Google Docs has become the go-to word processing application for many people. However, even if you use Docs on a regular basis, you might not be aware of all its features.
In this article, we will explore 21 little-known Google Docs tips that will make your life easier and take your workflow to the next level.
1. Voice Typing
Google Docs’ Voice Typing feature is a little-known gem. With it, you can dictate your text into the document without ever having to touch the keyboard.
To use Voice Typing, simply open a new Google Docs document and click Tools from the top menu. Then select Voice Typing from the drop-down menu. You can either click the microphone icon on the toolbar that appears or press Ctrl + Shift + S (Cmd + Shift + S on a Mac) to start dictating.
Once you’re done, click the microphone icon again or press Ctrl + Shift + S to stop.
2. Add More Fonts
If the extensive list of Google Docs’ default fonts doesn’t quite suit your needs, you can add more.
To do so, click the drop-down arrow next to the font name in the top toolbar and select More fonts from the list.
This will open the Fonts dialog box, which allows you to browse additional fonts that you can add to Google Docs.
3. Offline Editing
While many people think of Google Docs as an online application, it actually has offline capabilities as well.
This means that you can continue working on your documents even if you don’t have an internet connection.
To enable offline editing, open a new Google Docs document and click File from the top menu. Then select Make Available Offline from the drop-down menu.
4. Google Docs Templates
Starting from scratch can be time-consuming, so we’ve created the Free extension for Google Docs Templates where you can access well-designed:
- Presentation templates
- Invoice templates
- Resume templates
- Job descriptions
- And so much more
Additionally, Google Docs provides a variety of templates that you can use for your own documents too, though the selection leaves a lot to be desired.
To access the template gallery, open a new Google Docs document and click File from the top menu. Then select New from the drop-down menu and click on From Template Gallery.
This will open the template gallery, where you can browse through the available templates and select the one that best suits your needs.
5. Track Document Version History
If you need to go back and view an older version of your document, Google Docs has you covered.
To do so, simply click File from the top menu and select Version history from the drop-down menu.
This will open a sidebar that shows you all the previous versions of your document, along with when they were saved and who saved them.
6. Insert Special Characters
If you need to insert a special character into your document (such as an accented letter or a symbol), Google Docs has a handy tool that makes it easy.
To access the Special Characters dialog box, open a new Google Docs document and click Insert from the top menu. Then select Special characters from the drop-down menu.
This will open the Special Characters dialog box, which allows you to search for and insert various special characters into your document.
7. Suggesting Review Mode
If you’re working on a document with other people, Google Docs has a few features that make it easy to collaborate.
One of these features is Suggesting mode, which allows you to suggest edits to a document without actually changing the original text.
To enable Suggesting mode, simply click on the pencil icon (which indicates Edit mode) in the top right corner and select Suggesting from the drop-down menu.
Now, when you make changes to the document, they will appear as colored marks that can be accepted or rejected by the document owner.
8. Clear Formatting
If you’ve copied and pasted text from another source into your Google Docs document, chances are it’s bringing along some unwanted formatting.
To remove this formatting and start with a clean slate, simply highlight the text that you want to clear and go to Format from the top menu. Then select Clear formatting from the drop-down menu.
This will remove all the formatting from the selected text, making it easier to apply your own desired style.
9. Insert Headers and Footers
If you need to add a header or footer to your document (for example, if you’re creating a letter or a report), Google Docs makes it easy.
To add a header or footer, go to Insert from the top menu and select Header or Footer from the drop-down menu.
Another way to add a header or footer is to simply double-click at the top or bottom of your document. This will open the header or footer dialog box as well.
10. Create a Table of Contents
If you’re working on a longer document, such as a report or an essay, it can be helpful to create a table of contents.
Google Docs makes it easy to create a table of contents, and will even automatically update it as your document changes.
To create a table of contents, go to Insert from the top menu and select Table of contents from the drop-down menu.
This will insert a basic table of contents at the current location in your document. You can then click on each heading to jump to that section.
11. Find and Replace Words
Whether it’s a simple typo or a more major edit, the Find and Replace feature in Google Docs can be a helpful time-saver.
To access the Find and Replace dialog box, go to Edit from the top menu and select Find and replace from the drop-down menu.
This will open the Find and Replace dialog box, where you can enter the text that you want to find and replace it with something else.
