G Suite

Google Docs: The 2020 Guide

By 16th December 2019 January 15th, 2020 No Comments

Google Docs is the free word processor developed by Google. It works online, so you can use it in your browser, without the need for installing the software on your computer. Simple in every way, you just need to have a Google account to start using it.

In this article, we will focus on this text editor, its many features and how to use it properly in your business and/or personal life.

The benefits of using Google Docs

Some people still may think that Google Docs is not that good, and lacks some features that the grand word processors have. But Google Docs can be much more convenient than the pioneers when it comes to practicality and use modes. Let’s see why you should consider using it for work or personal reasons:

A personalized user experience

g suite goggle docs

 

One thing great of using Docs is that you can use add-ons to personalize how you handle your documents. There are infinite kinds of add-ons available, with features such as proofreading, improving SEO, creating diagrams, and many others.

To verify all of them you can go in Add-ons on the top page, and then click on Get Add-ons. A G Suite Marketplace popup will open, with a big list containing the most used add-ons. You can also search for others that are not on this list.

Everything is online

It means you don’t need to keep lots and lots of documents on your computer. Besides, you can carry them to anywhere you go. Mainly because it’s possible to access Google Docs from any device. So imagine you have to edit an important document at the airport, for instance. You can simply access your Google Docs account and start writing on your cellphone.

Many laptops nowadays don’t have great storage, and that’s why having an online solution of a word processor can be very helpful. First, because you don’t have to install a software that requires Gigabytes of your HD, or uses a considerable percentage of your memory while you use it. Second, because you don’t need to save any file, that would also occupy some Gb’s.

Everything can be offline too

Google Docs Offline

 

It’s possible to turn your documents able to be edited offline. But first, you need to install the extension for Google Chrome that allows you to that this. It’s important to remember that you can one document per time and not all of them at once.

The process consists of accessing the tab File, and clicking on “Make available offline”. Now you are all set to edit your document even in those moments when the internet fails you.

At the same time, you can download your document in common formats (such as .docx, .pdf, .odf or .rtf), and keep editing it in other platforms.

Auto-save 

Forget about losing documents because the power went off, or your computer shut down by no motive. Every time you finish writing something in your document, Google Docs automatically saves it. So if you are a forgetful person and never hit the Save button, this is a perfect setting for you.

In fact, because of this auto-save feature, there isn’t a save button anywhere in the interface. It’s a lifesaver, right?

Collaboration in real-time

As Drag is a collaborative tool, we also love that Google Docs has the same purpose as we do. This is a great feature for teams that need to collaborate in documents. Google Docs allows you to share just documents, while with Google Drive you can share whole folders containing documents.

There are three collaboration features inside Docs, useful to teams: sharing, commenting, and editing in real-time.

Sharing

With a regular word editor, you have to send a copy of the document to the person (or people) so they can have a look and edit too. This ends up creating a lot of versions of the file, which is something that leads to time loss.

Nonetheless, with Google Docs you have two important elements while sharing documents: security and easy control.

To share a document, access the tab “File”, then “Share”. You can either type the email addresses or click on Get “Shareable Link”. This increases security because you can certainly know that only the people you are inserting or sending the link to will have access to the document.

Google Docs - sharing

In this same popup it is also possible to choose what kind of privileges you are going to give to these people:

  • View: People can only visualize the document in real-time. But it’s not possible to type, download, copy, print, exclude or any other action along Google Docs.
  • Comment: Allows the person to add comments over the document. Commonly useful for reviews and documents that need to be pre-approved.
  • Edit: The editors have full control of the document, and all the options are enabled for them. It’s ideal for teams that are writing together.

Besides, you can click on “Advanced” to set other relevant option that is “Prevent editors from changing access”. This will unable to send the document to other people that you don’t want that have access.

In the advanced window is also possible to manage all the accesses, mainly to exclude the ones you want to stop sharing with.

Editing

Editing in real-time is a collaboration tool that saves time and reworks. As Google Docs is online, it was possible to add this amazing feature, salvation for many teams. By the way, 50 is the maximum number of users that can edit the same document simultaneously. So if you are part of a big team, it will certainly work for you.

Maybe you might think that lots of people editing something at the same time can turn messy, right? So the chatting tool and the comments are important for communication, and to avoid mistakes while collaborating on that document.

Commenting

google docs comments

Another important aspect of collaboration was made possible inside Google Docs: comments. While working in a team it is always necessary to point out some improvements, suggestions, etc. Adding notes and comments are the most used ways of doing that. In Gmail, you can do that by selecting a portion of the text, then clicking on add comment.

