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March in Review: Improved charting, expanded language support, and Apps Script updates

Another month and another batch of improvements to Google Docs. We recently debuted a new spell checker that gets smarter and grows with the web, and we’ve also turned on a few features that let you do more with Docs.

New charting options 
We’ve added a bunch of new ways to make richer charts in Google spreadsheets. You can now control the opacity of an area chart, set fonts to be bold or italic, and label sections of your charts along the axis.

These new features bring the number of charting improvements up to 30 since the beginning of the year, which is about 1 new feature every 3 days. Some of our favorite charts updates include annotations, error bars, a second Y axis, donut charts, and loads of formatting options.

OCR and spreadsheets support more languages
With Google Docs, you can upload PDFs and images of scanned text and have them automatically converted into Google documents using our Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Starting this week, this is available in four new languages: Hebrew, Hindi, Chinese Traditional, and Cherokee.

Language support got better in Google spreadsheets too. For Hebrew and Arabic speakers, sheets and cells now offer right-to-left support.

More ways to use Google Apps Script 
Google Apps Script is a way for developers to customize Google Docs and other Google products. Over the past month, we’ve made some changes which developers may find helpful, including:

  • Support for adding your own HTML to your script’s dialogues and pages. Let’s say you wrote a script that prompts collaborators to play a game when they open a certain spreadsheet. It’s now possible to include more sophisticated HTML, like a table in the dialog that you built. 

  • The option to programmatically set sheet protection in Apps Script. If you’re a teacher, you could add a script that automatically looked at all your spreadsheets and made sure that you’re the only one allowed to edit any sheet named “Grades”. 
  • A redesign to the Apps Script menus. Sometimes when you’re starting a new project you’ll want to use scripts that you’ve already created. The menu changes make it easier for you to reuse scripts that you’ve already built and to share your scripts with other people . 

Posted by Michael Schidlowsky, Software Engineer