You love the flexibility of Google Docs being on the cloud and accessible from anywhere that has an Internet connection. But there are many ways you can improve your productivity and efficiency using features that you may not have been aware of. Let’s check them out!

Using Comments

Here’s a paragraph from Chapter 1 of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield pasted into Google Docs and shared on a common drive. Let’s say your colleagues have invited you to leave comments.

  1. The Add Comment plus sign appears on the right-hand side.

David Copperfield paragraph 1

Note: You can also select the Add a Comment icon from the toolbar at the top or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+M.

Add comment button

  1. Initially, a blank comment box appears along with the name of the user making the comment.
  1. Enter the text for the comment, and click the Comment button.

Blank comment box

  1. The author can make changes based on the comment and then mark the comment as Resolved. The comment will then be hidden.

Mark comment as resolved

  1. The person who left the comment can click the triple-dot menu for other options, such as editing the comment, deleting the comment, or creating a link to the comment.

Comment menu

  1. You can notify individuals about your comments by typing an “@” or a “+” sign and then typing their names. If they’re in your Gmail contacts list, they’ll be notified via email of your comment.

Just think how much easier your work will be with real-time collaboration! No more sending edits and comments back and forth through multiple emails till you get them approved.

Using Suggestions

In addition to viewing documents or adding comments to them, you can also suggest your own additions to the document:

  1. Click the Pencil icon on the main toolbar.
  2. Select Suggesting mode from the dropdown list.

Pencil icon menu

  1. The Pencil icon turns green to remind you that you’re in Suggesting mode. Any suggestions you make in Google Docs will appear in green and will automatically generate a suggestion card.

Green pencil icon

Suggestion card

  1. Click the check mark button on a suggestion card to accept the suggestion, or the “X” to reject it. People with whom the document has been shared, such as the owner or yourself, can also leave comments on suggestions.

Learn how G Suite’s apps will help you run a better business and how it makes working together easy.

Fonts

Google Docs provides you with about two dozen font types. But you’re not just limited to these!

  1. Click the font name on the toolbar. Arial will probably be what you see, since it’s the default font.

Toolbar font box

  1. The Font dropdown appears. Select More fonts… from the list.

Font dropdown menu

The Fonts dialog window appears.

Font dialog window

  1. You can choose to show all fonts or specific groups like Sans Serif.
  2. Click a font name, and a checkmark will appear to its left. All checked fonts will be added to your Fonts dropdown list.
  3. Click the OK button, and you’re ready to start using your new fonts!

Folders

Once you’ve created a new document, where do you put it? Folders have been around for a long time and work on the cloud as well as on your laptop. These allow you to access and share documents.

  1. Go to your Google Drive homepage. You can create a folder there or open an existing folder to create the new folder there.

Google drive homepage

  1. Click the New button.

New button

You’ll have several choices in the dropdown list, including uploading existing files or folders or creating a new folder.

New folder button

  1. Select Folder. The New folder dialog appears. Enter a name for the new folder.

new folder window

  1. Click the Create button to create the new folder. The new folder is highlighted with the owner and creation date shown.

My Drive new folder

Now you have a place where you can store newly created documents or upload documents from your device.

Research Tool

The Research tool is a unique and productive way to search for content or images online, or within your drive, without ever leaving your document. Think of the possibilities!

There are several ways to use this feature.

  1. On the main toolbar at the top, select Tools. The dropdown list appears.

Tools dropdown list

  1. Select Explore. The Explore dialog appears on the right-hand side of your window.
  2. Enter your search text. In the example below, “computer” was entered.

Search result window

You can see content found online on the Web tab.

  1. Click the Images tab to see images found on the Internet.

Images tab

  1. Click the Drive tab to locate documents containing the search word or words.

Drive tab

  1. Insert the content into your document.

Another way to access this feature is to select the desired text in the document, right-click on it, and select Explore from the dropdown. In the example below, the word “hero” was selected.

Right click Explore

Find and Replace

If you’re familiar with find and replace in Microsoft Word, then you’ll be happy to know that this feature is also in Google Docs.

  1. Select the Edit option from the main toolbar. The dropdown list appears.

Toolbar Edit drop down

  1. Click on Find and replace… to open the dialog box.

Find and replace

  1. Enter the text for which you wish to search.
  2. Enter the text with which you want to replace the original text.

Note that you have several options to choose from:

  • Match case. Only searches for the text with the case specified. For example, if you search for “Map”, it will find “Map” but not “map”. If the checkbox is not selected, it will find both “Map” and “map”.
  • Match using regular expressions. Find and replace strings of text, including characters, numbers, words, or patterns, with regular expressions. Use this when you’re not looking for an exact match but results that are similar to a specified pattern. See the Google Help for more information about regular expressions.
  • Replace the current highlighted result.
  • Replace All. Replace all instances of the searched text.
  • Prev/Next. Go to the previous or next occurrence of the searched text.

Google Docs in a Nutshell

In this article we decided to explain just a few features but to do so in depth. We described how to use comments and suggestions to exchange ideas and collaborate about content. We showed you how to download just the right font to use in your documents and files. We helped you organize your files into folders to more easily find content. We described the powerful Explore tool that lets you research and add information as well as images to your documents. Finally we showed you how to find and replace content to help you stay consistent in your work. We hope you find the information a good addition to what you already know on the Google suite.

Written by Mathieu Pipe-Rondeau Marketing Communications Specialist @ SherWeb