How to create a survey on Google Forms and share it with others to collect their responses

a person types on a laptop
Use a computer to create and share a Google Forms survey that fits your needs.

  • A Google Forms survey is a free tool that can be used for fun or professional research purposes.
  • You can customize Google Forms questions and answers in many different ways.
  • After you’ve created a survey using Google Forms, you can share it with others to collect their responses.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Google Forms is a free and useful tool that enables you to create surveys for others to complete. Since you can customize questions and answer options, it’s helpful for conducting research but can also be just for fun. Once you’ve created your survey, you can quickly share it through an email or link, or embed it into your website.

How to create a Google Forms survey

1. Go to forms.google.com and log in to your Google account if prompted to do so.

2. Click on the form labeled Blank – it’s represented by a plus symbol.

3. Click the field called Untitled form and type the title you want to use for the survey. You can also write a description of the survey by writing in the field directly beneath it, called Form description.

blank form in google forms
The blank form will have one pre-loaded question box.

4. Once you title your survey, you can add questions by clicking on the icons on the right side of the screen. Here’s a quick rundown of the icons and what they do.

google forms survey question tools
To add new questions, select the corresponding icon from the vertical menu on the right.

  • Circle with plus sign: Add a new question.
  • Paper with arrow: Import questions from another source (such as another Google Form you created).
  • A large and small T: Add a text box that includes a title and description without a question, such as providing additional context.
  • A square with two small triangles: Add a new question that includes an image.
  • A rectangle with one triangle inside: Add a new question that includes a video.
  • Two parallel rectangles: Add a new section to the survey to differentiate it from other sections.

5. Depending on the type of question you’re asking, respondents may answer in different ways, such as multiple choice or short answer. You can change the type of answer by clicking on a dropdown menu inside the question box and then clicking on the preferred answer type. Available answer types include:

dropdown menu for answers in google forms
The dropdown menu on each question box determines the type of answer respondents will give.

  • Short answer: A one-line answer that must be typed in.
  • Paragraph: A paragraph-length answer that must be typed in.
  • Multiple choice: Respondents are given multiple responses, but there is only one correct answer.
  • Checkboxes: Respondents can select multiple answers from a list.
  • Dropdown: The correct answer must be selected from a dropdown menu of options.
  • File upload: The question must be answered by uploading an external file, such as a document or image.
  • Linear scale: The respondent answers by selecting a point on a numeric or qualitative scale, such as a customer service survey.
  • Multiple choice grid: The respondent must mix and match answers from a grid.
  • Checkbox grid: The respondent can select multiple answers from a grid.
  • Date: The answer must be a specific date.
  • Time: The answer must be a specific time.

6. Once you add a type of question, you can write the question itself, as well as individual answer options. To do so, click on the respective field and type the text you want to use.

  • If you want to delete an answer, click on the X icon to the right of that answer.
  • If you want to delete a question, click on the trash can icon at the bottom of the question box.
  • To duplicate a question, click on the Copy icon to the left of the trash icon.
  • You can also click on the slider labeled Required to make responses required or optional.
  • For additional settings, click on the three vertical dots.
google forms survey questions required
Questions can be required or optional – make sure the mandatory questions are labeled as such

7. Repeat the process until you’ve created all the questions you need for your survey.

How to share your Google Forms survey

Once you finish creating your survey, you can share it with others in a few different ways. Click the Send button in the upper-right corner of the form to get started.

Email the survey to specific recipients

With the Email tab selected (first from the left), click in the field labeled To and type in the email address(es) of your intended survey recipient(s). If you prefer, you can include a message as well. Click Send in the bottom-right corner once you’re finished, and the survey will be sent to all of the recipients.

google forms share form
If you already have a list of email addresses for your survey’s recipients, emailing the survey is a convenient option.

Copy a link to the survey and post it elsewhere

With the Link tab selected (second from the left), click on the Copy button in the bottom right corner of the screen. If you want a shorter version of the link, click on the field next to Shorten URL so that a check mark appears, and then click Copy. From there, you can paste the link elsewhere, such as on social media, and anyone who clicks on the link can answer your survey.

google forms share form, copy URL
You can copy the full URL to share the survey or have Google Forms generate a shorter URL for you to share.

