It’s always been easy to export individual documents from Google Docs. But if you had a lot of documents to export, it was a time-consuming task — the web app only let you export one document at a time.
Thankfully, Google Docs has added a batch export tool that allows you to export all your documents at once as a downloadable Zip file. There is a single download limit of 2GB, but given the small size of most Google documents, 2GBs should cover just about everyone. If you do have more than that, it will split the download into chunks, a small price to pay for an easy export tool.
This development was ushered by Google’s Data Liberation Front, the group within the company that is working with each individual Google web service to build easy tools for users to get their data out, either to back it up or to take it elsewhere. In an interview earlier this year, Data Liberation Front lead engineer Brian Fitzpatrick told Webmonkey this export tool was in the works.
Getting to the new options is a little awkward. The new “Export all” tool lives in the Export dialog box. That means you’ll need to first select at least one doc, then head to the More Actions menu and choose Export. That will bring up the Export dialog, at the bottom of which you’ll see the new “Export all your files” option.
If it’s just single documents you’re after, the old tools still allow you to browse through your documents and check which you’d like to download. But if you want everything at once, well, now you can get it.
Google Docs has also added a new tool that makes it easy to e-mail a document to anyone, even if they aren’t a Google Docs user. Just select a document, click “Share” and select “Email as attachment.” You can pick from common file formats (PDF, MS Office files, etc.) and then just compose your message.