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Toolkit Tuesday: Google Docs Tips for Docs that Rock

Last week we talked about Google Drive Basics for Beginners, with a general overview of Drive and some of the ways to use it. Today I’d like to look a little more closely at one of the tools that is most well-known, and also one we use most often: Google Docs. Easy, Breezy, Cloud-Based Word Processing Google Docs is the Google Drive product used for word processing – drafting, editing and sharing basic text documents. If you are writing the next great American novel or sharing a draft of a blog post with a client, Google Docs is the tool

Google Docs tips

Last week we talked about Google Drive Basics for Beginners, with a general overview of Drive and some of the ways to use it. Today I’d like to look a little more closely at one of the tools that is most well-known, and also one we use most often: Google Docs.

Easy, Breezy, Cloud-Based Word Processing

Google Docs is the Google Drive product used for word processing – drafting, editing and sharing basic text documents. If you are writing the next great American novel or sharing a draft of a blog post with a client, Google Docs is the tool for you. Like all file creation tools in the Google Drive suite, it is cloud-based and completely free – all you need is a Google account to get started.

I won’t go over all of the basic features in Google Docs in this post – things like formatting your text, adding a header and footer or switching between different views – because these are such common tools, and if you’ve ever used Microsoft Word or just about any Word Processing software, these will already be familiar to you. Instead, let’s look at some Google Docs tips you may not know about and a few of the unique features in Docs.

What’s Up, Docs: 5 Google Docs Tips

Collaboration & Editing

Google Docs has some great tools built in for collaborating on files. (In order to use these features, your file would need to be shared with other users. For more on sharing files in Drive, see last week’s post.) If your file has been edited by others, you can see the edit history by clicking the link at the top of the document that says “Last edit was made by” etc.

Google Docs tips

When you click on it, a “Revision history” panel pops up on the right side showing when and by whom each edit was made. The edits also appear in the document itself, indicated by color corresponding to the color of the editor’s name in the Revision panel. Super handy if you want to see who deleted that sentence that you spent ages getting just perfect.

Google Docs tips

Suggesting Mode

You can also switch from Editing mode to Suggesting mode in the upper right corner of your Google Docs screen. Suggesting mode works similarly to the “Track Changes” feature in Microsoft Word, meaning that each edit you make will be indicated in a pop-out box and marked in a different color from the body text. Then, other users will have the opportunity to accept or reject the edits by clicking on the check mark or “x.”

Google Docs tips

Save Snippets to the Web Clipboard

We found these next two tips via the great article 10 Tips and Tricks for Google Docs (check it out for even more tips on using Docs). If you have a bit of text, an image or a drawing that you want to copy from your Google Doc to use in other Google Drive files, save it to your web clipboard and it will be there when you need it. Just select the text or image to save and choose “Copy selection to Web Clipboard” in the Edit menu. You can add multiple items to the clipboard and they will stay saved for 30 days.

Google Docs tips

Insert Links Using Google Search

If you would like to add links to relevant content within your file, you can do a Google search from right within your Google Doc. Simply highlight the text you wish to link, click Insert > Link, and the top Google search results for that word or phrase will appear in the dialogue box. To see more results, click “Find More” and a search results panel will appear on the right side of your screen.

Google Docs tips

Download as a Word Doc or PDF

Say you’re using Google Docs to collaborate on files with your co-workers, but now you need to share the final version with a client who doesn’t use Google Docs. No problem! Google offers lots of options for downloading the Doc in various file types, including as a Word doc or PDF.

google docs tips

Ready to Rock Your Docs?

Whether you’re new to Google Drive or have been using it forever, we hope these Google Docs tips will help to make your life easier and your time more productive as you are creating, editing and sharing files. What tips would you add to the ones we’ve shared? Is there another tool you’d like to see us cover in our Toolkit Tuesday series? Let us know!

Heather Allen

Belle's first employee. Lover of great food, good books and spreadsheets. Mom of three. Native Floridian and city girl residing in the cornfields of central Illinois.