Creating Diagrams or Concept Maps with Google Docs in Google Drive
Many times, visual descriptions help us communicate concepts that may be difficult to understand through narrative text alone. Visual system diagrams or concept maps are two means of adding value to the messages you are sharing. A concept map is a type of diagram that shows various relationships between concepts. See the Wikipedia Concept Map entry for an expanded overview.
Using Google Docs is one option for creating concept maps. If you are not familiar with how to access Google Docs or how to create a new Google Doc, check out the directions in the Course Orientation for Creating your Google Account. Once you feel confident in these basic skills, the next step would be to create a diagram or concept map using this online tool set.
Have you updated your Google Docs account to Google Drive? If not, you will need to do so soon. As the Google Drive Help page says, "Google Drive is the new home for Google Docs," To learn more about Google Drive, visit Google Drive Help .
The following video offers additional information on updating your Google Docs document list to Google Drive:
The first step is to log in to your Google Drive account and click on Create and select "Document".
Once this document is opened, click on the Insert menu and select "Drawing" to get started.
A new window will appear on top of your Google Document with menus for a variety of different tools that you can use to construct your diagram-- including menus to create shapes, nodes, lines and arrows.
Here are some of the basic skills involved:
Add a Shape/Node:
- Click on the shape icon in the menu bar.
- Select the shape (or node) that you want to use.
- Click on the drawing window to display the shape in your document.
- Use the "handles" on the corners or sides to resize each element to meet your needs.
Add a Line or Arrow:
- Click on the line or arrow icon in the menu bar.
- Click on the drawing window to set the beginning point.
- Drag your mouse and unclick to set the end point.
- Add or change the end shapes by selecting a line. (If you have more than one line on your diagram, click on the select icon on the menu bar and then select the line you want to modify.)
- Add or change the ends of the line/arrow by selecting one of the last two icons in the menu bar.
- Select the text "T" icon on the menu bar.
- Click on the drawing window approximately where you want your text to appear.
- Type your text into the small window and hit "enter" to set this into the drawing.
- Select and move it around with your mouse or arrow keys to meet your needs.
You can also add text to an already existing shape by double clicking on the shape and then typing in the resulting text box.
Saving Your Work - Save & Close
Once your diagram or concept map is complete, you can click the "Save & Close" button in the upper right hand corner. This will embed your drawing within the Google document that you opened in the beginning. You can then add text around this drawing as if it were an image that you uploaded to the document.
You can click on the drawing to find the "Edit" button and update your drawing at any time.
Saving Your Work - Saving a JPEG Image
You may also want to add an image of your drawing to something else you are working on in another application. For instance, adding your diagram to a blog post. In this case, before you "Save & Close," select under the "Actions" menu > "Download as" > JPEG.
This option will allow you to save a .jpeg image of your drawing to your downloads folder on your computer. When you are writing your blog post, select this image as the one that you would like to include in your post.
Creating a Google Drawing on its own - without creating a Google Document
You can also create a Google Drawing on its own - without creating a Google Document.
The first step is to log in to your Google Drive account and click on Create and select "Drawing."
Proceed to create a Google Drawing as you would when creating a Google Drawing within a Google Doc.The method is the same - except for how to save your work.
Saving your Google Drawing
To save the drawing:
Your Google Drawing is saved automatically in Google Drive. If you don't choose a name for your drawing, it will be saved under the title of "Untitled Drawing." You can change this name at any time - either right away while you have the document open or later.
Naming your Google Drawing or Document
To name the Drawing or Document while you have it open:
- Click on the words "Untitled Drawing" or "Untitled Document"located on the upper left corner of the page. A new box with the title "Rename Document" will appear in the center of your screen.
- Type your choice of name into the provided box.
- Click OK. The new name you chose will now appear in the upper left corner of the page.
To change the name of the Drawing or Document later: You may want to rename a Drawing (or other Google Document)t later. This is not difficult to do.
- Sign in to Google Drive.
- Right click on the name of the drawing or other document that you want to rename.
- A list will pop up on your screen. (See example below.) Choose Rename... from the list.
- Type your choice of name for the drawing or other document into the provided box.
- Click OK.
Creating Diagrams or Concept Maps Using Google Drawing -- The Movie
Here is a YouTube video describing the basics of creating a Diagram or Concept Map using Google Drawing in Google Drive. The first part (about 30 seconds or so) is simply audio explanation, then the "video" part of the movie will come on and will walk you through the process of creating a simple concept map.
Uploading Diagrams or Concept Maps into a Course Blog -- The Movie
Here is a movie that will walk you through the basics of how to upload your Google Docs drawing so that others can see the entire diagram in your blog entry. Using thumbnails and pop-up windows allows your readers to see your entire diagram!