Want to know 7 Google Docs tips and tricks to make you look like a pro user, or maybe a little geeky? Read on to find out or watch our video for a full walkthrough.
1. Best Place to Start Your Google Docs
You might think this is obvious, but this tip may make you rethink how you are accessing your Google Docs. Opening your Google Docs from the location you want to be stored will help you keep your Drive and Docs nicely organized.
You have a few different options on how to open up your Google Docs. If you have a Google website open, you can go up to your app launchpad and click on Docs to open up the application. From there, you can start a new blank document. However, once you’re started working on it, it will store itself in the main folder of your Google Drive.
If this has happened to you and you want your document in a folder, find the document in your Drive and drag it drop it into the folder you want, or right-click the document and click Move To to move it to the folder.
To keep things organized, you can start a new document in a Drive folder. If you have your Drive organized by folders, open it up and then click NEW > Google Docs on the top left corner. A new blank document will be created, and it’ll automatically be saved in the folder you have open.
2. Advanced Sharing
This is often overlooked. Sharing is a really easy thing to do with Google Docs and many of the other Google apps. At the top right of any Google Doc you’re working on is the Share button. You can share with any of your contacts, email addresses, or anyone else if you share via URL link.
Take a look at the bottom right-hand corner of the share box to see the Advanced settings button. Click Advanced to open share settings that will give you more control.
One advanced setting is the ability to set expiration dates on the documents you share. Once you’ve opened Advanced settings, type the name of the person you want to invite to edit your document and hit Send. Click on the icon to the right of their name and hit Set Expiration to set a time and date that they can edit the document.
If you share a document with somebody and want to make sure that they received it, you can also click “Send a copy to myself” before you send it off. You’ll receive a copy of the same email that they receive when you share the Google Doc with them.
3. In Comments Assign Users and Individual Tasks
If you’ve used comments before on Google Docs, you know how they work. You can highlight any words or paragraphs that you want to add a note to, click the message box on the top right corner (beside the Share button), and click Comment to type in your note. You can also hover over a paragraph on the right margin to add a comment as well.
You can do much more with comments. After you select an area in your doc, click on comment. The comment will show up on the right of the screen. Now simply assign a task from your document by typing a “+” followed by the name or email of the user you want to assign the task. Notice you can assign it to that person with a click of the box. They will be notified that they have been assigned to that document with the comment you’ve highlighted.
You can also essentially make a comment act like a task in a document. When you’ve typed in the user you’re sending the comment to, you can click “Assign to” in the comment, and they will be notified and responsible for marking the comment as done.
4. Force a Copy or Preview of Your Google Docs
This is a handy feature to force a user to open your document as a copy or open in preview so they can only see it. Forcing a copy can be a good tool to use if the person you’re sending it to isn’t sure how to make a copy themselves, you can send it over to them.
Here’s a simple way to force a copy of your document. If you take a look at the URL of your Google Docs document that you have open, notice at the end of the URL “/edit” is written. This means you’re on the original document that you’re editing.
If you change the “edit” at the end of the URL to “copy” and hit enter, a page will come up, prompting you to make a copy of the document. You can copy and paste that URL into an email and send it to anyone. They’ll get that prompt and click “Make a copy” to add it to their Google Drive.
You can also change the end of the URL to “preview,” you can send a preview of the document to anybody as well. This is just a view of the document, and they won’t be able to edit it.
5. Using the Explore Feature For Research
This is a fun feature in Google Docs that can enhance the quality of your work. Click on Explore in the bottom right-hand corner. Explore will go through your document for any keywords and search the web or your Google Drive based on what you have written in your document.
Quickly research other websites or scholarly documents with this feature. This is great if you find you’re clicking from Google Docs to your web search and jumping between the two. The Explore bar sits on the side of the document and can give you a fast and easy reference.
When you’ve searched something in Explore, you can search between a Google search, a Google image search, and a search through your Drive. When you click on a web search link, it’ll open up that webpage in a new tab.
If you use the info you found in that web search, and you want to cite it, hover over the link to find the “Cite as footnote” button. Google will automatically cite the work for you. To change the type of citation, you can click on the three dots on the link to change from APA, MLA, and Chicago.
Explore will also find pictures to match your document topic. You can search for images and drag and drop your image.
To search your Google Drive, click on the Drive tab to see any documents you’ve made that’s similar to what you’ve searched.
Watch this walkthrough video to see how to work with and format images in Google Docs and Google Slides.
6. Star and Move Shortcut Icons
The star and move icons are often overlooked but really handy tools if you return to a certain document a lot or need a document moved. Right beside your document’s name on the top left corner, you will see a star and a folder. If you want to quickly move your document to a certain folder in your Google Drive, you can click this and navigate to the folder you want and click Move here to move it to its new location.
The star icon is great if the document you’re working on is an important document that you’ve been working on. Just simply hit the star icon, and it’ll show up in the Starred tab in your Google Drive. You’ll be able to quickly access this document on your Google Drive homepage by clicking the Starred category on the left hand side. The document will still stay in the folder it was in; this is a great quick access tool for important documents.
7. The Always Important Revision History
Revision History can be a total lifesaver and what makes Google Docs so useful when working with other people or on your own.
Google Docs saves the full revision history, meaning any new additions or changes that have been made to your document will be accessible to you to view and even restore. You can go back in time through your document to change it back to a previous version of it.
To see the doc’s revision history, go to File > See revision history, or click on the grey text showing the edit history beside “Help” (it usually says “All changes saved in Drive” but may say something different depending on when you last edited it).
The Revision History bar will show up on the right side of the window, and you’ll be able to see everyone who’s worked on the doc and each date and time the changes were made. If you click on the dropdown arrow beside the revision date, you can see a more detailed version of when these edits were made.
If you want to restore a previous version of the document, you can click on a revision to see what the document looked like before and the changes that were made, which will be highlighted. Once it’s clicked, you can click “RESTORE THIS REVISION” to return to the previous version of the document. It’s also a great way to check out who’s done what in a group work document.
Want more interesting tips? Check out this quick video on how to get more fonts in Google Docs as well as Google Slides here: