Working with Page Attachments, Images and File Cabinets

posted Apr 4, 2009, 8:43 PM by Brian Johnson   [ updated Sep 10, 2010, 2:57 PM by Brian Johnson ]



Attaching a file to your Google Site can be done in a number of ways.  One method, of course, is to embed documents, spreadsheets or presentations through Google Docs.  Each of these items can be selected directly from the Insert menu on your Sites Edit toolbar. 



Have a question, but don't know where to start? 
Check out the Google Sites FAQ!
 


For the purpose of this post, I want to focus on uploading and sharing files that do not reside in your Google Docs library.  More specifically, the focus will be on:
  1. What are your options for uploading/attaching files to your Google Site?
  2. Why would you use one option over another?
  3. How do you manage your files once they have been uploaded?
    1. How do you remove/delete a file once it has been uploaded?
    2. How do you replace an uploaded file with a newer version?
If I've missed something that should be included, please let me know!


What are your options for uploading files to your Google Site?

You have four basic options for uploading files to your Google Site:
  1. Select Image from the Insert menu.
  2. Use the Attachments feature at the bottom of each page of your site.
  3. Create a File Cabinet page to store and manage your files.
  4. Manage all attached files through the global Attachments feature

Why would you use one option over another?

  • Insert >> Image

PROS: With the Insert >> Image method, you can quickly and easily add an image to your site.  This is a one-step method that allows you to upload, select and embed the image all in one location.

CONS: The Insert >> Image method leaves you with relatively little control over the image once it has been uploaded.  The only way to remove images added using this method is to access the global Attachments interface for your site, which is less than ideal.

Recommended?  Despite the improvements made to this option with the addition of the global Attachments interface, I do not recommend this method.
  • Page-Specific Attachments

PROS: 
  • The page-specific Attachments option is available at the bottom of each and every page. 
  • Images added using this feature are available in the Insert >> Image dialog for the page. 
  • Once a file is attached, the upload date and latest revision information are displayed along side each file name. 
  • Each file that is uploaded to the Attachments area is available for use throughout the site.
  • As the site administrator, you have the ability to show/hide the list of Attachments for any (or all) page in your site.  Simply select the More Actions >> Page Settings menu option and de/select the "Attachments" option to select your desired display setting.
CONS:  As the heading for this section explains, files attached here are page-specific.  By this, I mean that these files will not show up when browsing for files (images) to embed in other pages of your site.  They are, however available to use on other pages if you know the URL. 

Recommended?  Yes.  Personally, I use this method quite frequently.  I find it just as easy to manage as a file cabinet page, and I have the ability to completely hide the list of attachments, whereas with a file cabinet page, I do not.

Another reason to make full use of page-specific attachments is the addition of a global attachments management feature in the July 2009 release of Google Sites.  With this feature, site administrators can add, delete and move files across the entire site from a single location:  More Actions >> Manage Site >> Attachments.  For more information, see the Sites Guide - Manage Site article.
  • File Cabinet Page

PROS:  A File Cabinet page can be used as a central management point for a group of attached files.  It is easily accessible, and can be accessed with little effort.

CONS:  File Cabinet pages cannot be hidden from view.  Even if the page is not displayed in your site's navigation menu, it will appear in the sitemap, which is accessible to all site visitors.

Recommended?  Yes.  A File Cabinet page is useful for uploading and keeping track of revision history for attached files.  It is also good for organizing files through the available folder structure.  (Although the folder management features are somewhat lacking at this time, they can be quite valuable for even the most basic file organization and management requirements.)
  • Global Attachments

As noted above, Google added a global Attachments feature to Sites with the July 2009 release.  This addition provides robust control over all site attachments from a single interface.

PROS:  The global Attachments feature allows you to upload, move, rename and delete any and all files that have been uploaded and attached to your site, all from a single location. 

CONS:  Due to the series of clicks that must be made in order to access the global Attachments feature, it is not ideal for managing files on a one-off basis.

Recommended?  Yes.  When you have a need to move an attached file from one location to another (within the same site), this is a quick and painless way to go.  It is also a great interface for performing site cleanup by deleting multiple attachments at once.



How do you manage your files once they have been uploaded?

File management can be handled in many ways, and each person likely has their own preferred method.  The purpose of this section is to explain the mechanics of the different options.  For example, how do you upload a new version of a document so that existing links to that document are not broken in the process?

How do you remove/delete a file once it has been uploaded?

Files that have been uploaded to either a File Cabinet page or a page-specific Attachments section can easily be deleted.  Files that have been uploaded to the site via the Insert >> Image menu option, on the other hand, cannot.

To remove files from a File Cabinet page, log into your site and perform the following steps:
  1. Place a check in the box to the left of the file(s) you wish to delete.
  2. Click the Delete button located at the top of your File Cabinet page.
To remove files from a page-specific Attachments section, log into your site and perform the following step:
  1. Click the Remove link to the right of the file you wish to delete
To remove files using the global Attachments feature, perform the following steps:
  1. Access More Actions >> Manage Site >> Attachments
  2. Locate the file you wish to remove
  3. Place a check in the box next to the file(s) you wish to remove
  4. Click the Delete button
Note:  This method is the only way to remove images that have been added to a site via the Insert >> Image menu option.

How do I upload a new document version without breaking existing links to the document?

As long as you ensure that recent updates to existing files are uploaded using the exact same name, links to your documents will be preserved.  Doing this will also create a revision history (with the Page Attachment and File Cabinet page options) for each updated document.

With the Insert >> Image method, you can also replace an existing image by uploading another image with the exact same name.  The only thing you will not see is the revision history that the other two methods offer.

Related Information