Embed the survey into your website

This one is a little more complicated, as it involves coding the survey into your personal website or blog. With the Embed HTML tab selected (third from the left), click Copy in the bottom-right corner of the screen. This will copy the survey’s code so that it can be embedded in the code of your website or blog, which you’ll have to do on the website’s host site (such as WordPress).

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How to download files from Google Docs for offline use or sharing

Commuter on bus looking at phone
You can download Google Doc files on any computer or mobile device.

  • You can download a Google Docs file on your computer by opening the document in a web browser and using the File menu.
  • Both Android and iPhone owners can download Google Docs as a Microsoft Word file or PDF, or make a document available offline.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Want to make a Google Docs document available offline? Downloading a document from Google Docs makes this possible. Once it downloads, you can edit or share the document as you would any other file.

How to download a Google Doc on your computer

The steps below will help you download a Google Doc on a computer running a Windows, MacOS, or ChromeOS operating system.

1. Open a web browser and navigate to Google Docs.

2. Open the document that you want to download.

3. Select File from the toolbar.

google docs download File option
Click File and hover over Download in the dropdown menu.

4. Navigate to Download. A sub-menu with a list of available document file types will appear. Select the file type you prefer to download.

Download google docs menu
Click a file format for your download.

How to download a Google Doc using Google Drive

You can also download a Google Doc through the Google Drive interface. Google Drive, unlike Google Docs, will let you select and download multiple files at once. The document will download in the Microsoft Word file format (.docx).

1. Open a web browser and navigate to Google Drive.

2. Select and right-click the document you want to download. You can also hold the shift button on your keyboard to select multiple files at once, then right-click.

google drive list of docs
Select one or multiple Doc files and right-click.

3. Select Download.

download menu google docs
Click Download to download a Doc as a Microsoft Word file.

How to download a Google Doc on your iPhone

You can download a Google Doc on an iPhone with the Google Docs app.

1. Open the Google Docs app.

2. Find the document you want to download in the list of available documents.

3. Select the three-dot ellipsis () next to the document that you want to download.

google docs mobile app
Tap the ellipses next to a doc.

4. Tap Send a copy.

google docs app menu
Select Send a copy.

5. You’ll see a prompt to choose between a PDF or Word document. Select your preference and tap OK.

send a copy options google docs app
Tap a format and tap OK.

6. A new menu will appear. Select Save to Files.

Send a copy menu google docs app
Tap Save to Files.

7. Navigate to the location where you want to save the file and tap Save.

save to files menu google docs app
Select a destination for the file and tap Save.

How to download a Google Doc on Android

Follow these steps to download a file from the Google Doc app on an Android device.

1. Open the Google Docs app.

2. Find the document you wish to download from your available documents.

3. Select the vertical three dots next to the document you wish to download.

google docs android app
Tap the vertical dots next to a doc.

4. Tap Download to save as a PDF, or select Save as Word (.docx) to save as a Word document.

google docs android save menu
Tap Download or Save as Word (.docx).

Google Docs will save the document to the Downloads folder on your Android device.

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How to use the strikethrough feature in Google Docs to indicate text that should be removed

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You can add a strikethrough in Google Docs text on a computer or mobile device.

  • The strikethrough feature in Google Docs puts a line through selected text to indicate words not meant for publication or a change of thought.
  • The strikethrough function is accessible through the Format tab of Google Docs in its desktop version.
  • You can add a strikethrough to text in the Google Docs mobile app through the Font toolbar option.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Google Docs offers features that are essential for creating memos, tailoring resumes, and editing essays. A useful tool to help edit your documents is the strikethrough function, which places a line through selected text. This allows the person who’s editing the document to show what information should be deleted before it’s published, or it can be used stylistically to show a change of thought while writing.

How to add a strikethrough on the Google Docs website

1. Open Google Docs in a browser and create a new document or select an existing one.

2. Highlight the text you want to strike through.

3. Click Format, on the menu bar at the top of the page.

google docs desktop strikethrough - format menu
Click the Format option in the toolbar.

