Wed. Oct 27th, 2021

As Google Docs formally turns 15 years outdated, we have a look at a few of the app’s most fascinating options.

Screenshot of Google Doc with a large

Screenshot of Google Doc by Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

Google Docs turns 15 years outdated this month, because the app formally launched in October 2006, constructed on ideas initially applied by the group behind Writely, which Google acquired. On the time, the actual innovation of the app was multi-person doc modifying in a browser that labored. Years later, collaboration stays a core energy of Google Docs.

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Through the years, the branding round Google Docs has modified. It has been a part of Google Apps in your Area, Google Apps for Work and later, Google Apps (minus the modifiers). For some time it was a part of G Suite. As of late 2021, Google Docs serves alongside different collaborative editors, comparable to Google Sheets and Google Slides, as a core element of Google Workspace.

To acknowledge the 15-year longevity of Google Docs, I am highlighting 15 key features of the app. Many of those you could know, however I hope you discover a number of new-to-you options, as effectively.

SEE: Tips on how to turn out to be a Google Docs energy person (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

1. Create a brand new Doc shortly 

In your browser, kind then press Enter to create a brand new Google Doc. That eight-key sequence strikes you from looking to modifying quickly.

2. Discuss to kind

Choose Instruments | Voice Typing to activate speech detection (Determine A) that turns phrases you communicate into textual content typed in your Doc if you use the Chrome browser. Pronounce punctuation (e.g., say “comma” so as to add the , image or “query mark” so as to add a ?), add paragraphs (e.g., say “new paragraph”), choose textual content (e.g., “choose paragraph”) and add formatting (e.g., say “daring”).

Determine A

Screenshot of Google Docs in Chrome, with Voice Typing active: A red microphone icon to the left of the Google Doc, with

Choose Instruments | Voice Typing to entry options that convert your speech to textual content.

3. Talk about and edit

Choose some textual content, select Insert | Remark, then add your enter. The remark system supplies a method to focus on doc textual content with out modifications. Alternatively, if in case you have applicable permission, change to Suggesting mode to enter proposed modifications, or use Enhancing mode to make updates. 

4. Entry doc historical past

View modifications to your Google Doc over time. Use File | Model Historical past | Title Present Model to protect a named model of your doc on the present second in time. Or entry each named and routinely saved variations of your doc (as proven in Determine B) with File | Model Historical past | See Model Historical past.

Determine B

Screenshot of my article, showing my initial list of 15 features, with edits made to items 3 (Comments modified to Comments and Suggestions) and 4 (Suggestions deleted and replaced by Microsoft Word file format editing).

Assessment edits to your Google Doc with model historical past.

5. Edit Microsoft Phrase recordsdata

Early editions of Google Docs transformed recordsdata from Microsoft Phrase into the Google Docs editor, which additionally enabled collaborative modifying. Now, you’ll be able to open a Microsoft Phrase file (e.g., .docx) in Google Docs and edit it instantly, with no conversion wanted. The entire collaborative options of Docs stay accessible if you edit a .docx file in its native format.

SEE: Tips on how to add citations in a Google Doc (TechRepublic)

6. Choose extremely legible fonts 

Since Google Docs lets you choose from a protracted listing of fonts, you could select choices apart from the default dimension 11 Arial font. For legibility and readability, I encourage you to think about both Atkinson Hyperlegible or one of many a number of supported Lexend fonts. These fonts search to make textual content extra legible and readable for everybody.

7. Kind @ so as to add good chips

Kind the @ key in a Google Doc to carry up a dynamic listing of individuals, locations, recordsdata, dates or teams. Choose any of the gadgets exhibited to create what Google calls a wise chip. Every good chip injects a little bit of web-connected magic into your Doc: Extra details about an individual, or a reside hyperlink to a Drive file or Calendar occasion. Extra curiously, a brand new @Assembly notes template (Determine C) provides formatting to your doc and inserts good chips for every Google Calendar invitee together with a wise chip linked to the Calendar occasion.

