Even if you're already familiar with Google Docs' multi-user features, keyboard shortcuts, and other benefits, there may be some useful tricks you haven't heard of. Here are 13 useful tips that you can turn from an integrated web browser to a transcription function into a certifiable Google Docs Assistant.
1. Open a new Google Doc in one step.
Opening a new Google Doc isn't too labor intensive, but there is a way to create it in one step. Instead of navigating to an empty page via your Google Drive, simply enter "docs.new" or "doc.new" in the search bar of your web browser and you will be taken to a new document. (You can also open a new Google Sheet with "sheet.new" or a new slide with "slide.new".)
2. Add a handwritten signature or an edited image.
Under "Paste", scroll down to "Draw" and click "New". Move the mouse pointer over the "Line" menu and select "Scribble". An empty field for writing your signature will appear. It may not be the best handwriting ̵
3. Keep the number of words right in your document.
For those of you who check the word count after practically every sentence you type – whether you're writing something with a strict word limit or just a slightly neurotic habit – save yourself the hassle of visiting the section several times "Tools" and check the "Show word count as you type" checkbox at the bottom of the "Word count" pop-up box. The word count is shown in the lower left corner of the screen. You can expand it to display the number of characters and other statistics. If you're not ready to commit to an ubiquitous word count, you can still bypass the toolbar by clicking Ctrl + Shift + C on a Mac (or Command + Shift + C on a Mac). The word count field will appear automatically.
4. Use a keyboard shortcut to insert text without formatting.
When talking about keyboard shortcuts, you can insert text that matches your existing text by pressing Ctrl + Shift + V on a Mac (Command + Shift + V on a Mac). This way, for example, a quote that you copied from an article in 14-point comic sans will appear in 11-point arial (or whatever you chose your font). A similar time-saving magic can be found under "Keyboard shortcuts" in the "Help" menu.
5. Assign changes to specific people.
In the upper right corner of your screen is a small pencil icon that you can use in suggestion mode, in which everything you type is presented as a suggested change. Each edit has its own comment box on the right side of the document with the option to accept, reject, or respond to the change. If you are working on a project with several people, you can assign an edit to a specific user by entering "+" in the answer field and entering an email address. Google then sends an email informing the person that a proposal is waiting for them.
6. Revert to an earlier version of your Google document.
In addition to automatically saving your document changes as you make them, Google also records all of these changes. You can access previous versions of your Google Docs by going to "File", "Version History" and "View Version History". There you can expand any previous draft to see the specific changes highlighted in the document – when they were made and who made them. This is particularly useful when more than one person is making changes.
7. Search the Internet or search for a word without opening a new window.
You can reduce the number of tabs you juggle with two Google Doc hacks: the built-in web browser and built-in dictionary. The internet browser is located under "Tools" and "Browse" (or "Ctrl + Alt + Shift + I" or "Command + Option + Shift + I" on a Mac) and also searches your Google Drive. You can access the dictionary under Tools and Dictionary, or use the shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Y (Command + Shift + Y on a Mac). You can also access both functions by right-clicking on a word or phrase in your document and selecting "Browse" or "Define".
8. Create your own shorthand by adjusting the automatic correction functions.
Select "Settings" under "Tools" and you can enable or disable general settings such as "Automatically capitalize words", "Automatically correct spelling" etc. Go to the "Substitutions" tab for more custom auto-correction. There you can instruct Google to automatically replace a certain word, letter or symbol with a word of your choice. For example, if you want Google to always add an accent to e in Beyoncé type Beyonce in the "Replace" column and Beyoncé in the column "With".
9. Reduce spelling mistakes by adding words to your personal dictionary.
To prevent Google from continuously registering certain unique words or names as misspellings, add them to your "Personal Dictionary" listed under "Tools" and "Tools" then "Spelling and Grammar". If a word is already marked as an error in your Google Doc, you can also add it to your dictionary by right-clicking and selecting "Add to dictionary [word]".
10. Convert your Google Doc to another file type.
Do you prefer to work in Google Docs, but your manager always asks for Microsoft Word files? You can download your Google Doc as a Word document by clicking on "File" and "Download". There are also options for converting to a PDF file, a web page, a plain text file, and more. Before sending it to someone, we recommend reading it through to make sure the formatting has been properly translated.
11. Transcribe audio files with Google's voice typing feature.
While Google's voice-typing capabilities do not extend to decrypting an audio file that is played loudly through a speaker, the process is definitely easier than pausing the audio every few seconds so you can type any word manually . Go to "Tools" in your navigation bar and then to "Voice input" and make sure that your microphone is activated. Plug in your headphones, play your audio file and clearly determine what is said. Google will transcribe everything for you. The function can also be useful for people with arthritis or other impairments who find it difficult to use a keyboard.
12. Activate offline editing.
Even if you do not plan to be in a location without internet access in the near future, WLAN or power outages can occur unexpectedly. Therefore, it's a good idea to enable offline editing just in case. To do this, install the Google Docs offline extension, go to your Google Docs homepage, click the main menu icon (three horizontal lines in the upper left corner) and select "Settings". Then press the gray "Offline" button so that it slides to the right and turns blue.
13. Use other practical add-ons.
If you select "Get add-ons" under "Add-ons" in your Google Doc toolbar, you can search for add-ons or search Google's most popular ones. Some of the top rated offers are: Lucidchart, which allows you to create flowcharts, diagrams and more in your document; EasyBib, which automatically generates citations in APA, Chicago or MLA format; and Doc to Form, which you can use to easily convert information from a Google Doc into a Google Form (Google’s platform for online surveys).