4. Hover over Text to reveal another dropdown menu.

5. Select Strikethrough to add a line through the highlighted text.

google docs strikethrough feature in menu
Hover over Text and click Strikethrough from the resulting dropdown.

How to add a strikethrough on the Google Docs mobile app

1. Open the Google Docs app on your phone or tablet and select a document.

2. Tap the Pen icon at the bottom of the screen to start editing.

3. Double-tap to highlight a word or drag the cursor to select multiple words.

4. Tap the Font icon (an A with lines next to it) in the menu at the top of the screen.

google docs mobile app text highlighted
Tap the Font icon after highlighting the relevant text.

5. In the Text tab, tap the S icon to perform a strikethrough.

text tab in font menu - google docs mobile app
Tap the struck-through S icon in the Text tab.

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How to edit and delete your Amazon browsing history, and turn off tracking

father and son looking at tablet and laptop at home
Your Amazon browsing history shows every item you’ve looked at on the site, but you can delete items or your history as a whole.

  • You can access your Amazon browsing history, and make changes, on the “Browsing History” page of the site.
  • On the Amazon Shopping app, you can view and change your browsing history in “Account.”
  • You can also turn off tracking in the same locations as you would to clear your browsing history.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

If you’re trying to find a gift for someone who has access to your Amazon account, your browsing history can be a dead giveaway.

However, you do have the option to clear your history or delete individual items from it – as well as the ability to turn off tracking – through your account.

Here’s what you need to know to get it done.

How to delete Amazon browsing history

You can delete items in your browsing history one by one, or you can delete all items at once.

On desktop:

1. Go to the Amazon website and log in to your account, if necessary.

2. Hover your cursor over Accounts & Lists at the top-right of the page and click Browsing History in the drop-down.

Screenshot of the Amazon homepage
Go into your browsing history.

3. Your history will appear on the next page.

4. If you want to remove individual items from your history, click the Remove from view button next to the items you want to remove.

Screenshot of the browsing history page on Amazon
Select “Remove from view” to hide it from your history.

5. To clear your browsing history, click the down-arrow next to Manage history in the top-right and select the Remove all items from view button.

Screenshot of the expanded Manage history section in the browsing history on Amazon
You can clear your history by toggling this option off.

On mobile:

1. Open the Amazon Shopping app on your iPhone, iPad, or Android and log in, if needed.

2. Tap the profile icon in the bottom menu.

Screenshot of the primary screen on the Amazon Shopping app
Go into your profile.

3. Select Your Account.

Screenshot highlighting the Your Account option on an Amazon profile in the app
Select “Your Account.”

4. Scroll down to the Personalized Content section and tap Browsing History.

Screenshot of the Your Account page in the Amazon Shopping app
Go into your “Browsing history.”

5. You’ll see your browsing history on the next page.

6. To delete individual items, tap Remove from view.

Screenshot of the browsing history page in the Amazon Shopping app
Tap “Remove from view” to hide them from your browsing history.

7. To clear your history, tap Manage and then Remove all items from view.

Screenshot of the Manage menu for the browsing history on the Amazon Shopping app
Tap “Remove all items from view” to clear your browsing history.

How to turn off Amazon browsing history tracking

You should know that turning off browsing history tracking will also impact your Prime watch history.

On desktop:

1. Go to the Amazon website and log in to your account, if necessary.

2. Hover your cursor over Accounts & Lists at the top-right of the page and click Browsing History in the drop-down.

3. Click the down-arrow next to Manage history at the top-right and toggle off the Turn history on/off option.

Screenshot showing the expanded Manage menu for the browsing history page on Amazon
Toggle the “Turn history on/off” option to off.

On mobile:

1. Open the Amazon Shopping app and tap the profile icon in the bottom menu.

2. Tap Your Account.

3. Scroll down to Personalized Content and tap Browsing History.

4. Tap Manage.

5. Toggle the Turn history on/off button to off.

Screenshot of the Manage menu for the browsing history on the Amazon Shopping app
Turn off the “Turn history on/off” option.

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How to clear the cache on your Google Chrome desktop browser or mobile app

woman using laptop computer on couch at home with coffee in hand
It’s important to periodically clear your Chrome cache on desktop and mobile.

