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Sites

Overview

TBD - Under construction

This page provides some instructions for some of the more common tasks necessary to manage a Google Site.

ORG-specific

The organization (ORG) has deployed this service in the following specific manner to address our requirements.

TBD - no special requirements thus far.

Getting Started

Prerequisites

If permissions for this service are restricted such that only specified individuals or groups can access the content, then you must have a Google Account and must be logged into the account to access the content.  Refer to User Help -> Accounts for help with account options.

TBD

Initial Setup

Creating

Permissions

Manager Tasks

TBD

Managing

If you're managing a Google SIte, it's either because you created the site, or someone asked you to manage the site.

Permissions - Owner vs. Editor

There are three fundamental permissions for a Google Site:  View, Edit, and Owner.  To determine your permissions, click on the 'Share' button in the upper right of the editing menu and look for your individual account or for your groups in which your a member.
  • View - to see page contents
  • Edit - to edit page / site contents - can perform many buy not all tasks for altering a Google Site.
  • Owner - the highest permission level.  Tasks which may only be performed by owners include:
    • Create, Copy and Delete a site.
    • Manage Site Layout (alter menus...)
    • Some 'Manage Site' tasks

Sign on to perform tasks

You must first be signed on to a site in order to perform any editing or management tasks.  Here's how to sign on:
  1. First you must be sign on to your Google Account (using the sign on button on any Google page, www.google.com, etc.).
  2. Go to the Google Site or specific page you want to manage/edit.
  3. If at the top of the page there's a control panel showing your Google Account ID and some buttons (Edit Page, New Page, More and Share), proceed to the next step.  If not, scroll to the footer at the bottom of the page and click on the 'Sign in' link, now you should have the control panel at the top of the page.
When signed in to a Google Site with Edit/Manage privileges, there are 4 basic controls:
  • Edit Page
  • Add Page
  • More (the rest of site editing)
  • Share (to view or alter permissions)

Adding Pages

To add a new page to the site.
  • It's easiest to start on the page that will be the parent of this page.
  • Click on the New Page button (icon is paper with a +), and in the dialog box
    • Name page - this name is assigned both the page title and URL.  You can change both later individually, but its easier to change the title, so set the name what you want for the page URL.
    • Template to use - the default 'Web page' works for most cases.
    • Select location - make the choice you desire.
  • Click Create
  • The new page is created and you're placed into edit mode.
    • If you want the Title to be different that the URL, you can change the title now (or later).  The title appears in the site menus.
    • You can add content to the site now, or just click save.
  • Next adjust the page settings.  Click 'More -> Page Settings' to get a dialog box.  You can make your own choices, however here are a couple changes that are typically done:
    • Uncheck Allow Attachments - we typically share documents using Google Drive 
    • Uncheck Allow Comments - The Google Site Comments feature isn't so easy to use, since an account must be able to edit a page to be able to add a comment.

Editing Pages

Edit a Google Site page by entering edit mode, and for most activities using the Editing Tool bar and menus Google provides.  In addition, the toolbar has an <HTML> button which allows the direct editing of HTML (note there are limitations, for example JavaScript can't be directly added in the HTML pane).

This section will grow into a collection of tips for editing specific elements in a page.

Here are some 3rd party resources for guidance on working with Google Sites:

Enter Edit mode

It's usually just one button click away...but if this is your first time to edit a page, here's how:
  1. First you must be signed on to your Google Account.
  2. Go to the web page you want to edit.
  3. If at the top of the page there's a control panel showing your Google Account ID and some buttons (Edit Page, New Page, More and Share), proceed to the next step.  If not, scroll to the footer at the bottom of the page and click on the 'Sign in' link.
  4. In the top control panel, click on the Edit button (the icon is a pencil).

Adding Content

Typing in new content works just fine.

WARNING - Copy-Paste content from anywhere can get you into a world of mess with formatting. 

2 tips to address this:
  1. After importing, highlight the new text and then use the 'Format -> Clear Formatting' command which will strip off any strange formats that came along with the text.  Then apply formats using your tools.
  2. Remove formatting from text before importing.  On a Mac, use the TextEdit application as an intermediate step (copy from email or Word into TextEdit (setup for plain text, not rich text). Then step 2 copy from TextEdit into the website.

