There was an article a few years ago on Facebook News Feed that stated how people were using paper ketchup cups incorrectly.
To maximize ketchup volume, you’re supposed to fan out the sides of the cup. Who’d have guessed? Ok, We recently extended the spirit of adventure to something else we enjoy: Google Docs. And what we discovered was equally life-changing.
You may have been using Google Docs for years, but there are probably some useful features you have yet to discover, just as we did. Did you know, for example, that you can look at a document’s entire revision history and see what was changed and when?
Here are 21 cool features in Google Docs that most people aren’t aware of.
- Add Fonts
- Add Templates
- Sidebar Table of Contents
- Adding or removing headers
- Remove Formatting
- Make a folder.
- The Research Instrument
- Mode of Suggestion
- Notes on Footnotes
- Locate and Replace
- Revision of History
- Voice Typing
- Keyboard shortcuts
- Make Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts
- Calls to Conferences
- Image editing
- Buttons for Changing Language Accents
- Create a new page
- Put today’s date on it.
1. Add fonts
When you build a new text, Google Docs provides you with a dropdown list of nearly two dozen native fonts from which to choose using the top editing toolbar’s dropdown list. However, in the same dropdown, you’ll find hundreds more fonts and typefaces.
Open your document and press the fonts dropdown third box from the left on your editing toolbar to add more Google Doc fonts. Arial should be your default font.
When your starting font list appears, press the first choice down, “More fonts…”, This will bring up a window with more fonts like below
Check the fonts you want to add to your starting dropdown list of fonts in the window that appears. Then, at the bottom, click “OK.” Using the “Show” dropdown, you can also look for new fonts based on their general theme and appearance.
Your selected fonts should appear in the fonts dropdown when you return to your document view.
2. Add templates
Why start from scratch when a blueprint is available? You can bet there’s a template for whatever you’re using Google Docs for: writing your resume, drafting a project plan, crafting a business message, formalising meeting notes, or designing a brochure. In reality, models exist for almost every business need. There are several models to choose from in each group.
Although it isn’t exactly covered, this function is often ignored. Many of these models can be found at the top of your Google Docs homepage. To see all of the choices, click More in the top right corner.
3. Sidebar Table of Contents
Are you working on a long document with a lot of subsections that readers may want to skip over? The “Table of Contents” add-on produces a navigation sidebar for you automatically. To jump from one section of your document to the next, simply click through the headers and subheaders in the sidebar. It’s a little sluggish if your document is really long, but it gets the job done — and it’s always preferable to scrolling.
To find the add-on, open your document and choose Add-ons from the top-level menu. Choose “Get add-ons…” and type “Table of Contents” into the search box.
4. Adding or Removing Headers
When making a Google Doc with several pages, headers and footers come in handy. On every page, you can create a header that includes the document title, each page number, or both.
How to Make a Header
Double-click on the very top of one of your pages in Google Docs to start typing your header text. You can also use the top navigation toolbar to pick “Insert,” then hover your cursor over “Header & page number” to bring up a slide-out menu that enables you to order your pages by increasing numerals.
Using either process, you’ll create a header that looks like the screenshot below. This will appear on every page.
How to Get Rid of a Header
However, once you’ve built this header, and if you want to delete it, Simply delete the text from the header, then click out of the header space and back into the document’s body text to remove a header from Google Docs.
To Adjust the Size of the Header
Adjust the margins of the page to reduce the size of a header from a Google Doc and use the extra space for more body text. To do so, go to your top navigation bar and select “File,” then “page setup...”
You can limit the page margins to a custom size or use a preset “Paper size” from the options. This will allow you to adjust the header margins to your preference.
5. Remove formatting
If you’ve ever copied text from another source and pasted it into a Google Doc, you’ve probably run into formatting problems. It can also happen for a number of other causes. Instead of manually editing the text to suit it into the correct formatting, simply highlight it and select Format > Clear Formatting from the toolbar. The foreign text will be formatted to match the rest of your paper.
6. Make a Folder
Since Google Drive stores your documents in the cloud, it’s common for many people to use the same account to share files. This can make it difficult to arrange your own records over time. Create a Google Docs folder just for you or your team to keep everything organised and secure.
Click the blue “New” button on the top left of your Drive account to create a new folder for your Google Docs.
Pick “Folder” from the drop-down menu and give your folder a name you’ll know, this folder will appear in the “Folders” section of “My Drive.” as shown below.
7. The Research Instrument
For someone writing something in Google Docs that needs online analysis, the Research tool is a godsend. What is the reason for this? It helps you to conduct online research and reference details and photographs without ever leaving the document. That means you won’t have to waste time switching between tabs.
