Tag Archives: Google

Embeddable Images in Google Drive

Issue: “I am using a third-party web tool that allows me to add images, if I provide a URL for the image. If I grab a URL from another website, it works fine. But, I have some of my own images. I want to upload them to Google Drive and use them. But, when I set them to “Anyone with the link” and get the URL, they still don’t work. The third-party tool tells me it can’t use that URL. Can I use Google Drive to store those images?”

Yes, you can.

This post does a great job of explaining a manual process you can use for making this work.

But, I thought it might be fun to try to use the power of Google Sheets to do some of this work automatically.

I have created a Google Sheet (make your own copy) that speeds up that conversion time. Open the Sheet, paste in the URL you get from “Copy link” in Drive, and the next two columns will give you the URL to use in your third-party application, and a thumbnail version of the image! If you don’t get the thumbnail image, then the modified URL is not working.

The technical side:

The URL for a copied link will look something like this:

The URL for the “embeddable” version of the same image will look something like this:

The same “file id” string appears in both, so it was just a matter of extracting that text and inserting it in the proper place of the embeddable format. The power of Google Sheets does it for you!

So if you are using a web tool that offers the ability to embed content from a public URL, and you want to use your own Google Drive folder to store that content, make a copy of this Sheet and give this a shot!


I had the honor of being chosen to present at the 2014 “Connect For Success” conference for Ohio educators, sponsored by Battelle for Kids.  The event was held at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, which is attached to the Greater Columbus Convention Center.  About a thousand educators from around the state gathered to discuss a variety of topics.

Probably the two worst things that can happen when I’m preparing to present my “Google Tools to Increase Access to the Curriculum” workshop are: 1) a spotty Internet connection for the presenter, and 2) Google service outages.

I got both.

Session over, right?  Score one for the anti-tech crowd who says “But if the tech fails, you’re left with nothing” right? Wrong!

The rise of cloud computing has not made me forget my old mantra, “If it’s important, it’s worth having a backup.”  I used the backup version of my presentation on my laptop, and video clips of the live demos that I had originally intended to do.  Was it optimal? No.  But it was serviceable, and allowed me to continue with my presentation.

It served as a very real reminder that the real impact of such presentations is not what happens inside the breakout room, but the changes in instructional practice and approach that occur “back home”.

Despite the ugly technology issues, the session went well. There was good discussion, and some great questions.  There was a fresh look at the first step in education for students with unique challenges, thinking about fixing the curriculum before trying to fix the kid.

And that shift of mindset is better than anything the technology can do.