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10 Tips for Using Google Docs

 

10 Tips for Using Google Docs

Google Docs doesn’t have the feature-packed clutter bar you’ll find in Microsoft Office, but it also has a few handy tricks up its sleeve. You can never find these resources unless you are looking for them.

Google’s web-based Office Suite has matured over the years and now offers everything from offline access to third-party add-on support. It’s still an easy-to-use office suite that works everywhere with great real-time collaboration features.

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How to enable offline access in Google Docs?

Google Docs can work offline. This allows you to create new documents, continue working on current documents, and even view your documents while you don’t have an Internet connection. When you connect to the Internet again, your changes will be synced online.

This feature requires Google Chrome, so it works on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and Chromebooks.

To set this up, open the Google Drive website, click the gear button in the top right corner of the website, and click Settings. In the general panel, make sure “Sync your work to this computer so you can edit the Offline option” is enabled and click Done. To use Google Docs while offline, simply return to the Google Drive website in Chrome when you don’t have an internet connection.

 

How to use Google Docs collaborating in real time?

Google Docs has better collaboration features than the desktop version of Microsoft Office. You can collaborate in real time, and everyone with access to the document will be able to edit it at once. You will see other people’s cursors in the document and help them in real time.

Click File -> Share to start sharing the document. You can invite individual people by their email addresses or allow anyone with a special link to the document to edit it.

Sharing isn’t just about editing – the sharing feature can allow you to share a document with one or more people so they can view it.

They will always have the most recent copy, so this can be more convenient than sending a file. You can also give people the ability to leave comments on a document so you can get their input without letting them modify your document.

 

Publish a document via Google Docs

Google Docs allows you to quickly publish a document online. Just click File -> Publish to Web and click the Start Publishing button. You will receive a public link to the document in the published form, so you can share it with others and they can view it. You don’t need to host the document on your own servers somewhere.

This feature is separate from the sharing feature. When a document is published, anyone with the link can view it. When it’s shared, it can only be shared with a handful of people. When people access a shared document, they will see the Google Docs editor . When they access a published document, they will see the document as a typical web page.

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Go to the next or previous typo

For quick error correction, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + to go to the next error in the current document and Ctrl -; to go to the previous typo. This allows you to quickly correct typos without scrolling through the current document and looking for those red underlines.

Google Docs has also recently gained a spell check feature that lets you quickly slide through problems in a current document, a feature that has been missing for a long time – just click Tools -> Spell Check to use it.

 

Search and insert links in Google Docs

Google Docs incorporates the power of Google search to help you easily insert links into your current document. Instead of opening a new browser tab and searching for a page you want to link to, you can search directly from the link dialog. To do this, click on the Insert -> Link option. Enter a search in the dialog and Google will display pages that match your search – click on one to link to the selected address.

 

How to insert text styles in Google Docs?

Instead of manually formatting every bit of text in your document, you should format your text using styles. This means that instead of setting all your headlines to a certain font size and bold text, you should just click the style box and set them to “heading 1.”

You can also easily edit the font settings used for different styles. First, format some text to use the type of formatting you want to use for a style. Select that text, click the style box at the top of the screen, and click the arrow to the right of the style you want to modify. Click on the “Update ‘Style name’ to match” option and that style will now use the selected formatting type.

To save these custom styles and use them in other documents, click the Options menu at the bottom of the list here and select “Save as my default styles”.

 

Add a Personal Dictionary in Google Docs

If Google Docs thinks a word is a typo, but you know it’s correct, you can right-click the underlined word and select Add to Personal Dictionary. You can click Tools > Personal Dictionary and edit the word list in your personal dictionary. If you accidentally add a misspelled word to this list, you’ll have to remove it from here before Google warns you about it again.

This option is a fairly recent feature – previously, Google Docs would not allow you to remove words you added to this list. You might want to take a look and make sure you haven’t accidentally added misspelled words to the list in the past.

 

Copy and paste with the web clipboard

Google Docs has a web clipboard feature that shares Google Docs sheets and slides. This clipboard is associated with your Google account, so it will follow every computer you use. Unlike your standard operating system clipboard, the web clipboard can contain multiple items. The clipboard supports text, images, drawings and other pieces of data from Google documents.

To use this feature, select some text, click Edit, use the Web menu. This is the best way to copy some types of data, like drawings, between different types of Google documents. Items you save on your web clipboard will be deleted after 30 days if you don’t interact with them.

 

Use the Google Docs search tool

Google Docs contains a sidebar designed for searching – open it by clicking Tools -> Search. This sidebar lets you search for images, quotes, and results to easily insert into a document. It also makes it easy to search for academic studies and quickly enter appropriate notes or citations. You can quickly enter citations for the web results, too – it can be an easy way to build a bibliography for a school document.

 

Install add-ons and extensions in Google Docs

Add-ons are a fairly new feature. These are third-party pieces of software made with Google Apps Script. You can install them by clicking Tools -> Manage Add-ons. They can then be used in the Add-Ons menu.

For example, you can install a thesaurus add-on that allows you to select any word and click on add-ons -> Thesaurus -> Find synonyms for the selected word to view synonyms when writing a document. Other add-ons include an easy bibliography maker, diagram tool and table of contents generator .

Google Docs has more tricks up its sleeve too. The File -> Download like menu is particularly useful, allowing you to download your document in many different formats. You can download it as a PDF or Microsoft Office document if you need to send or email the document in a specific file format.

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