- On a computer, you can use one of three methods to access the Research tool:
- Open your document and choose Research from the dropdown menu in the Tools menu at the top of your page.
- Pick Research from the context menu when you right-click on a particular phrase.
- Use the Ctrl + Cmd + Shift + I (Mac) or Ctrl + Alt + Shift + I (Windows) keyboard shortcut (PC).
Here’s what it looks like when I right-click the phrase “Welsh corgi” in my document:
When I choose “Research ‘Welsh Corgi,'” the Research tool appears on the right-hand side of my document. It looks like this:
When you first open the Research tool, it will display topics that are relevant to what it believes you’re working on based on what you’ve already published. You can either click on the suggested topics to learn more about them, or type your own search words into the search bar.
When you search a keyword, you can also specify the type of content you want the tool to return. To see the various types of information for that subject, use the dropdown menu next to the search bar.
According to Google Support, each form has the following meanings:
- Everything: Text and images from any source relevant to your subject.
- Images: Images from the internet that are relevant to your subject.
- Scholar: Educative material relevant to your subject that you can read, save, or reference in a footnote.
- Quotes: You can include quotes relevant to your subject in your file.
- Definitions, synonyms, and antonyms applicable to your subject in the dictionary.
- Personal: Papers, spreadsheets, presentations, and images that you can open, cite, or connect to from your file.
- Tables: Your topic’s data is displayed in tables that you can open, cite, or export.
This tool is currently only available for android devices and for computers
8. Mode of Suggestion
Although it’s nice to be able to edit and make changes in a text, there are times when you just want to suggest changes rather than make them. That’s where Google Docs’ “Suggesting” feature comes in handy.
It’s similar to Microsoft Word’s Comments feature. Toggle between “Editing” and “Suggesting” modes by selecting “Suggesting” from the pencil icon at the top right of an open document.
Anything you add, erase, or otherwise modify after that will appear as coloured marks in the text, along with information on the righthand side including the name of who is suggesting and a timestamp.
If you want to ask questions about a Google Doc you’re working on, make notes in it, or highlight improvements you’ve made, you can leave comments directly in the text. People will respond to the comments and carry on a discussion, so they can serve as a conversation line. When you’re done, you can close the comment thread. You can edit or remove your comments, as well as the comments of others, at any time if you own the text.
To leave a comment, select the text or picture you’d like to comment on and press Enter. Then, from the menu at the top of your screen, select Insert, and then Comment from the dropdown menu.
On the right-hand side of your screen, a blank comment will appear.
People can be tagged in comments.
Want to make a statement on a document to get the attention of a particular person? By tagging them in your article, you can do so. All you have to do is type their name or email address after adding a @ or + symbol. Google Docs will provide you with a few choices based on your Gmail contacts, and once you’ve submitted your reply, it will send an email to the person you listed.
You’ll be asked to select permission levels for that person if they don’t already have access to the text.
10. Notes on Footnotes
Footnotes are a simple and fast way to add information to your Google Docs, but few people are aware of them. To add a footnote, place the cursor where you want the footnote to appear in the document and select Insert > Footnote. Simply type whatever you want into your footnote and save the text by clicking on it.
11. Locate and replace
Have you ever wanted to find and fix several instances of an error in a text document at the same time? With this handy shortcut, Google has heeded your call.
If you’ve ever used Microsoft Word’s “Find and Replace,” you’re in luck: Google Docs makes it just as easy.
Select “Edit” in the top navigation bar and then “Find and Replace” at the bottom of the dropdown menu to find something unique in your text. You can also press Command + F (or Ctrl + F on a Windows keyboard) and then select the “…” icon in the box that appears in the top right corner of your Google Doc.
Any method will open the window below, where you can type in the text you want to find and substitute it with the corrected version. Click “Replace all” if the error occurs more than once
12. Revision of history
When it comes to content revision, have you ever wanted to see all of the changes you (or anyone else) made to a Google Doc? Have you ever wished you could go back in time and return to a previous version of your document? You can do so thanks to the Revision History functionality. And it’s fantastic.
To view the revision history, simply open the document and select File > View Revision History. On the right-hand side of your computer, a panel will appear with a summary of who made changes and when. Tap the comprehensive revisions button below the summary list for a more detailed look at the changes.
13. Voice Typing
Is Google Chrome your primary browser? Do you have a functioning microphone, either built-in or externally connected to your device? Then you can use only your voice to “type” in a Google Doc. Simply say the punctuation mark’s name out loud, such as “period,” “comma,” “exclamation point,” or “question mark.” Say “new line” or “new paragraph” out loud to start a new line or paragraph.
Open a document and select Tools from the menu at the top of the page to begin voice typing. From the dropdown menu, choose Voice typing… To begin recording, click the microphone or press Cmd + Shift + S (on a Mac) or Ctrl + Shift + S (on a PC) when you’re ready to talk your text.