Determine C

Screenshot of an @Meeting notes document, with a date chip (Oct 15, 2021), event title chip (Example event), and Attendee list (three of the author's accounts, in this example case).

Kind the @ key to show a dynamic listing of good chips. The @Assembly Notice possibility attracts from Google Calendar so as to add good chips that hyperlink to your occasion, date and attendees in a template.

8. Examine spelling and grammar

If you have not already, choose Instruments | Spelling And Grammar, then be certain there are checks subsequent to each Present Spelling Ideas and Present Grammar Ideas. These two options spotlight each comparatively easy errors and tougher to detect issues.

9. Evaluate two paperwork

Google Docs can shortly spotlight variations between two Google Docs. To match your present Doc to a different one, select Instruments | Evaluate Paperwork, choose one other Google Doc, regulate the identify of the individual to attribute variations to (if wanted), then Evaluate. A immediate to open a 3rd, newly created Doc with the variations highlighted will show.

10. Develop performance with add-ons

There is a thriving third-party ecosystem (Determine D) tucked behind the Add-ons | Get Add-ons menu possibility. Insert math equations, all kinds of charts and even music notation right into a Google Doc. Different add-ons allow you to streamline signing, manage citations, handle merges and print envelopes and labels.

Determine D

Screenshot of the Google Workspace Marketplace: Works with Docs that displays after you select Get add-ons. Items listed include: MathType, Lucidchart Diagrams, Doc To Form, Easy Bib, Turnitin Draft Coach, Hypatia Create, Easy Accents - Docs, and Kaizena.

Discover Add-ons | Get Add-ons to search out third-party apps that add options to Google Docs.

11. Convert your Doc to totally different codecs

Go to File | Obtain As… after which select a file format by which to export your Google Doc. As of October 2021, your Doc might be downloaded as .docx, .odt, .rtf, .pdf, .txt, .epub or a compressed .html file.

12. Publish to the net

You can also flip a Google Doc into a broadcast internet doc, accessible to anybody with web entry: File | Publish To The Internet. That is totally different from if you use the Share button to create a hyperlink, even when you regulate the permissions on that hyperlink to make sure your Doc is on the market to everybody on the internet. The Publish possibility places your Doc on-line with none of the Google Docs modifying interface, though a “Revealed utilizing Google Docs” discover does show on the prime of the web page.

<sturdy>Tips on how to allow .docx creation within the Google Docs app</sturdy>


13. Translate to a different language

Want your textual content in one other language? Attempt Instruments | Translate Doc, then decide a language from the listing. You will get one other Doc along with your textual content within the chosen language. For traditional, noncritical enterprise communication, the outcomes will doubtless work effectively with out further assessment. When coping with authorized paperwork, literary or poetic language or delicate topics, I like to recommend you’re employed with a human translator to assessment outcomes.

14. Show doc exercise

In a corporation, the Exercise dashboard helps you be taught if (and when) your colleagues have accessed a Doc (Determine E). That info could affect the content material you cowl if you meet—or immediate you to postpone assembly till individuals have had time to entry it.

Determine E

Screenshot of Activity dashboard for a sample document, which shows that three of four people have accessed the Google Doc (on Oct 5, Aug 20, and Aug 6), with one person  indicated as not ever having viewed it.

In a corporation, examine the Exercise dashboard to be taught if (and when) colleagues have accessed your Google Doc.

15. Edit wherever

Lastly, whereas Google Docs delivers essentially the most full-featured expertise in a desktop-class browser (i.e., Chrome), the cellular apps for Android and iOS (and iPadOS) make it attainable to view, edit and collaborate on Docs from telephones and tablets, too. And, whether or not you’re employed in a browser or cellular gadget, when you occur to go offline, modifications you make can sync the following time you connect with the web.

What 15 features of Google Docs do you worth?

Are there key options of Google Docs you employ that I’ve missed? What 15 options would you select to focus on? Let me know your ideas, both within the feedback beneath or on Twitter (@awolber).

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