Even if you’re already familiar with the multi-user capabilities, keyboard shortcuts, and other merits of Google Docs, there may be some useful tricks you haven’t heard of yet. From your built-in web browser to its transcription feature, here are 13 helpful tips that will make you a certifiable Google Docs wizard.
1. Open a new Google document in one step.
Opening a new Google Doc doesn’t require a lot of manpower, but there is a one-step process. Instead of navigating to a blank page through Google Drive, simply type “docs.new” or “doc.new” in the search bar of your web browser, and it will take you to a new document. (You can also open a new Google sheet with “sheet.new” or a new slide with “slide.new”).
2. Include a handwritten signature or an edited image.
In “Insert”, scroll down to “Drawing” and press “New”. Scroll over the “Line” menu and choose “Scribble”, which gives you a blank box to write your signature. It may not be your best handwriting, especially if you’re using a mouse or trackpad, rather than a touchscreen, but it’s definitely more efficient than printing your document, signing your name with a pen, and having to scan the entire page.
The drawing function can also be useful if you want to modify an image. Let’s say, for example, that you want to circle a certain location on a map: you can drag and drop an image (or import one of its files) into your new drawing and insert a shape or arrow from the options on the toolbar.
3. Keep the word count on the screen directly in your document.
For those of you who find yourself checking the word count after practically every sentence you write, whether you’re writing something with a strict word limit or just breastfeeding a slightly neurotic habit, spare yourself the trouble of multiple section visits “Tools”. and check the “Show word count as you type” box at the bottom of the word count pop-up box. You will see the word count in the lower left corner of the screen, and you can expand it to see the character count and other statistics. If you’re not ready to commit to a ubiquitous word count, you can still avoid the toolbar by pressing “Control + Shift + C” (or “Command + Shift + C” on a Mac) and the word count box will automatically appear. .
4. Use a keyboard shortcut to paste text without formatting.
Speaking of keyboard shortcuts, you can paste text that matches your existing text by pressing “Control + Shift + V” (“Command + Shift + V” on a Mac). That way, for example, a quote you’ve copied from an article written in 14-point Comic Sans will appear in 11-point Arial (or whatever your font has set). For similar magic to save time, see “Keyboard Shortcuts” in the “Help” menu.
5. Assign editions to specific people.
In the upper right corner of the screen, there is a small pencil icon that gives you the option to work in “Tip” mode, where everything you write is displayed as a suggested edit. Each edition has its own comment box on the right side of the document, with the option to accept, reject or respond to the change. If you’re collaborating with multiple people on a project, you can assign an edit to a specific user by typing “+” in the answer box and entering an email address; Google will send an email notifying the person that there is a suggestion waiting for them.
6. Revert to an earlier version of your Google Doc.
Google not only automatically saves your document changes as you make them, it also keeps track of all those changes. You can access previous versions of your Google Doc by going to “File”, “Version History” and “View Version History”. There, you can expand any previous draft to see the specific edits highlighted in the Doc, as well as when and who made them, which is especially useful if you are editing more than one person.
7. Search the Internet or search for a word without opening a new window.
You can reduce the number of tabs you’re juggling with two Google Docs hacks: the built-in Internet browser and the built-in dictionary. The Internet browser is located under “Tools” and “Explore” (or “Control + Alt + Shift + I” or “Command + Option + Shift + I” on a Mac), and it also searches your Google Drive. You can access the dictionary in “Tools” and “Dictionary”, or use the shortcut “Control + Shift + Y” (“Command + Shift + Y” on a Mac). You can also access any of the functions by right-clicking on any word or phrase in your Doc and selecting “Explore” or “Define”.
8. Create your own shorthand by customizing autocorrect functions.
Select “Preferences” under “Tools” and you can check or uncheck general preferences such as “Automatically capitalize words”, “Correct spelling automatically” and more. For a more personalized autocorrect experience, switch to the “Substitutions” tab; There, you can instruct Google to automatically replace any word, letter, or symbol with one of your choice. If, for example, you want Google to always add an accent to the me in Beyoncé, type Beyoncé in the “Replace” column and Beyoncé in the “With” column.
9. Reduce spelling check errors by adding words to your personal dictionary.
To prevent Google from continually registering certain unique words or names as misspellings, add them to your “Personal Dictionary,” which appears under “Tools,” then “Spelling and Grammar.” If a word is already marked as an error in your Google Doc, you can also add it to your dictionary by right-clicking and selecting the “Add” option [word] to the dictionary. “
10. Convert your Google Doc to a different type of file.
Do you prefer working in Google Docs, but your manager always asks you for Microsoft Word files? You can download your Google Doc as a Word document by going to “File” and “Download”. There are also options to convert it to a PDF, a web page, a plain text file, and more. Before sending it to someone, we recommend that you read it to make sure that the format is translated correctly.
11. Transcribe audio files with Google’s voice typing feature.
While Google’s voice typing capabilities don’t extend to decrypting an audio file that plays aloud on a speakerphone, the process is definitely easier than pausing the audio every few seconds so you can manually type every word. In your navigation bar, go to “Tools” and then “Voice Typing”, and make sure your microphone is enabled. Plug in your headphones, play your audio file and clearly dictate what is said – Google will transcribe it all for you. The feature can also be useful for people with arthritis or other disabilities that make it difficult to use a keyboard.
12. Enable offline editing.
Even if you don’t plan to be in a place without internet access in the near future, Wi-Fi or power outages may occur unexpectedly, so it’s a good idea to enable offline editing just in case. To do so, install the Google Docs offline extension, go to the Google Docs home page, press the main menu icon (three horizontal lines in the upper left corner) and select “Settings”. Then press the gray “Offline” button to slide it to the right and turn blue.
13. Take advantage of other useful plugins.
By choosing “Get Plugins” from “Plugins” on the Google Doc toolbar, you can search for plugins or browse the most popular ones from Google. Some of the top rated offerings include: Lucidchart, which helps you create flow charts, diagrams and more on your Doc; EasyBib, which automatically generates bibliographic citations in APA, Chicago or MLA format; and Doc to Form, which allows you to easily convert information from a Google Doc to a Google Form (Google’s platform for online surveys).