How To

Secret Google Docs tips and tricks

Secret Google Docs tips and tricks
Patrick Devaney

Patrick Devaney

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Everybody has used a word-processing package at some point in their lives, the most established and well-known being Microsoft Word. However, Google now offers an attractive alternative for creating professional-looking documents in the office or at home. Google Docs is a complete online-based word processing app that can be accessed easily by creating a new document from your Google Drive ( ) or going to

Not only is Google Docs an effective package for creating documents, but it also includes a smorgasbord of features. These valuable features will help you save time and produce more visually pleasing documents.

So here are some handy Google Docs Tips to help you on your way to becoming a pro user.

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Tips to help you use Google Docs

The Google apps are more powerful than ever and give anybody with a Google account access to powerful tools that rival those you’ll find in Microsoft Office. Google Docs work best on the Google Chrome browser but they do also work on other browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge. These are our top tips for Google Docs.

1.  Keyboard Shortcuts

As with most applications, Google Docs has a wide range of keyboard shortcuts to help you write and format your work without the use of your mouse. This will help you edit documents more efficiently and also help prevent the type of wrist pain associated with overusing your mouse.

The most common action shortcuts that people should know are copy, paste, and cut (Ctrl + C/V/X). Useful text formatting shortcuts include bold, italicize, and underline (Ctrl + B/I/U), and you can increase and decrease the font size on the fly by holding Ctrl and Shift and pressing the< > keys.

There are also controls for paragraph formatting, image formatting, comments and footnotes, menu navigation, and many more. A full list of shortcuts can be found here and you can pick the ones you frequently use and

2.  Voice Typing

voice typing google docs

Most computers now come with built-in microphones and you can easily pick up a decent one for the price of a coffee or two. So, why not make use of your voice, when creating important documents and relax your precious digits for a while.

Google Docs has a built-in voice typing feature that listens to your voice and can quickly put your ideas into text.  It can understand voices in 48 languages and even recognize some regional variants.  You can also instruct the use of basic punctuation and use commands to edit and format your document. A list of these commands can be found here.

It’s a helpful tool for people who need a break from typing but also a huge advantage for those people who have disabilities or injuries.  You can activate it in the ‘tools’ drop-down menu or by the shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+S (Windows) and CMD+SHIFT+S (Mac).

3.  Document Templates

An awesome design feature of Google Docs is the ability to create a document using one of the many pre-designed templates available.  These templates offer easy to edit layouts for a wide range of documents including school reports, resumes, and legal documents.

The templates are accessed when creating a new document. When you open Docs you’ll see the openinggallery with templates grouped into different themes.  You can also view the templates by going to and clicking on the template gallery.

4.  Custom Templates

Google already provides you with some beautiful templates to choose from, but maybe they are not exactly what you are looking for.  So, how about saving a massive amount of time by uploading your own custom templates for the documents you use the most.  This can be done by going to, clicking on the template gallery, and then summit template. A window then appears where you can select your own custom template document that you have saved to your Google Drive.

5.  Collaboration in real-time

Collaboration is a huge feature within Google’s suite of apps.  It allows you to quickly share your documents with friends and colleagues and edit them together in real-time. Once a document has been shared, the collaborators have the option to highlight text in the document and add their own comments for the other users to read.  In addition, if you are all logged into the document there is a chat option that enables you to share your ideas with group members instantly.

6. Version History

Ever gone back to a document and realized that you have accidentally deleted a chunk of text by mistake.   Well, this life-saving feature lets you get a full list of different versions of your documents dating back to its creation.  All you have to do is click file-version history-see version history and a list of versions of past versions of your document will appear.  If you are collaborating on a document, it will conveniently show you the person who was editing the document at that time so you can give them a good telling off for their mistakes.

7.  Custom Fonts

Google Docs has a range of attractive fonts already built into its drop-down menu, and helpfully lists the fonts you use the most at the top.  If you get bored of these fonts or you are simply looking for a new look for a document, you can click ‘more fonts’ at the top of this menu you will be greeted by an extensive list of fonts to customize your font menu with.   There are literally hundreds to choose from so it might take some time to get through all of them.  However, Google has made it easier to choose a suitable font by showing its use in sentences on the Google Fonts page, so take a look.

8.  The Explore Research Tool

Explore research

Have you ever gotten sick of switching between your word processor and internet browser when researching for an important project?  Well, You should take a look at the explore tool in Google Docs, as it helps you get some research without having to leave your document.  All you have to do is simply click the explore button located at the bottom right of the document screen.  As if by magic, a side screen slides in showing related research, topics, and images for you to review.

If you want to research specific words in your document you can type them into the search or highlight them and right click and go to explore.  The search function will display pages from the web, images and will even search your google drive.  As you can imagine the search function is second to none with Google being the biggest search engine on the planet.

Patrick Devaney

Patrick Devaney

Patrick Devaney is a news reporter for Softonic, keeping readers up to date on everything affecting their favorite apps and programs. His beat includes social media apps and sites like Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat. Patrick also covers antivirus and security issues, web browsers, the full Google suite of apps and programs, and operating systems like Windows, iOS, and Android.

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