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Ditch Your Laptop For Your Phone (Part 2)

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Although mainly a cloud service, you can now work on your Drive documents while offline

Slowly but surely Google Drive is becoming a vital tool in the Android experience. The service, which combines a cloud-storage system and Google's old Docs online apps, enables you to create and share word documents with work colleagues, as well as access your own files no matter where you are or what device you are using.

But cloud services are not always convenient to use. Although you'll have an internet connection pretty much wherever you are using your phone, and the generally small size of the docs you'll be working with won't tax your data allowance, there are times when you need to go offline. When travelling, for instance, and moving through areas of patchier coverage.

Fortunately, Google Drive has been updated to support access to your files while offline. You can set your files to be available on a case-by-case basis, edit them on your device whenever you need and the changes will be synced to your account to ensure the file in your cloud locker is always the most up to date.

With offline editing, you can create and edit Google documents and leave comments. Any changes you make will be automatically synced when you get back online.

With offline editing, you can create and edit Google documents and leave comments. Any changes you make will be automatically synced when you get back online.

1.    Pick a file

Go into the Google Drive application and tap the My Drive button. This takes you to the contents of your Drive account, including all the documents you have stored within it. Locate to the file you want to use offline and tap the arrow icon on the right to proceed.

2.    Make available offline

You will now see various pieces of information relevant to the document. You can rename it and also share it with other users. To make it available offline simply tick the button Available Offline. The file will download and will be shown in your notifications bar when done.

3.    View offline files

Now go back to the main screen for the Drive app and choose the Offline option. The files you have downloaded will be displayed here. You can access them within Google Drive for editing. Even though there is a New document icon on this screen you can’t create new offline docs.

4.    Edit your file

Open one of your offline files and start editing it, just as you would any of the other docs within your Google Drive account. Tap the pen icon to open up the software keyboard and to switch the document into editing mode. Tap the tick icon in the top-left comer to save the document.

5.    Sync the changes

Your changed doc will be synced back to your account when you regain a network connection. If your offline version of the file is older than the remote version, the app will tell you and prompt you to update the new one. Just tap the icon to complete this task.

Desktop quality web browsing

Browse the internet with the best web browser available on Android, Google Chrome

Despite having competition from various other browsers, Google Chrome remains the premier browsing app available for Android smartphones. The app itself has incorporated plenty of features from its desktop counterpart but has also developed its very own features that make it a pleasure to use.

In conjunction with the browser, you can also download several add-ons to improve your experience a little more. Apps like Chrome Marks help improve how the browser handles, and keep making it a great alternative to your standard desktop browser.

Despite having competition from various other browsers, Google Chrome remains the premier browsing app available for Android smartphones

Despite having competition from various other browsers, Google Chrome remains the premier browsing app available for Android smartphones

1.    Browsing webpages

Use the search bar at the top of the app to start browsing the web. You will soon see how speedy Chrome is to display webpages, including embedded images and videos. You can also favourite a page by pressing the star icon on the search bar you used previously.

2.    Get used to bookmarks

One of the best features of Chrome is being able to hop between different sites when you need. By using the bookmarking feature you can open up webpages and select the one you want to look at. To open your bookmarks simply press on  the square panel symbol at the top of the browser.

3.    Share your pages

Thanks to the sheer variety of Android apps, you can now share any webpages you come across through a variety of platforms. You can share to Pocket any articles you want to read at a later date, and any videos or other media files can be shared to your Facebook or Twitter account.

No need for a hard drive

Use Dropbox's cloud app when your phone's internal storage is running low

Dropbox

1.    Download the Dropbox app and create an account if you don’t already have one. After opening the app, you’ll have the option to automatically upload a selection of your biggest files to the cloud server. This process can take a few moments. The homepage will show all your uploaded items.

2.    Press on the folder icon at the top of the homepage to start uploading individual files. Dropbox seamlessly syncs with your camera, meaning that any photo you take with your device can be automatically uploaded to your cloud storage account if you enable the option within the settings menu.

3.    If you’re looking to upload a different kind of file, press on the Other File button at the bottom of the application. This will take you to a file management screen, from which you will be able to find and select what files or media you want to upload. Press the Upload button when you’re ready to proceed.

4.    The file will now begin to upload to your Dropbox account. Depending on the size and type of the file, this can take a few minutes to complete. Once added, you’ll be able to have access to that file whenever you need it. You can now delete the file from your phone’s internal storage.

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