Imagine discovering electricity after a lifetime of reading by candlelight.
That’s exactly how switching to Google Docs feels like.
From the first use to the late discoveries, Google’s word processor never fails to surprise. Don’t let its clean task manager fool you – what seems simple on the surface is actually a complex tool with all the features a humble scribbler could need (plus a few which are too cool to be avoided).
Here’s a list of 10 useful things you never suspected Google Docs could do for you.
#1: Multitask and Edit While Writing
As an online-based word processor, Google Docs takes the cake when it comes to convenience. Ease of use is ensured by a host of less known features that allow you to multitask – to start a new doc as soon as a new idea pops up in your head, to edit while writing, and to search for functions on the fly:
Start writing straight from the browser
Simply add docs.google.com/create as a bookmark.
Move text up and down your document
Instead of a cut/paste function, use select-and-drag.
Alternately, you can place the cursor inside the paragraph, press Alt and Shift, and use arrow keys.
Change font size with your keyboard
Press Ctrl and Shift, then the period key for bigger font or comma key for a smaller font.
Add external fonts without any hassle
Open the font dropdown menu and click “more fonts” to search Google’s archive and add fonts.
Make your text formatting consistent
Place the cursor on the text with the desired formatting, click the paint roller icon at the upper-left corner, and then click anywhere in the paragraph where you want to change the formatting.
Use context-sensitive help to edit text
Highlight what you want to edit, press Alt and then type the first letters of the command you need.
#2: Keep Your Documents Organized
If you like your writing space clean and tidy, use Ctrl-Alt-H to access Google Docs’ handy outline. You’ll see a number of section headers which allow you to jump directly to a specific part of the document. For the same function, you can open the view menu and select “Show document outline.”
#3: Turn Your Spoken Words into Text
One of the coolest Google Docs features is the ability to write hands-free by dictating. The processor will automatically turn your spoken words into the text after you install a mic and press Ctrl-Shift-S or select “Voice typing” from the tools menu. Name the punctuation mark to add a period, comma, etc.
If you want to start writing in a new paragraph, simply say “new paragraph.”
For more voice-to-text commands and instructions, check this official Google Docs list.
This feature can be used for transcribing recorded audio text as well.
#4: Research and Define On the Spot
Press Ctrl-Alt-Shift-I or go to the explore menu to find Docs’ Explore tool and open research results from the web as well as from your existing documents. To make sure you’re using the right word for the context, click it with a cursor while typing and then press Ctrl-Shift-Y to get the definition.
#5: Add Images from Google Photos
Select “Image” from the Insert menu to add images from your Google Photos collection.
To edit or crop an image from your document, click it and select “Image” from the format menu.
#6: Access Notes from Google Keep
If you use Google Keep as a notepad, you can access it from Google Docs. Navigate to the tools menu to select “Keep notepad” and add the Google Keep sidebar and access, use, and edit your notes. Just hover over the note and then click the three-dot menu icon to add a note’s content to any document.
#7: Translate Text to Any Language
You need to select “Translate document” from the tools menu. Voilà!
#8: Collaborate with Other Writers
To facilitate collaboration, Docs allows you to bookmark and create a link to any part of a document – just place the cursor to the paragraph you want, select “Bookmark” from the Insert menu, and share the link using the Docs’ chat window and typing @ to tag other users you want to collaborate with.
#9: Turn Documents to Web Pages
Navigate to the file menu and select “Publish on the web.”
#10: Turn Your Doc into a Template
Copy the URL, change the “/edit” to “/copy,” and forward the new link to your collaborators.
A lot of the Google Docs tricks listed above are available from the official mobile app as well. If you’re editing sensitive documents via your smartphone, don’t forget to encrypt your device with a mobile VPN. Otherwise, you’re making yourself vulnerable to hacking, data thefts, and other criminal acts.
See, Google Docs makes it easy for you to record, edit, and organize your thoughts.
The only thing you need is a writer’s curiosity.