Note that only people who have access to this document can make notes to make notes.

All the comments boxes stay available on the right-side panel, and they can be replied. You can also mention someone in the team by typing @ and the email or name of the person. After doing the action that was requested, click on “Resolve”, then the comment will disappear.

A new document on Google Docs from scratch

Now that you know why Google Docs is a great word processor, take a time to learn how to manage this tool by creating documents from scratch. 

Step 1: Creating docs

First of all, you need to access Google Docs homepage https://docs.google.com/document/. Then you can choose between two options: the plus symbol with a blank document, or a template. A new document will automatically open. 

As a default, its name will be “Untitled Document”, that you will be able to change by clicking on the Title box. Another way of doing that is just typing the title on the page, and after clicking on the Title box. 

Step 2: Formatting 

Google Docs toolbar is pretty similar to other word processors. You are going to use it to change things in your text, such as:

  • The font type and size
  • Text alignment
  • Italic, Bold, and Underline
  • Text and Highlight Color
  • The text styles (eg. Title, Subtitle, Headings…)
  • Spacings
  • Lists
  • And also Clear Formatting

Step 3: Inserting images

There are two paths for inserting images. The simplest one is clicking on the symbol of a picture (represented by a square with a mountain) on the toolbar. The second one is going to the top menu and selecting the tab Insert. Then hover on the Image option and choose the source from where you are uploading an image.

Google Docs allows you to upload .gif, .jpg or .png. Images, that at the same time have less than 50 MB.

Step 4: Table of contents

google docs

You can also insert a table of contents in your document. You can do that by going to the tab Insert on the top menu. Hover the mouse over the option Table, and you will see a lot of mini squares. These squares represent the number of columns and rows your table will have. After deciding your table’s size just select the configuration and click on it. The table will appear on the document instantaneously. 

To edit your table, just click on the right button of your mouse inside a row. You will be able to do actions such as adding and deleting columns or rows.

Step 5:  Sharing your document

After finishing your document’s edition, it’s time to share it. There are four ways of doing that from Google Docs. Click on File, at the top menu, then choose one of these alternatives: 

Share: You can input email addresses of the people you want to share the document with. Or just copy the link to share through other channels.

Download: Download your document to your computer. You can choose between some file formats such as .pdf, .docx, .rtf, .odt, .txt and others.

Email as attachment: You can directly send your document via email. A popup will open and you will be able to set the attachment format, the recipient’s email, the subject, and the message. 

Publish to the web: If you want to share your document on your website or blog, you can use this option. It’s possible to choose between link and embed.

Google Docs Tips and Tricks

To enhance your experience with Google Docs we have prepared some tips and tricks that will make your life much easier while using this tool.

Adding comments

To add a comment, first select the part of the text you want to comment about. After, click on the symbol of a dialogue box with a plus on the toolbar. The second way how you can insert a comment is clicking with the right button of the mousepad over the selected text, and then on “Comment”. But the easiest way is using the keyboard command Ctrl+Alt+M.

Voice Typing

This tool is helpful when you need to speed things up with your texting. You can type and edit with your voice, and all you need is a microphone on your computer.

It’s possible to even dictate punctuation, such as “period”, “comma”, “exclamation point”. If you make any mistake while voice typing, you can just move the cursor to the wrong part and correct it, without having to turn the mic off.

To start voice typing on Google Docs, click on Tools, then choice Voice typing, or just press the keyboard command Ctrl+Shift+S. After that, a box with a microphone symbol will appear, so click on it to start speaking. You can choose between multiple languages to start using this tool, just click on the drop-down list above the microphone.

Google Docs

Click on the microphone when you are ready, then start speaking. Remember to always speak clearly, with pace and adequate volume. Just click on the microphone again when you want to stop speaking.

One last thing, be aware that this feature will only work in a Chrome browser.

Using templates

Google Docs offers many document templates that you can use to save time and effort if you don’t want to start with the standard blank page.

There are lots of templates that you can choose, including, for instance, Newsletters, Job Offer Letters, Resumes, Essays, and Reports. They are all editable, and you can customize them according to your needs.

Creating your own Google Docs templates

To create your template is simple, you just need to follow some steps:

  • First of all, create a document and edit it the way you want, adding visual elements, the default format, etc.
  • Second, go to Google Docs home page, and click on Template Gallery, then choose the option Submit a template.
  • Choose from your Google Docs and then select the template you have created.
  • You must write a brief description of the template because if you don’t Google might not approve your template.
  • After you will choose a category: Business or Legal. The last one is for legal contracts.
  • The next step is to select the template’s language.
  • Click on Submit Template to finish the process.

