How we made Google Apps Hacks

Computers & Mobile

I’ve been using Google Docs more and more, especially for collaborative work, both at Dorkbot DC and Make: Books. At first, I did so reluctantly, but I’ve become a real convert. So I was thrilled when we (Make: Books) published Google Apps Hacks. I’m learning all sorts of useful and fun stuff from this book. If you’re a regular Google Docs/Apps user, or you want to become one, you really should check out this title.

My cohort at Make: Books, Brian Jepson, and the book’s author, Phillip Lenssen, have written a two-part piece on how they went about developing the book in, you guessed it, Google Docs. Here’s Brian’s recent post on Hackszine:

When Philipp Lenssen started writing Google Apps Hacks, we made up our minds that we’d develop the book in Google Docs. A while back, Philipp wrote up Part I of the story of how we made the book. From Writing a Book in Google Docs:

Currently, my editor Brian Jepson and I are collaboratively writing the book (tentatively titled) Google Office Hacks by O’Reilly using Google Docs. I wanted to outline the process we came up with, and maybe it’s helpful for you too for certain needs.

I just wrote Part II of this story, and Philipp’s posted it to the Google Blogoscoped blog. From From Google Docs to InDesign:

One of the tricky parts for us was getting the chapters into InDesign, the book layout program we use for our books and magazines. I know where we were coming from – Google Docs’ HTML format – and where we were going to – InDesign’s tagged text format.

From the Maker Shed:

Google Apps Hacks by Philipp Lenssen – all about Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Presentations, and more!
Price: $29.99
Buy it in the Maker Shed

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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