Links - Create, Edit, Check

Here's how to create links.  Note, the link dialog box is a bit confusing:

  • if you have a URL in your text, highlight it and click the link button (the icon looks like 3 chain links), and a link is created
  • if you have a email address in your text, highlight it and click the link button, and an email link is created 
  • if you have anything else, like click 'here' and highlight the word and click the link button, you get the dialog box.
    • Site Pages - use this to select another pages from the existing site (always good, since if a page gets renamed, the link doesn't break)
    • Web Address - this is for any standard URL including email addresses.  So you can put in the info.
    • App Scripts - NA
Email links mailto:bob@fake.com can be enhanced with a relevant subject line by using this format mailto:bob@fake.com?subject=Web-inquiry-demo

Check, Edit and Remove Links
When you are in page edit mode click on the link and you'll see some controls beneath it to Go to link (to check if it works), Change and Remove.  Note, however, that sometimes there's a quirk that prevents you from checking a newly created a link, if you encounter this, the work around it to:
  • Save the page.
    • Then you can click on all the links to see that they work OK (URLs and email)
  • After saving, upon re-editing the page, then you're in good shape...
    • When you click on a link a small dialog appears showing you the link and providing 'Change' and 'Remove' options.
    • If you select Change it takes you back to the big 'Create Link' dialog box from above

Tables

A table can be added to a page using the the 'Table' menu commands.  This is useful to implement and edit fairly straight forward tables.  To implement table features beyond the basics (merging rows or columns, adjusting borders, etc.), you'll need to edit the table in HTML mode.

Here are some links to helpful resources:

Drive Files and Folders

Your Google Drive contents can be added into Google Sites.
  • Drive Folders - can be accessed in two ways:
    • A link to a Drive Folder - opens the drive folder as a new webpage
    • Embed a Folder gadget - embeds a gadget for the folder which displays the contents of the folder (a viewer sees contents based upon their permissions).
  • Drive Files - can be accessed in two ways:
    • A link to a Drive File - opens the drive file with Drive viewer as a new webpage (all file types, some can't be displayed)
    • Embed a File gadget - available for Google format files (Documents, etc.) a gadget displaying the file appears in the webpage (a viewer sees the file based upon their permissions).  Simple tools aren't available for non-Google format files, but some more complicated methods are possible.

Links to Files or Folders

A simple way to access a file or folder from a Google Site page is to make a link to the item.
  • First get the URL for the file or folder - go to Drive and select the item and click the 'Share' button and in the dialog box, copy the 'Link to Share'.
  • Next create the link in the Google site the same as any other link (instructions are in the Links section on this page)
Here's an example link to a document.

Embed Folders

The contents of a Google Drive folder can be presented in a gadget area within a Google Site page by following these steps:
  • While editing the desired Site page, select 'Insert->Folder' and use the dialog box to select (check) the folder from the list, then click 'Select'.
  • In the next dialog box, complete the display options as you desire (leaving the 'Width' filed blank results in 100% full width.
  • Use the gadget layout controls to adjust for how the box will be justified and appear in-line/word-wrap.
  • OK, save the page.
Viewers of the website see the gadget and the contents each viewer sees is specific to their permissions - all, some, or none of the contents will be visible.  Appearing will be the name of each file/folder as well as a description for the item.

Example:

Sample Folder

If a viewer has edit permissions for the folder, the bottom of the gadget includes a link Open <folder name> so so they can click and open the entire folder,  other users have access to the individual sub-folders and files by clicking on them in the gadget. To provide this page view to all users, the editor can also add an additional link beneath the folder gadget such as:  Open Sample Folder

Note the description fields aren't visible in standard Drive screens, since they appear in these Google Site gadgets, it's useful to add a few words to describe the folder or file.  There are two ways to do this:
  • From the Google Site page, the editor/owner clicks on the  Open <folder name> link at the button of the gadget, then on the page that opens, you can click on each description field and type to enter/edit it.  You can edit the description for multiple items on this page.
  • From Google Drive page, select a file, click 'More->Details' and a panel of detail information appears, Description is one of the items which you can edit here.  Repeat for each item.

Embed Files

Files stored in Drive can also be embedded into webpages as gadgets.  In this regard, there are two types of files, with different embedding tools.