When you need to use the template you have created again, just go to the template gallery, select it and start editing.

Version History

Sometimes you make mistakes while editing a text, and reversing them is easy with other word processors. But have you ever tried clicking on undoing so many times to correct a mistake you have made? This tool is limited, and many times you can’t go back to the desired point. With Google Docs you have the Version History, where you can see everything that was changed, and also restore these other versions.

version history docs

To access this tab, go to the page’s top and click on “All changes saved in Drive”. You will find a complete activity log, with the user names, times and dates of modification. Parts of the text that were changed will be highlighted. This is also a great opportunity to track what is being done with de document.

Useful add-ons

There are lots of add-ons. Of course, each business will need different kinds of extensions. But we have separated some that all or most of them should have to work together with Google Docs account.

Power TheSaurus

thesaurus

If you have over 70 million synonyms and antonyms available, you will certainly improve the quality of your texts. Power TheSaurus is the add-on that makes it possible, using thesaurus.org as a source for its collection. Every time you forget a word or want to stop using the same old ones, you just need to use this app quick search.

To run it, just select the desired word, click on Add-ons on the top left menu and then hover on Power TheSaurus choosing the option Search Selected Term. A popup will appear on the right with all the synonyms, antonyms and also definition of that word.

Speakd

Sometimes you are in a rush, with so many things to deal with at once. Speakd helps you at these times reading your documents for you. You can listen to your text, identifying how it sounds, searching for mistakes or phrases that don’t work well.

With Speakd you can also estimate the reading-time for all your texts, which helps focus on your initial purposes.

DocSec

Doc Sec

 

Imagine you need to keep some parts of your document protected because it’s a confidential matter. This is possible with DocSec, an app that allows you to set password protection in certain texts on the document.

After applying the password, only you and whoever you shared the password will be able to access and edit these confidential parts. 

First, click on Add-ons and select DocSec. Then a side panel will appear, and you need to enter the password you desire. Next, insert a secret text that will replace the part of the text you want to protect. Select the part of the text you want to hide, then click on Censor Text.

At last, you can share your password with other people, but they will only be able to access the hidden parts after installing Doc Secrets.

Text Cleaner

text cleaner

Sometimes you need to remove the text formatting and in spite of the option that already exists in Google Docs, some tools can help you in an advanced way.

Text Cleaner can preserve italics and bold while you remove formatting, which is good so you don’t have the work of formatting the text twice. You can remove line breaks, multiple spaces and whatever aspect of a copied text you paste in your document.

Grammarly

grammarly

This isn’t exactly an add-on, but a Google Chrome extension that works inside Docs. It’s a very useful tool for proofreading any text. It suggests grammar corrections, enhances your vocabulary, and keeps your text concise. You just need to install it and it starts to work without any effort. It underlines the mistakes with red, and when you hover the cursor on them a suggestion box appears. The next step is to click on the box and Grammarly will correct the text.

Useful Keyboard Shortcuts for Google Docs

Keyboard shortcuts are ideal to facilitate your daily activities on the internet. It wouldn’t be different when it comes to Docs. Spending more time writing than searching for tools enhances your productivity. That’s why we separated some shortcuts that will be useful to you.

 

Useful Keyboard Shortcuts
Word count Ctrl + Shift + c
Insert comment Ctrl + Alt + m
Open revision history Ctrl + Alt + Shift + h
Start voice typing Ctrl + Shift + s
Open chat inside the document Shift + Esc
Open dictionary Ctrl + Shift + y
Left align Ctrl + Shift + l
Center align Ctrl + Shift + e
Right align Ctrl + Shift + r
Justify Ctrl + Shift + j
Copy Ctrl + c
Cut Ctrl + x
Paste Ctrl + v
Paste without formatting Ctrl + Shift + v
Undo Ctrl + z
Redo Ctrl + Shift + z
Open link Alt + Enter
Print Ctrl + p
Open Ctrl + o
Find Ctrl + f
Find and replace Ctrl + h

Conclusion

We hope this complete Google Docs Guide has helped to enhance your user experience with it or at least made you eager to start using it the best way possible. This word processor can make your life easier in so many aspects, that you really should give it a try. And if you are a Google Docs user already, how about testing the features you haven’t used yet, or improving the workflow inside it with some Keyboard shortcuts?

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Samantha Anacleto

Author Samantha Anacleto

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