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Life hacks for working with Google Docs

Google Docs is like Word, only better. It allows you to work online and offline from a computer or smartphone. And Docs also has functions that make it easier to work with text. Collected in the article those that I use every day.

Please note: to work with Google Docs, you need a Gmail inbox. Register if you don t have it yet, or log in. You can work with the service through Google Drive – it is available to all Gmail mailbox owners.

New document via browser line

You can right-click any empty field in Google Drive to create a document. A window will open in which you need to select a new document. And also a table, presentation, form, etc.

But there is also another way. Enter or in your browser s search box. The new file will open in the same tab.

It will be saved in the main folder of your Google Drive.

Translating .doc (x) file to and from Google Docs

I only work in Google Docs, Word is not activated on my computer, and I cannot work in it. But clients and colleagues sometimes send files in .doc (x) format – their right. The way out in this situation is to translate the document into Google Docs.

All you need to do is upload the file to Google Disc and open it. The system will reformat the document into a convenient format. True, the formatting settings can fly off.

What if you need to send a client a .doc (x) file? Open the “File” tab, find the “Download” item and select the desired format. The file will be saved as you need it.

Comments and advice

I work in conjunction with a marketer and designer. To send or receive feedback, we leave comments to each other in Google Docs. To leave a comment, you need to highlight the text on which you want to draw the attention of a colleague. Two icons will appear on the right: a comment and a tip.

Click on the desired icon. “Comment” is a window in which you write what you want from a colleague: add an image, simplify text, indicate a source, etc. If you want to mention a person, start a comment with @. Google will suggest email addresses from your contacts – select the one you want. The colleague will receive an email notification that he was mentioned in the document.

“Advice” are suggestions that colleagues can make in your text: add words or punctuation marks, delete a block, rewrite a paragraph, etc. Unlike comments, advice appears in the text. They are highlighted in green. All suggested actions are displayed on the right. You, as the author, can accept or reject the offer. If you accept, the edit will be “embedded” into the text, if you reject it, it will disappear.


Keyboard shortcuts are used to quickly format and edit text, to simplify document navigation. Most likely, you know the combinations “Copy” Ctrl (⌘ – for MacOS) + C and “Paste” Ctrl (⌘) + V. But there are more than 140 of them in Google Docs. Here are the most popular:

Ctrl + A – select all text.

Ctrl + F – search in the document.

Ctrl + H – Find and Replace.

Ctrl + B – select text in bold.

Ctrl + U – underline text.

Ctrl + I – select text in italics.

Ctrl + K – paste or edit a link.

Ctrl + Alt + Number 1-6 – Create a heading style.

Ctrl + Shift + 7 – create a numbered list.

Ctrl + Shift + 8 – create a bulleted list.

Ctrl + / – call a menu with hotkeys.

All combinations are collected in the manual “Keyboard shortcuts in Google Docs”…

Add document to favorites

There is an asterisk icon to the right of the file name. Click on it, and the document will become “favorite”.

Why is this needed? Even if you have many folders in Google Drive, you can easily find the file you want. It will be available in the “Flagged” section.


Want to know how many pages, words, characters with and without spaces are in your document? See all this in statistics. It can be called by the combination Ctrl + Shift + С or through the “Tools” section.

The statistics will be displayed on a pop-up screen.

In the item “Show statistics of words when entering text” you can put a tick. Then a window will appear on the left of the document in which the same information will be.

Text formatting

There is a Format tab in the upper pane of Documents. It has many tools to help you style your text: styles, alignment and indents, columns, line spacing, numbering, etc.

I would like to draw your attention to the item “Text”. It has useful features like strikethrough, case substitution, and superscript and subscript. They can also be called by hotkeys.

Custom dictionary

In the Tools section, you can ask the system to check spelling and grammar. Everyone makes mistakes, and Google helps you spot them.

Most likely, you will be using terms that the system does not yet know. To avoid annoyance with red underlines, add these words to your custom dictionary.

Done, now Google will understand you better and will not underline the words that have become known.

View Versions

Sometimes the work in the document takes several days: I write an article, the marketer makes edits, I correct the edits, the marketer leaves new comments … It happens that I delete a comment and then remember that I forgot to take it into account.

Fortunately, Google keeps all versions of the document. You can refer to the story and find the comment you want, even if a colleague left it a week ago. They are all stored in the version history.

Click on the text – the version history will open on the right side of the document.

Choose any version, click on it. You will see what the document was like at that moment. Deleted or added parts will be highlighted in green or strikethrough.

You can copy sentences that you accidentally deleted from the new version, or restore a previous version. In the first case, copy the text with the Ctrl + C key and click on the back arrow. In the second, click on the “Restore this version” button.

AutoCorrect characters

Not all characters, such as dashes, are on the standard keyboard, but Birman typographic layout in my laptop is constantly getting confused. In such moments, autocorrect saves. It can be configured in the “Tools” – “Settings”, the right tab “Replacement”.

You can write your own rules: for example, a double hyphen will be automatically replaced with a dash, and double brackets – with herringbone quotes.

Insert photos and links in a document

Google has integrated a search engine into Docs. This is convenient when you are writing an article and want to supplement it with visuals. To find an image or a link, in the “Tools” tab, select “Advanced Search”. A tab opens on the right side of the document. It will contain a search string. Enter your query and press Enter.

The results will appear in the same tab in the sections “Internet”, “Pictures” and “Disk”.

Insert the pictures or links you need into the document. Don t forget to include the source. We respect copyright, don t we? ?

Recognize text in images and PDFs

If you have a picture with text or a PDF file and want to translate them into text, use the capabilities of Google Docs. Upload your document to Disk. Open the file with Google Docs.

The tool makes mistakes, but works fine overall. In any case, this is much faster than typing the text by hand.

On the left – text from .pdf, on the right – automatically translated text in Google Doc.

Voice input

If you are tired of writing but still have to work, try the voice input function. She copes well with small amounts of text and understands commands like “point”, “comma”, “colon”, etc.

To run the function, enter the combination Ctrl + Shift + S or enable it through the “Tools”. A microphone icon will appear on the left. It will glow red during recording. Click on it to stop recording.

Please note: Voice input only works in the Chrome browser.

additional services

You can add applications to Google Docs to make it even more convenient to work with. They are located in the “Add-ons” tab, the “Install Add-ons” item.

By selecting this item, you will be taken to the Google Workspace Marketplace. There are dozens of add-ons for marketers, copywriters, designers.

Applications are installed directly into Google Docs, do not load the system and do not burden the document.

I use these services:

  • A fresh look… Checks the text, finds unintentional tautologies, pleonasms, repetitions of words. Sometimes it helps a lot.
  • Docs Paragraph Translate… Translates entire paragraphs directly in the document. Convenient when working with English, German or Spanish text.
  • Grammar and Spell Checker – LanguageTool… Finds spelling, grammatical, semantic errors. Supports 25 languages.
  • Highlight Tool For Google Docs… A set of markers that can be used to highlight important points in the text.

Offline access

You can work offline in Google Docs. In this case, you will be able to edit existing files and create new ones. And when you connect to the Internet, the changes are synced.

To activate the function, go to the settings in Google Drive – they are hidden behind the gear icon.

In the item “General settings” you will see the column “Offline access”. Check the box and click on the “Finish” button.

What is the bottom line?

Google Docs is an online service for those who deal with text. You can work in it autonomously, on your own or with colleagues, using additional services. I have highlighted 15 useful functions of Google Docs – they are important for me personally as a person who always writes articles in the service. This one, by the way, too. It s great if you know more.

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