I was ecstatic to finally land my first writing gig! I was confident in my skills, and of course didn’t want to mess anything up. All was going well until my client asked me to submit the article via Google Docs.
“What’s that? I’ve never used it before.” I felt like a moron!
Since that day four years ago, I’ve become a Google Doc expert. And there are so many particular features that blow me away. Here are my top 5 favorite Google Doc features that I use (nearly) every single day. (And so should you!)
Feature #1: Clear Formatting
If you copy and paste on a regular basis, then you need to know about this feature!
The Clear Formatting feature transforms all of the text into a unified style. When the pasted font is too large, in a different color, highlighted with a background color, or just doesn’t match your existing font design, you can highlight it and clear the format.
To use the Clear Formatting feature:
- Highlight the text that you want to reformat.
- Go to “Format” and click “Clear Formatting.” This button also appears on the toolbar next to the indent buttons.
- All of the highlighted text will revert to the default format (Arial font, size 11).
Feature #2: Keyboard Shortcuts
Call me lazy, but I avoid using my computer mouse or trackpad whenever possible. It somehow feels like an unwelcome intrusion into my stream of typing.
Which is why the Google Doc keyboard shortcuts are ingrained in my brain. I can perform numerous functions with my fingers in “home” typing position.
Here my most-used shortcuts (aka the ones worth memorizing!):
- Cut: Cmd/Ctrl + X
- Copy: Cmd/Ctrl + C
- Paste: Cmd/Ctrl + V
- Bold: Cmd/Ctrl + B
- Italic: Cmd/Ctrl + I
- Underline: Cmd/Ctrl + U
- Strikethrough: Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + X
- Heading: Cmd + Opt + 2 (for heading 2, or “3” for heading 3, etc.)
- Bullet list: Cmd + Shift + 8
- Numbered list: Cmd + Shift + 7
- Undo: Cmd/Ctrl + Z
- Redo: Cmd/Ctrl + Y
- Alignment: Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + E (E is center, L is left, R is right, and J is justified)
- Insert link: Cmd/Ctrl + K
- Check out a comprehensive Google shortcuts list here!
Feature #3: Commenting and Tagging
In the old days, collaborating on a document meant writing it on paper with a pen, or perhaps typing it on a typewriter, or composing it in a Word document and printing it off. Nowadays, you can type up your content into a Google doc and tag your editor or proofreader.
To write a comment, highlight a section, then :
- Click the button that appears in the right column (it should look like a circle with a plus sign in the middle).
- Or you can click “Insert” and then “comment.”
- Or you can use the shortcut Cmd + Opt + M.
To tag someone else in the comment, simply type the “@” and then their name or email address, which should automatically pop up. (You Google Doc is synced with your Gmail account and contacts.) The recipient that you tagged will automatically be emailed your comment.
Additionally, you can assign someone to the comment. This will require them to either reply to your comment or mark it as done.
Feature #4: Sharing
Although commenting and tagging is an incredibly useful tool, so is the Google Share feature. With the click of the Share button in the top right corner, you can grant someone access to edit, comment, or view your document.
- Edit. When you share with the permission to edit, the other person will have full access to your document. It’s as if they were sitting in front of your computer with the freedom to type or delete as they please.
- Comment. Comment access is great for when you want feedback from others, yet you want to preserve your written text. This person is allowed to comment, but not actually type or delete from your document.
- View. Have info you need to share but don’t want to waste trees? This view-only option is exactly what you’d expect: the person can see it but is unable to edit or comment.
- Sharable link. You can either directly share your document via email or by sending the link yourself.
Feature #5: Dictionary
Being a writer is lovely...until the day you are completely uninspired. For those moments, the Google Dictionary feature is my best friend.
To use the Dictionary feature:
- Highlight the word you want to define or replace with a synonym. For example, let’s use the word “business.”
- Right click, and then click “Define ‘insert your word here’” - For our example, it would read, “Define ‘business.’”
- A new column should pop up on the right hand side of your screen. This lists the possible definitions and synonyms. The blue words are clickable, and will transfer you to that word’s definition and synonyms.
You can now keep the dictionary column open and type in fresh words in the search section.
Features worth falling in love with
If you use Google Docs on a regular basis, you’ve already discovered that this unique platform is exactly what you’re looking for. New features and upgrades happen frequently, so stay in the loop. But for now, take you time as you fall in love with these favorite features!
- Keyboard shortcuts
- Commenting or tagging
Need a tutorial on the Google Suite? Our team not only uses Google, we highly recommend it! Fill out the form below to let us know how we can train your team to use Google to boost your business.