Google Docs: the best tips for using it well

Google Docs is a service that has the advantage of being accessible to everyone and of being extremely easy to use. But even if it seems basic, it offers a lot of practical features for productivity. Here are just a few tips that you may find useful to save time on a daily basis.

Google Docs is an extremely popular platform, because it provides highly popular office services for free to users. No need to buy (or recover in a more or less legal way) a software suite, the Mountain View company offers us all of this on a platform, with cloud integration and tools for collaborative work.

But we must admit that many of us exploit only the surface of the possibilities of Google Docs, which is much deeper than it seems in terms of functionality. This is why we will discover together several tips to optimize the best use of Google Docs and gain productivity.

How do I make suggestions in Google Docs?

When you work together on a document, you can directly modify or delete content, or add a comment when you notice something to correct. But in this situation, there is a practical feature, but too little known: the Suggestion mode. To activate it, just click on the pencil icon located under the blue Share button, located at the top right. You then have the choice between Edit (default), Suggestion (the one we’re interested in here) and View (to get a better overview of how the document looks).

With Suggestion, all the changes made are integrated into another color in the text and without deleting the previous content. Employees can then validate or not the changes with a simple click of a button. An essential option for collaborative work. And with the command Ctrl + Alt + O or Ctrl + Alt + U or by going to Tools> Examine the suggested modifications , you are redirected to the suggestions to validate or deny.

How to identify an employee?

gdocs tag

Another very practical function when there are several of you on a document, the possibility of “tagging” one or more people in a comment to attract his attention (he will thus receive a notification). To do this, simply select the desired document area, press the add comment button, and type: “@ + email address of the individual (s) concerned”. More practical than sending an email or more reliable than hoping that you will see his comment.

How to find an old version?

Google Docs performs numerous document backups and maintains multiple versions over time. You can thus recover the document as it was X hours or X days ago, because you do not approve the modifications which carried out since or if content was deleted. To do this, he must go to File <Version History> View historical versions or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + Shift + H . You can also check who made what changes to the document with this technique.

Start voice input

With a small Ctrl + Shift + S or by going to Tools <Voice Entry , you can dictate your text instead of typing it. In French, everything is not perfect in terms of voice recognition, take care to articulate during the diction so as not to end up with a text very different from the one you have spoken. Can help out or be useful in certain situations, but you should not ask too much of this function for the moment, which deserves more in-depth to be fully exploited.

Where are the Google Docs templates?

gdocs templates

White sheet anxiety, lack of inspiration or just want to save time? When creating your new document, select From template . Google Docs offers a number of templates that can be used as a basis for writing your document. They exist for different types of content: CV, newsletter, brochure, cooking recipe, meeting notes, project proposal, business letter, etc.

Edit images in Google Docs

Google Docs also allows you to edit images directly from its interface. This remains basic, but we are entitled to very practical options: change the size, crop, resize, add borders, change the orientation… By clicking on the image then on Image options in the menu bar, other possibilities appear. You can for example choose a new coloring or adjust the transparency, contrast and brightness. Not enough to replace a more advanced action on Photoshop, but suitable for small touch-ups that would have required opening Paint or the Windows editor otherwise.

How do I insert bookmarks?

It is possible to add bookmarks within a document in order to quickly find specific content. To do this, simply go to the Insert menu and select Bookmark . A blue bookmark symbol then appears at the desired location. You can also add a link to find part of your document in no time without having to scroll or search for keywords.

Add a word to the dictionary

The Google Docs spell and grammar checker can sometimes be useful for spotting a typo. But that it is embarrassing when he underlines in red a completely correct word which he does not understand. If you know that you are going to repeat this word unknown to them several times, you can add it to the dictionary so that it stops considering it incorrect. Right click after selecting the word in question then click on Add “X” to the dictionary , and voila.

Create your own shortcuts

gdoc shortcuts

A handy option for quickly typing a character or a word that you have to use regularly and which represents difficulties in writing, especially for a keyboard reason. Go to Tools <Preferences   and go to the Automatic replacement section . By default, there are already pre-programmed shortcuts: type (c) to get © for example. In the left column Replace , indicate what you want to type. In the right par , enter what you want and which will replace the characters in the first column.

How do I add fonts?

Gdocs font

No worries, everything is done directly on Google Docs, no need to download and install new fonts yourself. By default on the service, the choice is rather limited for the sake of clarity and not to lose users with a plethora of possibilities. But by clicking on the font in use, a menu opens with the option Other fonts . Click, and you just have to choose from dozens of fonts. Do not hesitate to use the filters to sort and that the software only offers suggestions that may interest you.

Find and replace

You have made the same error several times (a missing capital letter on a word, proper misspelled name, etc.) and you do not want to go back through your entire document in search of all the errors? Don’t panic, there is a tool that will save you a lot of time on Google Docs. Go to Edit then Find and Replace (or use the Ctrl + H command directly). Enter in the Search for the term you wish to correct box, then in the Replace with the new corrected term box. You can also decide whether or not to respect the case. The software will then find all the terms you want and you can then modify them all at once.

Remove formatting

Did you paste content copied from an external source and it stains with the rest of the document? Select it and go to Format> Remove formatting . The text will then take the same form as the rest of the document. Also note that when pasting text, you can do Ctrl + Shift + V instead of Ctrl + V in order to paste without the original formatting.

Apply new formatting

Another scenario and other tool related to formatting. Click on an area of ​​the text whose formatting you like and then click on the paint roller icon in the bar under the menu, between the spelling checker and the zoom. Then click on another part of the text in a different format and this then automatically switches to formatting the first area.

Leverage Google Keep

gdocs keep

GDocs also offers an integration of Google Keep, the note taking application from the Mountain View company. Without leaving your document, you can write text on Google Keep, such as sticky notes, which may be more convenient than using the comment section, writing it directly on the document, on another document, or even send an email to yourself. To open Keep, click on the yellow light bulb icon in the right side panel, just below that of Google Calendar.

Start a Google search

gdocs explorer

Another function supported by Google Docs, web search. No need to open a tab on your browser, select a piece of text and enter the command Ctrl + Alt + Shift + I or right click and choose Explore “X” . A column then opens on the right with Google Search results with the categories Web, Images and Drive. Save a bit of time rather than copying and pasting the document into the search bar of another tab.

How to store your files in Google Docs?

Google Drive quickly doesn’t look like anything clear when you start creating lots of files. Especially since you find on the same interface also all the documents that will be shared via Drive, Docs or even Gmail. In short, it becomes a catch-all and it is difficult to find what we need if necessary. To organize, it is better to use the file system. To create one, click the New button on the Drive home and choose Folder . You can then name it and move inside all the files related to this theme. To do this, right click on the file and select Move to. When your document is already open, just click on the folder icon at the top (to the right of the title and the star “Activate tracking”) and choose the right directory.

Go offline

gdoc offline

Unlike other office solutions like Microsoft Office, Google Docs requires an internet browser to function. But not necessarily to have a connection! When you’re in a document, go to File> Make available offline . It can then be opened and edited without internet access, the changes will be saved in the cloud as soon as a connection is available again. To activate it by default on all its documents, go to the Google Docs home page. Click on the menu icon in the top left, symbolized by three horizontal bars and go to Settings. You can then choose to activate Offline.

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