  • You can clear the cache on your Google Chrome desktop browser or mobile app via the “More” icon.
  • When clearing cache and cookies, you can choose a time range as short as an hour or clear everything entirely.
  • Clearing the cache on Google Chrome can help fix loading or formatting issues on websites.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

As you browse on the web, cache and cookies get stored on your computer. It’s unavoidable, and much of it is to improve your browsing experience.

Cookies are files created by browsers (like Google Chrome) and stored on your computer when a website requests them. Cookies store information like what’s in your shopping cart and authentication information. A cache, on the other hand, stores images and text from websites you visit so that the page loads faster if you visit the same page again.

Over time, cache and cookies can accumulate and slow down your browser. Therefore, it’s a good idea to clear them every once in a while to ensure your browser continues running smoothly.

How to clear cache on Google Chrome

Clearing your cache on Google Chrome can be done on both desktop and mobile in just a few steps.

On desktop:

1. Open Google Chrome. Click the More icon (it looks like three dots) at the top-right of the screen.

2. In the drop-down menu, click More Tools, then Clear Browsing Data.

Google Chrome screenshot highlighting the Clear Browsing Data option
You can also access the “Clear Browsing Data” window via “History.”

3. In the pop-up menu, choose a time range. Options range from the last hour to all time.

4. Make sure the boxes next to Cookies and other site data and Cached images and files are checked.

5. Click Clear data.

Google Chrome screenshot highlighting the Clear Browsing Data window
You may need to wait a few seconds after clicking “Clear data” before the process is complete.

On mobile:

1. Open the Google Chrome app for iPhone, iPad, or Android. Tap the More icon (it looks like three dots) at the top-right of the screen for Android devices, and bottom-right of the screen for Apple devices.

iPhone screenshot highlighting the More icon and History option
The “More” icon will appear at the top-right for Android users and bottom-left for iPhone users..

2. Tap History, then Clear Browsing Data.

Screenshot of the History page in the Chrome app
On the History page, you’ll see a list of the websites you’ve recently visited.

3. Choose a time range. Options range from the last hour to all time.

4. Make sure the boxes for Cookies and site data and Cached images and files are checked.

5. Tap Clear data on Android devices, or Clear Browsing Data on Apple devices.

Screenshot highlighting the Clear Browsing Data page
Tap to select the data types you want deleted from your mobile device.

Why you should clear your Chrome cache

In general, clearing your cache in Google Chrome should lead to a faster, more efficient browsing experience -particularly if you notice that pages are loading slower than usual or websites aren’t displaying the most up-to-date information.

It can also fix formatting issues on websites. In clearing your cache, you’ll ensure that when visiting websites, Chrome will save the most current files. Additionally, regularly clearing your Chrome cache can help keep your browsing data private.

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How to check your Amazon gift card balance, and reload your card

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Before you purchase something with an Amazon gift card, you need to know what your card’s balance is.

  • You can check your Amazon gift card balance on either the desktop website or mobile app.
  • From there, you can also manually add to your balance by selecting “Reload Your Balance.”
  • If desired, you can set up auto-reload for your gift card balance to plan for big purchases.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

If you’ve received an Amazon gift card, knowing your gift card balance is important, especially if you’re planning to make a big purchase through the site.

But you don’t have to receive a gift card from someone else to take advantage of the feature – you can also purchase value whenever you want to, and set up auto-reload to better manage your finances.

Here’s how to get it done.

How to check your Amazon gift card balance

You can either view your balance on the desktop website or mobile app.

On desktop:

1. Go to the Amazon website and log in to your account, if needed.

2. Hover over Accounts & Lists, then click Account.

Screenshot of the expanded Accounts & Lists menu
Go into your “Account.”

3. On the next page, click Gift cards.

Screenshot of the Accounts & Lists page on Amazon
Select “Gift Cards.”

You’ll see your gift card balance listed at the top of the page.

Screenshot showing an Amazon account's gift card balance page
Your balance is listed at the top of the page.

On mobile:

1. Open the Amazon Shopping app on your iPhone, iPad, or Android and log in, if necessary.

2. Tap the Profile icon in the bottom menu.

Screenshot of the homepage on the Amazon Shopping app
Go into your profile.