Want to use your phone to voice type in Google Docs? While voice typing is only possible on computers, many iOS and Android mobile devices come with built-in microphones that can be used with a text.
14. Keyboard shortcuts
Knowing the keyboard shortcuts for any programme you’re using is extremely rewarding, and Google Docs has a plethora of them to choose from. Many of them are the same as in other programmes, such as copying with Cmd + C (Mac) or Ctrl + C (PC), or bolding with Cmd + B (Mac) or Ctrl + B (PC). It does, however, have a few standouts. Here are some of our personal favourites:
- Create a new document by pressing Shift + T.
- Insert a message by pressing Ctrl + Alt + M.
- Open the “Insert” menu by pressing Alt + I (in Google Chrome) or Alt + Shift + I (in other browsers).
- Move to the next heading by holding Ctrl + Alt, pressing N, then H.
When working in a script, press Cmd + / on a Mac or Shift + / or Ctrl + / on Chrome OS or Windows to see a list of widely used shortcuts. You can also choose “Keyboard Shortcuts” from the dropdown menu by clicking the gear icon in the upper left corner of your screen
15.Make Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts
While Google Docs provides a plethora of shortcuts, what if we want to create a few of our own? To make custom shortcuts. Go to Tools > Preferences > Automatic Substitution to build custom shortcuts. There may be a few already in there (such as changing 1/2 to ½), but feel free to add any of your own.
16. Calls to conferences
Google Docs is a collaborative forum, and the “UberConference” add-on enhances it by allowing you to hold an audio conference call directly from the text. It’s as easy as turning on the add-on and inviting your mates or coworkers. All will be able to access and edit the document when participating in a conference call until they agree.
Click here to find the add-on, or open your document and choose Add-ons from the top-level menu. Choose Get add-ons… and type “UberConference” into the search box.
17. Image Editing
You can also edit a picture that you’ve put into your document after you’ve done so. When you click a picture in your folder, the toolbar at the top changes to show all of the tools you can use to edit it. Crop it, mask it, put borders around it… there are a lot of options.
Cropping and adding a border are two excellent image editing techniques. (If you ever want to restore an image to its original state, just pick it and press the “Reset Image” icon on your toolbar.)
Click the crop icon in your toolbar to crop a picture in your document. Then drag and drop the blue handles until the picture is cropped to your taste. To save it, press the “Enter” key on your keyboard or simply return it to your folder.
Pick any picture and press the line colour icon in your toolbar to add a black or coloured border (which looks like a pencil). Choose a colour for the border, and there you have it! Simply click off the picture to save it
Have you ever written a word and wondered if you’re using it correctly? Consider writing a term for which you’d like to find a synonym. Rather than opening a new browser window, you can look up the meaning of a word right inside your text, along with synonym suggestions.
To define a phrase, simply highlight it, right-click on it, and select Define. The Research tool will conduct an internet search for you, and the description will appear on the right-hand side of your computer.
19. Buttons for changing Language Accents
Gone are the days of memorising accent shortcuts (and having them wrong), manually pressing keys on foreign keyboards, and copying and pasting from other papers. The “Simple Accents” add-on could save you a lot of time if you ever find yourself writing in a language other than English. It allows you to add accents to your document directly from a sidebar for 20 different languages.
Click here to find the add-on, or open your document and choose Add-ons from the top-level menu. Choose Get add-ons… and type “Simple Accents” into the search box.
20. Create a New Page
You can add new pages to your Google Doc if it doesn’t do so automatically. To do so, scroll down and click and drag your cursor to the desired page break location. Then choose Insert, Break, and Page Break from the drop-down menu. One page will end and another will begin.
21. Put Today’s Date on it
There isn’t an easy way to insert the date into a Google document, unfortunately. For this, you’ll need to use the document’s Script Editor. Fortunately, there are some pre-made codes available online that you can paste into the Script Editor to make “Insert Date” appear in the page’s settings. One code comes from Quora, while the other comes from SlackExchange.
To begin, open your document, click Tools, and then Script Editor.
You’ll be taken to a page where you can type in your script. You should be able to update your document and see a new button on the tool bar with new things to insert, including the date, once you’ve inserted the script you’ve selected and saved your job.
Keep in mind that depending on the code you choose, this button will have different options. Such codes will simply add a “Insert Date” button to your toolbar, while others will add a button that says “Utilities” or “More Tools” to your toolbar.
For those that aren’t into coding, manually inserting the date or typing it in a header so it appears on all pages can be less time-consuming.
More Google Collaboration Options
We bet you didn’t recognize at least a few of these… Put them to good use in your next Google Doc now that you have them.