Blog

Archive for Android

If You’re Not Texting With Android Messages for Web by Now, You’re Doing it Wrong

Google’s answer to iMessages for typing texts on your laptop will save you time.

Nothing is more irritating than bouncing back and forth between your computer and phone while trying to work and text someone. For years, Android phone users had no choice but to use other messaging apps if they wanted to chat with friends from their desktops. But if you didn’t know, you can use Android Messages on your desktop browser to type. Google calls this Messages for Web.

It’s important to note that your phone has to have service and your computer needs to be connected to a Wi-Fi network. (It doesn’t necessarily need to be the same network, though.) If your phone is off, your computer doesn’t have Wi-Fi or your using airplane mode, you won’t be able to use Messages for Web.

Messages is the default texting app for Pixel phones, but there’s also a dedicated app anyone can download from the Google Play store to use instead of the default texting app on non-Google Android phones. It’s easy to use and there’s no penalty from your carrier to switch apps.

As with Apple’s iMessage, Messages for Web lets you carry on conversations from your computer screen. Note that you might have to re-pair your phone with your desktop from time to time.

Make sure your phones’s Messages app is up to date before getting started.

Let’s do this!

How to set up Messages for Web on your computer

  1. Open a new browser tab or browser window on your computer (we recommend a window) and navigate to messages.google.com/web. A QR code will appear.
  2. Open the Messages app on your phone.
  3. In Messages, tap Settings (the three dots in the upper right corner).
  4. Tap “Messages for web.”
  5. Hold your phone a few inches from the QR code you see on your computer screen, making sure it fills the viewfinder on your phone screen.
  6. After you scan the QR code, your contacts will automatically populate on the screen, ready for you to start texting.
This is the QR code to scan with your phone.

A few important tips

Note that the computer you’re texting from won’t save your information unless you toggle on Remember This Computer under the QR code before scanning. If you don’t, you’ll need to pair your devices every time. You’ll only want to save your contacts if it’s a personal laptop or desktop to protect your privacy.

If you do text on a public computer (which is not recommended), make sure to sign out afterward. If you forget, you might get a notification on your phone letting you know that you’re still logged in. You can also bookmark the website so it’s easier to text when you need to.

More than texts

Once you have Messages fro Web set up on your computer, there’s a lot you can do with it. Start by typing in the name of a friend or group and begin texting. You can also add a phone number. You’ll receive texts on Messages for Web just as you would on your phone, and you’ll see a notification banner in the upper right of your screen (and hear a ding) when a new message comes in.

Messages for Web supports much of what you can see and do with Android Messages on your phone. You can send your friends dozens of emojis, GIFs, photos, videos and stickers. You can also enable Dark Mode.

You won’t be able to share your location, send or request funds with Google Pay, use voice-to-text, share contacts or attach a file. You also won’t see predictive text suggestions. However, the time you’ll save typing on your desktop while you work is well worth these few omissions.

Brown, Shelby. “If you’re not texting with Android Mesages for Web by now, you’re doing it wrong” CNET May 1, 2019

Posted in: Android, Mobile Computing, Technology

Leave a Comment (0) →

How to Import Excel Data Just by Photographing a Spreadsheet

  • The technology doesn’t work perfectly, but it can save you some time.
  • A version of the technology is coming soon to Excel for iOS.

Microsoft just launched a new tool inside the Excel app for Android — it’s coming to iPhones soon — that lets you take a picture of a spreadsheet and import it right into Excel. When it works, it means you don’t need to manually re-enter data into Excel, which is huge if you have a lot of printed data and can’t copy and paste the spreadsheet you’re looking at.

We tested it out and found it could be hit or miss. When we took pictures of really big spreadsheets, the kind that you’d probably most likely want to use this tool for, instead of having to re-enter all of that data, it didn’t work. There were sometimes hundreds of errors that had to be cleaned up.

But, when we took a picture of a smaller spreadsheet, like one with a few columns for a grocery list, it worked just fine. Our guess is this will improve over time, but it’s worth trying since it’s a free add-on feature for Excel anyway. Even if it’s not perfect, you can get some of the data imported with just a picture.

Here’s how to take a picture of a spreadsheet and import it into Excel.

Get the new Excel app for Android

  • Download the Excel app for your Android phone or tablet. It’s available on the Google Play Store. If you already have the app, make sure it’s up to date.
  • Create a new spreadsheet, or open up an existing one.
  • Tap on a cell in the spreadsheet, and you’ll notice different icons pop up in the row on the bottom of the screen.
  • One of the new icons shows a black and white spreadsheet in the background, and a little blue camera in the foreground. Tap that one.
  • Accept an alert that says Microsoft needs to run a cloud service to import the spreadsheet.

Take the photo

Now the app will open a camera viewfinder, which you should use to snap a picture of the spreadsheet you want to import into Excel. If you already have a photo, there’s an option to select a picture from your gallery, too.

It’s OK if the spreadsheet you’re taking a picture of is on an angle — the app will pick up on the borders of a table, or the entire piece of paper, by drawing a red box around it. Feel free to tap on the text printed on the paper in order to focus the camera.

Next, tap the circular shutter button to snap your picture.

Check the data

On the top half of the next screen, you’ll see a bunch of cells that are essentially a preview of the digital version of your data, and below that, you’ll see your photo. The performance can be hit or miss. Sometimes spreadsheets are imported without an issue, while other times they were jumbled messes of data.

Excel will let you know if it suspects there are errors, which you can move through and edit accordingly. Expect to have to make a few edits. While it’s not perfect, this will still save you a ton of time compared to having to enter in all of the data manually.

Posted in: Android, Mobile Computing, Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →