to be a verbatim search where word had to exist on the page, but this was deprecated in 2011, and now it is a search for word on Google+ pages. You can still use “word” to do a verbatim search for either a word or a phrase.
  • ~ used to be  a synonym search and is now used for nothing

The video is still valid from 1:04 to 3:53. The only curiosity is that a search of define:iron gives many more results than define iron, and I haven’t figured out why that is. Answers welcomed.

Operators covered in the video

  • OR
  • verbatim/phrase search
  • * wildcard search
  • define

If you’re doing a Google search, and need help with the operators, take a look at Advanced Search.

Google Slides Update on iOS: Layouts and Themes

Last week’s (23/03/16) update of Google Slides on iOS included two significant new features. Users can now easily modify themes and slide layouts in the iOS App. Google Support provides the following steps for accessing the new features:

Add a theme

  • Open a presentation.
  • Tap More .
  • Tap Change theme.
  • To apply a theme to all slides in your presentation, tap a theme.

Change the layout of a slide

  • Open a presentation and select a slide.
  • In the slide picker, tap the slide you want to change.
  • In theIMG_0785 menu that appears, tap Change layout.
  • Choose the layout you want to use.


Note that the update still does not allow you to add an image as a background to a slide.

Try out the features and share them with your students.

Check out Document Outline in Google Docs

This month, Google added a new feature to Google Docs, that shows you an outline of your document. It works on laptops, and Android tablets and smart phones. Take a look. It could be useful for generating an outline for students from a sample work (teacher use) or for students to create an outline of a report (student use) as an initial step in the writing process.