Google native format files - including Document, Spreadsheet, Presentation, and Drawing.
  • From edit mode, select 'Insert' and then the type of file 'Document', 'Drawing', 'Presentation' or 'Spreadsheet' and use the dialog box to select (check) the file from the list, then click 'Select'.
  • In the next dialog box, complete the display options as you desire (leaving the 'Width' filed blank results in 100% full width.
  • Use the gadget layout controls to adjust for how the box will be justified and appear in-line/word-wrap.
  • OK, save the page.
Sample embedded Google Document

Test Agenda


Notes:
  • a website visitor sees the file based upon their permissions.  If they don't have permission, the contents are blank.
  • TBD - clarify the permissions needed for viewers to have the (Open<file>) link and be able to go into the complete file view/editor and have teh opportunity to download it.

You can either embed the actual document, which is visible according to it's sharing permissions, or you can use the 'Publish to the web' feature which creates shapshot (perhaps auto-updated) that can be linked to or embedded, and this published version is publicly visible.  For more information on this topic refer to Google Drive Help:  https://support.google.com/drive/answer/183965 and https://support.google.com/drive/answer/37579

All other non-Google format files - TBD

Embed a File gadget - available for Google format files (Documents, etc.) a gadget displaying the file appears in the webpage (a viewer sees the file based upon their permissions).  Simple tools aren't available for non-Google format files, but some more complicated methods are possible.

Inserting Google Items

The Sites editor provides convenient tools for embedding Google items using the 'Insert -> Google' menu area.  While many are straight forward to use, some may be tricky, so here are some comments.

Calendars

The Insert Calendar tool is handy, however if you are embedding a multi-calendar view there's no way to make the 'calendar selector' top right drop down list appear.  To get this feature you must use a different approach:
  • Go to you calendars page, calendars.google.com, and prepare the calendar view by selecting a calendar's Settings then in the "Embed this Calendar" section, select 'Customize Calendar View' and configure it to your liking.  Copy the HTML code to the clipboard.
  • then in sites, select 'Insert' and select HTML gadget (TBD confirm), and insert your HTML.  (Alternative - for the webpage, enter HTML editing mode and insert the HTML from the Calendar

Charts

The 'Insert Chart' tool can embed Charts from Google Spreadsheets.  You may select from the charts which already exist in the spreadsheet or build a chart from scratch.  If you're an editor of the spreadsheet, I recommend that you build the chart in the spreadsheet so it looks as close as possible to what you'd like to use in the website, and then go to Sites and perform 'Insert -> Chart' and do any final tuning.  Note you have the choice of embedding either 
  • Live data feed (so when the spreadsheet changes so will the site chart (handy if you want live data presented, but required that web viewers have view permission of the file).  Also beware, that future changes to the spreadsheet may break the chart (slightly or more - for example adding rows above the chart data will result in the colors of the data fields changing on the Site, but not the in the spreadsheet)
  • Snapshot - which captures all the data now, and prepares the object in the webpage (this is necessary when viewers may not have view access to the source spreadsheet)
If you chose to build a chart from scratch within sites, beware that the chart is susceptible to breaking easily.  Since the data ranges are embedded in the site gadget, any rearranging of the cell locations in the spreadsheet (adding columns or rows etc.) will put the site chart ranges out of alignment and alter/break your chart.

Excel Users:  If your source file is Excel, and you have prepared charts there, when the file gets uploaded & converted into Google Spreadsheet, the charts are preserved, however only standard formatting will be retained as Google spreadsheet doesn't provide as many options.  But with this in mind they still can be used, first perform the upload into Drive. Then from Google Sites use 'Insert -> Chart' and use the gadget's 'Edit Chart' dialog to clean up the chart formatting as desired.  This works for the first upload.  But if you continuing working in Excel rather than in the Google Spreadsheet, each time you upload a new Excel version, you'll need to edit the site to use charts from the new file.

Groups

The insert Group tool works for consumer Google Groups (with an address ...@googlegroups.com), but not for Groups within a Google Apps domain.  To embed groups that are within a Google Apps domain, there's a different gadget to use. (it is available at / or is it called TBD), OR you can copy the group gadget from another place where we are using it.  Then in the gadget settings page, change the fields for your group.

Link to User Help

There's more info about Sites on our User-Help/Sites page.

Learn More

Here are some links to Google Help and Learning for this service:
  • TBD

Additional Google Apps help and learning resources are listed on our Google Apps Help page.
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