Google Docs is a service that has the merit of being accessible to everyone and being extremely easy to learn. But even if it looks basic, it offers a whole host of useful features for productivity. Here are just a few tips that could be useful for you to save time on a daily basis.
Google Docs is a very popular platform, as it provides users with highly requested office services for free. No need to buy (or recover more or less legally) a software suite, the Mountain View firm offers us all of this on a plate, plus cloud integration and tools for collaborative work.
But let’s face it, many of us are only scratching the surface of what Google Docs is capable of, which is much deeper than it looks in terms of functionality. This is why we are going to discover together several tips to optimize your use of Google Docs and increase productivity.
Read also: Google Docs can now count words in real time
When working together on a document, you can edit or delete content directly, or add a comment when you notice something to correct. But in this situation, there is a very practical, but too little-known feature: Suggestion mode. To activate it, just click on the pencil icon located below the blue Share button, located at the top right. You then have the choice between Editing (default), Suggestion (the one that interests us here) and Display (to get a better overview of how the document looks).
With Suggestion, all the changes made are integrated under 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 Where Ctrl+Alt+U or by going to Tools > Review Suggested Changesyou are redirected to the suggestions to validate or invalidate.
Another very practical function when there are several of you on a document, the possibility of “tag” one or more people in a comment to draw his attention (he will thus receive a notification). To do this, simply select the desired area of the document, press the add comment button, and type: “@ + email address of the individual(s) concerned”. More practical than sending an email or and more reliable than hoping that we see his comment.
Google Docs backs up documents extensively 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 of the changes that have been made since or if content has been deleted. To do this, you have to go to File < Version History > View Version History or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+Shift+H. You can also check who made which changes to the document with this technique.
Start voice typing
With a small Ctrl+Shift+S or by going to Tools < Voice Input, 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 diction so as not to end up with a very different text to the one you have spoken. Can troubleshoot or be useful in certain situations, but we should not ask too much of this function for the moment, which deserves more in-depth study to be fully exploited.
Where are the Google Docs templates?
Anxiety of the white sheet, lack of inspiration or simply want to save time? When creating your new document, select From a template. Google Docs offers you a number of templates that can be used as a basis for writing your document. There are some 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. It 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. For example, you can choose a new coloring or adjust 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.
It is possible to add bookmarks within a document in order to quickly find specific content. To do this, simply go to the menu Insertion and select bookmark. A blue bookmark symbol then appears at the desired location. You can also add a link to quickly find part of your document without having to scroll or search for keywords.
Add a word to the dictionary
The spelling and grammar checker in Google Docs can sometimes be useful for spotting a typo. But how embarrassing it is when he underlines in red a completely correct word that he doesn’t understand. If you know you’re going to repeat that unfamiliar word several times, you can add it to the dictionary so that it stops considering it incorrect. A right click after having selected the word in question then a click on Add “X” to dictionaryand voila.
Create your own shortcuts
A very practical option for quickly typing a character or a word that you have to use regularly and which represents difficulty in writing, in particular for a keyboard reason. Meet in Tools < Preferences and go to the section Automatic replacement. By default, there are already pre-programmed shortcuts: type (c) to get © for example. In the left column To replace, indicate what you want to type. In the one on the right Throughfill in what you want to have and which will replace the characters in the first column.
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 clicking on the font in use opens a menu with the option Other fonts. Click, and you just have to choose from dozens of fonts. Do not hesitate to use the filters in order to sort and that the software only offers you suggestions likely to interest you.
Find and replace
Have you made the same mistake several times (a missing capital letter on a word, misspelled proper name, etc.) and you don’t want to go through your entire document looking for all the mistakes? Do not panic, there is a tool that will save you a lot of time on Google Docs. Go into Editing then Find and replace (or use the Ctrl + H command directly). Enter the box To research the term you wish to correct then in the box Replace with the new corrected term. You can also choose whether or not to be case sensitive. The software then finds all the desired terms and you can then modify them all at once.
You have pasted 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 to paste without the original formatting.
Apply new formatting
Other scenarios and other tools relating to formatting. Click on an area of the text whose formatting you like, 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 it then automatically switches to the formatting of the first area.
Leverage Google Keep
GDocs also offers integration with Google Keep, the Mountain View firm’s note-taking application. Without leaving your document, you can write text on Google Keep, for example sticky notes, which is perhaps more practical than using the comment section, writing it directly on the document, on another document or even to send an email to oneself. 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
Another function supported by Google Docs, the 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. A small time saver rather than copying and pasting the document to the search bar of another tab.
Google Drive doesn’t look like anything clear very soon when you start creating lots of files. Especially since you also find on the same interface all the documents that have been 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 get organized, it is better to use the folder system. To create one, click the button New on Drive home and choose Case. You can then name it and move all the files related to this theme inside. To do this, right click on the file and select Moving. When your document is already open, just click on the folder icon at the top (to the right of the title and the “Enable tracking” star) and choose the correct directory.
Unlike other office solutions like Microsoft Office, Google Docs requires an internet browser to work. But not necessarily to have a connection! When you are in a document, go to File > Make Available Offline. This 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 at the top left, symbolized by three horizontal bars and go to Settings. You can then choose to enable Offline.