You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+H (for Windows) or Command+Shift+H (for Mac) to access the Find and Replace dialog box.
12. Insert Comments in Google Docs
If you need to leave a note for yourself or someone else about a particular section of your document, Google Docs makes it easy with comments.
To insert a comment, simply highlight the desired text and go to Insert from the top menu. Then select Comment from the drop-down menu. This will insert a comment at the current location in your document.
13. Compare Documents
If you need to compare two different versions of a document, Google Docs has a built-in tool to help.
To access this tool, go to Tools from the top menu and select Compare documents from the drop-down menu.
This will open the Compare documents dialog box, where you can choose the two documents that you want to compare.
Once you’ve chosen the documents, click the Compare button to see a new document with the changes highlighted.
Have you ever come across a word that you can’t quite remember how to spell? Google Docs has a built-in dictionary that can help.
To access the dictionary, simply go to Tools from the top menu and select Dictionary from the drop-down menu.
This will open the dictionary in a new window, where you can enter the word that you’re looking up.
15. Keyboard Shortcuts
While the various menus in Google Docs offer a lot of flexibility, sometimes it’s just faster to use a keyboard shortcut.
Some of the most useful shortcuts include:
- Ctrl+B (for Windows) or Command+B (for Mac) to bold text
- Ctrl+I (for Windows) or Command+I (for Mac) to italicize text
- Ctrl+U (for Windows) or Command+U (for Mac) to underline text
- Ctrl+K (for Windows) or Command+K (for Mac) to create a link
- Ctrl+Shift+7 (for Windows) or Command+Shift+L (for Mac) to create a numbered list
- Ctrl+Shift+8 (for Windows) or Command+Shift+F (for Mac) to create a bulleted list
For a full list of available keyboard shortcuts, press Ctrl+/ (for Windows) or Command+/ (for Mac).
16. Create Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts
Google Docs comes with a plethora of keyboard shortcuts to help you work more efficiently. But if there’s a particular shortcut that you want to create yourself, you can do so easily.
To create your own custom keyboard shortcut, go to Tools from the top menu and select Preferences from the drop-down menu.
This will open the Preferences dialog box, where you can choose between General and Substitutions tab.
You will see that there are already a few custom keyboard shortcuts created by default. To create a new one, simply type in the desired shortcut in the Keyboard shortcut field and click the Save button.
17. Create a Folder
Going to Google Drive and creating a new folder is easy enough. But did you know that you can also create a folder directly from Google Docs?
To create a folder, go to File from the top menu and select Move from the drop-down menu.
This will open the Move dialog box, where you can choose the location for your new folder. Simply click on the New Folder button at the bottom left and enter a name for your folder. Then click the Move button to confirm.
18. Explore/Research Tool
The Explore tool in Google Docs can be a helpful way to find information related to your document.
To access the tool, go to the bottom right of your document, where you will see an icon resembling a star in a dialog box. Clicking on this icon will open the Explore pane, where you can type in a query and see related results from the web.
You can also click on the different tabs to explore different types of information, such as related images, related files, and more.
19. Image Editing
Google Docs also offers a few basic image editing features. To access these features, simply click on an image in your document to select it.
Once the image is selected, you will see a toolbar appear above it with various options, such as crop, rotate, and more.
You can also change the border, alignment, and size of an image from the toolbar.
20. Add a Watermark
If you have shared your document with others but still want to maintain some control over it, you can add a watermark.
To do so, go to Insert from the top menu and select Watermark from the drop-down menu.
This will open the Watermark sidebar, where you can select the type of watermark you want to add.
You can choose from a variety of options, such as text or image. Once you’ve made your selection, simply click the Done button to confirm.
21. Interactive Building Blocks
Google Docs also offers a few interactive building blocks that you can use to add some flair to your document.
To access these blocks, go to Insert from the top menu and select Building Blocks from the drop-down menu.
You can choose from a variety of blocks, such as meeting notes, email drafts, product roadmaps, and more. These building blocks can help you save time by providing a starting point for your document.
When it comes to productivity, Google Docs is hard to beat. The word processing software comes with a host of features that can help you work more efficiently. The 21 Google docs tips and tricks listed above are just a few of the many ways you can get the most out of Google Docs. So go ahead and explore all that the software has to offer!