3. Scroll down to the Gift Card Balance section. You’ll see your current balance listed there.

Screenshot showing the Gift Card Balance section on the profile page of the Amazon Shopping app
Your gift card balance is listed on the profile section of the app.

How to manually reload your Amazon gift card balance

​​Manually reloading your balance prevents any automatic card charges. This is a good method if you don’t use this balance too often, or if you only want to buy a specific item. The minimum you can add to your balance is $0.50.

On desktop:

1. On the Amazon website homepage, hover over Account & Lists, then click Account.

2. On the next page, select Gift cards.

3. In the menu bar at the top of the next page, click Reload your balance.

Screenshot of the Amazon gift cards page
Select “Reload Your Balance” at the top.

4. Choose or enter an amount.

Screenshot showing how to select the amount to add to your gift card balance on the Amazon site
Choose how much to add to your gift card balance.

5. Click Buy Now.

On mobile:

1. Open the Amazon Shopping app on your iPhone, iPad, or Android and log in, if needed.

2. Tap the Profile icon.

3. Scroll down to the Gift Card Balance section and tap Manage.

Screenshot showing the Gift Card Balance section on Amazon Shopping app
Choose “Manage” to begin reloading your gift card.

4. Select Reload Balance.

Screenshot of the Gift Card section in the Amazon Shopping app
Tap “Reload Balance.”

5. Choose the amount and tap Buy Now.

How to auto-reload your Amazon gift card balance

You can set your balance to auto-reload on a daily to monthly schedule or when you hit a minimum balance of your choice.

On desktop:

1. On the Amazon website homepage, hover over Account & Lists, then select Account.

2. On the next page, click Gift cards.

3. Select Set up auto-reload.

Screenshot of the Gift Cards section of an Amazon account
Choose the auto-reload option.

4. Set the amount, the frequency (daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly), and the start date. Alternatively, you can set your card to auto-reload when your balance hits a minimum threshold.

Screenshot showing the auto-reload gift card sign-up page for an Amazon account
Choose how much money to add, how often and when to start.

5. Choose your payment method or add a new card.

6. Click Save Your Auto-Reload Setting at the bottom of the page.

On mobile:

1. Open the Amazon app and log in, if needed, and tap the Profile icon.

2. Scroll down to Gift Card Balance and tap Manage.

3. Tap Your Auto-Reload Setting.

Screenshot of the Gift Card Balance section on the Amazon Shopping app
Select “Your Auto-Reload Setting.”

4. Choose the amount, frequency, and start date settings. Or set your card to auto-reload when the balance falls to a certain amount, if preferred.

Screenshot of the auto-reload settings page for the Amazon Shopping app
Choose your auto-reload settings.

5. Choose your payment method or add a new card.

6. Tap Save Your Auto-Reload Setting at the bottom of the page.

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What is Signal? How the popular encrypted messaging app keeps your texts private

Signal Messaging App
The app Signal used to be niche, but has seen a boom in popularity.

  • Signal is a messaging app that uses end-to-end encryption to keep your messages private.
  • When you send a message, the only people who can see it are the recipients – not even the company that runs Signal can see what you send.
  • You can use the Signal app to send texts, photos, videos, and voice messages, as well as manage group chats.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Over the last few years, Signal has become one of the most popular messaging apps around. Favored by tech giants, cybersecurity experts, journalists, government officials, and many more, Signal has gone from a darling secret of the security community to a group chatting phenomenon.

Signal is known for its incredible security and wealth of features. On an internet where it seems that more and more businesses are trying to track you, Signal can keep all of your conversations private.

Here’s a guide to the Signal app, including why it’s become so popular.

The Signal app, explained

Signal is safer and more secure than most messengers because of a process called “end-to-end encryption.” This works by encoding a sender’s message in such a way that only the intended receiver’s device can unlock it.

Neither Signal, nor your phone company, nor the government can read your messages. That’s why it’s remained popular with journalists, government officials, and anyone else who deals with classified materials.

Signal app ad
Signal lets you chat securely.

