Thursday 23 April 2009

Embedding a Spreadsheet into a Blog

Embedding a spreadsheet into a blog can be extremely useful. It's usefulness need not be confined to mathematicians and statisticians. Spreadsheets can be a great way to present information as it is concise and easy to read. In addition you don't need a massive amount of spreadsheet knowledge to build a simple one. Here is a simple spreadsheet about cats!

These are the steps for embedding a spreadsheet into a blog - note: Google improves things all the time so changes are possible but the basic process remains the same as described:
  1. Open a Google account if not done already. This can be done by invitation from a person with an account or from this page:
  3. Create Google as home page when browsing the internet. This is not obligatory but sensible. The best home page is Google's iGoogle. This home page allows widgets to be placed on the page that do things like translations, conversions of weights, reception of feeds, time and calendar, weather etc.
  4. Top left of the screen on Google search home page is a menu, select "more" (second level menu drops down) and click on "documents". After you have been to Google docs for a while the Firefox browser (the best) will remember this and all you have to do is type "docs" in the URL box at the top of the page. Google Chrome, another browser, does this even better. (You can get into Google docs through your Google account as well).
  5. In Google Docs, using the far left menu select "New" and drop down to "Spreadsheet" and select.
  6. Create the spreadsheet. If this is the first time I would just play around and keep it simple. As my example shows even a two line spreadsheet can be useful, in part because you can incorporate a chart as well that is based on the spreadsheet to jazz up the presentation.
  7. You've got your spreadsheet. Go to the top right hand side of the page and select "Share" and click on the down pointer. A drop down menu comes up and select "Publish as web page". There are two buttons on the new page. Click on the top button that says, "Publish as a Web Page"
  8. When that is done Google creates a URL for that document (a website in effect). You are given the URL and options below. Click in the check box "Automatically republish when changes are made" (this is not necessary for this exercise but handy for the future).
  9. Below the check box Google asks, "What parts?" and below that it has selected "All sheets". This can left as it is. At the bottom of the window is a link to "More publishing options". Click on this link, which takes you to:
  10. A fresh pop up window on which the top line of options says, "File format" and to the right is a drop down menu, in which their is already one option selected, "HTML". Open up the drop down menu and select the second option down, "HTML to embed in a web page"
  11. Then click the button "Generate URL". The code to embed into the blog comes up.
  12. Copy the generated code.
  13. The code can be dropped into you blog post. You do this in "Edit Html" mode if you are using Google Blogger. Of course the code can be used in any website, blog or not.
  14. I center align the embedded spreadsheet by typing in, before the code for the spreadsheet, the tag <div align="center"> and after the code the tag, </div>
  15. That is it. I will leave it to you to play with creating a chart but start by selecting, "Insert" in the Google Spreadsheet and select "chart". It is pleasantly easy. Embedding a spreadsheet into a blog is also pretty easy as you can see.

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