I do a lot of work with Google Docs and when I’m on my Desktop system, it’s easy to drag and drop files into messages, but when I’m on my iPhone 5 using Gmail, I can’t figure out how to add docs and files from Google Drive. Can it be done? If so, how do I access Google Docs?
Used to be that there wasn’t any easy way to add files from your Google Docs area to a Gmail message on iOS, though you could always browse Google Drive and share a file from that point, but that’s definitely different from composing a message then adding the file. Not just a matter of what order you do things in, it also means that if someone emailed you saying “can you send the Smith proposal?” you’d have to copy their email address, then paste it in while browsing your Docs archive. Clumsy.
The latest version of the Gmail app for iPhones and iPads, however, has a very elegant interface addition that makes it a breeze to add spreadsheets, docs, presentations and anything else you might have stored up on their cloud drive service.
Let’s have a look!
Easiest way to demonstrate is to just create a new message. You know the drill, tap on the pencil icon on the top right of the main Gmail app window:
Once you tap on the pencil, you’ll get a compose window:
See that little paperclip to the right of the Subject? Yeah, the placement is a bit confusing but that’s the “attach stuff” button.
And no, I’m sure that no-one at Google calls this little guy “clippy”.
Tap on the paperclip and…
You can see that it’s now quite easy to attach a photo but let’s focus on “Insert from Drive”.
Tap on Insert from Drive and you’ll get a very nicely designed view of your folders and files, completely with tiny previews:
Very nicely presented using the new Google visual interface design that’s coming to the rest of your Google experience.
I’m going to tap on the “what-to-expect-op-ed” document, which offers up a slightly bigger preview (that’s still impossible to read):
(of course you can zoom in to read it if you’re so inclined)
Looks good? Tap on the arrow on the top right to attach this particular document…
Now, since I’m such an extraordinary artist, I’ll also tap on “Draw Scribble” so I can whip out a quick piece of art:
Look fabulous? Oh yeah.
Tap on “Done” and…
That’s the trick! You can add multiple documents too, and I believe that it’s just a link to the actual cloud storage, so there’s no huge file size penalty. As for the included fine art illustration, well, you’re on your own for that one!