However, Signal’s messages are only secure if both the sender and receiver are on the app. Otherwise, you’re just sending standard text messages back and forth.

If you prefer to communicate through Signal, the app has a simple feature to invite someone to download it. Blocking someone from contacting you through the app is just as easy.

Encryption itself isn’t a unique feature. Apps like iMessage, Telegram, and WeChat all do it to an extent. But unlike other apps, Signal’s source code is publicly available, so experts have been able to poke and prod at its defenses for years, strengthening it in the process.

Signal’s key features

Signal is similar to other messaging apps, but with a lot more security features. It’s available for free on iPhone, Android, Mac, and PC.

Android users can even set their default messaging app to Signal if they want to.

Signal downloads
There’s a Signal app on nearly every major system.

On a basic level, you can have one-on-one conversations with someone or start a group chat. In these chats, you can send pictures, videos, internet links, voice messages, and more. You can even send and react to messages with emojis, much like on Slack and Discord.

Signal’s beta version is testing new kinds of chats with forum-like features. Those include group admins, updates, timers for disappearing messages. For now, groups are capped at 150 people, but adding and removing new people from a group is simple.

If you’re concerned about someone accessing the Signal app from your phone, you can lock the app with the same passcode or fingerprint scan normally used to lock your phone.

Signal requires a phone number to join the app. To keep yours private, you can sign up with a Google voice number. Apple users will want to visit their privacy settings within the app and turn off “Show Calls in Recents” to prevent your history from syncing with the cloud.

You can also set your messages to disappear over time, or photos to disappear after a single viewing.

In short, Signal is an app that’s focused on privacy first, and gives you a wide range of tools to manage that privacy.

Barbara Smith contributed to a previous version of this article.

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How to view and delete your Amazon Prime Video watch history

senior man looking at laptop on couch at home
You can delete titles from your Watch History on the Amazon Prime Video website.

  • To view and delete your Amazon Prime watch history, go to the Settings page of Prime Video.
  • You can only view and delete your Amazon Prime watch history on a web browser, not the Prime Video app.
  • You can delete titles from your Continue Watching carousel by clicking the Edit button.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Amazon Prime keeps track of the movies and shows you’ve watched so that it can recommend other titles you may be interested in. It’s a helpful feature in theory, but if you share an account with someone that has different tastes than you, or if you watch a few episodes of a show before deciding it isn’t for you, it can lead to some irrelevant recommendations.

There’s a way to remove titles from your Amazon Prime watch history as well as your Continue Watching list. Here’s everything you need to know.

How to view and delete Amazon Prime watch history

1. Go to Amazon, and sign in to your Amazon Prime account if necessary.

2. On the left side of the banner at the top of the Amazon homepage, click the Prime Video tab.

Screenshot of Prime Video tab on Amazon homepage
Go to “Prime Video.”

3. On the Prime Video page, click the gear-shaped Settings icon in the top-right corner, and select Settings in the drop-down. You may need to enter your password on the next screen.

Screenshot of Settings option in Prime Video
Go to your Prime Video Settings.

4. Click the Watch history tab at the top of the page.

Screenshot of Watch History tab on Prime Video
Go to your “Watch history.”

5. To remove a movie or show from your watch history, click the Delete from Watch History button to the right of the title.

Screenshot of watch history page on Prime Video
Click the hyperlink to “Delete from Watch History.”

How to remove items from your ‘Continue Watching’ list

1. Go to Amazon Prime Video and sign in to your account if necessary.

2. Locate the Continue watching carousel.

3. Click the small Edit button on the right side of the list.

Screenshot of Continue Watching carousel on Prime Video
Click “Edit.”

4. Click the “X” button on any titles you want to remove. When you’re finished, click Done in the right corner.

Screenshot of Continue Watching carousel on Prime Video with "X" button highlighted
Click the “X” button.

4. Alternatively, you can hover your cursor over a title in the carousel and click the Hide this button, which looks like a circle with a line through it.

Screenshot of "Hide this" option in Continue Watching carousel
Click the “Hide this” button.

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How to write an MLA format paper in Google Docs using a template or other built-in features

young student using laptop and textbooks at desk
Google Docs is a great tool for writing MLA formatted papers.

  • Google Docs has all the features you need to write a paper in MLA format.
  • The basics of MLA format include double-spaced lines, one-inch margins, headers on all pages, and more.
  • Google Docs also offers an automatic MLA format template, if you don’t want to set it up manually.
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Anyone who has had to write an English paper has heard of MLA format. MLA – short for Modern Library Association – is a standardized method for writing academic papers. It lays down specific rules for what the page should look like, which font you use, how you cite your sources, and more.

If you’re writing a paper in MLA format, consider using Google Docs. It lets you customize your documents in dozens of ways, making it a great choice for MLA writing.

Here’s how to set up MLA format in Google Docs, either manually or with a template.

How to set up MLA format in Google Docs

MLA format has a variety of different rules and guidelines. Here are the most important ones, along with tips on how to follow those rules in Google Docs.

  • The font needs to be size 12, and written in a “readable” font.

Contrary to popular belief, MLA doesn’t require you to use Times New Roman, just a “readable” or “legible” font. That said, Times New Roman is a great choice for this, and comes installed in Google Docs by default.

You can find it in the font menu at the top of the screen, and you can change the font size with the menu next to it.

The font menu in Google Docs.
There are nearly two dozen pre-installed fonts.

  • Every page needs to have one-inch margins on all sides.

You probably don’t need to worry about this one – new Google Docs documents have one-inch margins by default.

But if you want to double-check, or if you’ve been told to not use one-inch margins, you can change the margins using the Page Setup menu or ruler feature.

  • All body text needs to be double-spaced.

There’s a Line & paragraph spacing menu in the toolbar above your document. Select Double in this menu to turn on double-spacing. If you’ve already written some text without double-spacing, highlight it before you turn on double-spacing.

  • Every page needs a header in the top-right corner with your last name and the current page number.

Google Docs lets you place both headers and footers on any page. You can add automatic page numbers through the Insert menu, and then double-click the headers to type your last name next to them.

Remember that they need to be in the same font and font size as the rest of your paper.

(And if you ever need to remove the header, you can do that quickly too.)

Showing how to place a header in Google Docs.
Your page numbers need to be in Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.).

  • The paper’s title should be centered one line above your first paragraph.

Google Docs has four alignment options, which you can find in the toolbar above your document. Click the second option – Center align – to move your cursor to the center of the screen.

  • Your full name, your instructor’s name, the name of the class, and the current date should be written in the top-left corner of the first page, each on a separate line.

Left align is the default alignment setting, so you shouldn’t have to do anything special to write in the top-left. But if you’ve changed the alignment, you can change it back using the alignment options in the toolbar.

An MLA formatted header and title.
Your header and title need different alignments.

  • Body paragraphs all begin with a half-inch indent.

Google Docs has a feature that lets you automatically indent paragraphs – but it’s probably easier to just hit the Tab key on your keyboard at the start of every paragraph.

  • Your paper should end with a Works Cited page, and each entry should be written with a hanging indent.

Once you’ve finished writing your paper and want to move onto the Works Cited, make sure to create a new page. The Works Cited needs to be on its own page (or pages, depending on the length).

The words Works Cited should be centered on the very first line of the page. You can center the words using the alignment options mentioned above.

Finally, list your citations in alphabetical order, and use the ruler to give each one a hanging indent – in other words, every line after the first needs to be indented.

An MLA works cited page in Google Docs.
Your citations should have hanging indents.

How to use Google Docs’ MLA format template

While you can format your paper manually, Google does offer an MLA template. This will let you meet most of the formatting requirements automatically, although you’ll likely need to change some of it.

To use this template:

1. Head to the Google Docs homepage and click Template gallery in the top-right.

2. Scroll down the templates page until you reach the Education section. In this section, click MLA [Add-on].

The MLA Add-on template in Google Docs.
Although it’s marked “Add-on,” you don’t need to do anything to enable it.

3. A page will open with a two-page paper already written in fake Lorem Ipsum language. Most of the formatting is there, so you just need to replace the pre-written words with your own.

You can find this template in the mobile app by tapping the plus sign icon in the bottom-right, and then selecting Choose template.

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