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Google Docs Tips and Tricks

Google Docs Tips and Tricks

Since Google Docs was launched in March 2006, anyone who was a writer switched to the cloud-based service and never looked back. Even if you’re already aware of the multi-user capabilities, keyboard shortcuts and other advantages of Google Docs, there are a few tricks you might have not yet heard of.

From using Google Docs offline to transcribing audio files with Google’s voice typing feature, here are some Google Docs tips and tricks you should definitely look into:

1. How to Use Google Docs Online

 

One of the riskiest things about using cloud-based platforms is the challenges it has when one loses internet connection. If there happens to be a power outage or network maintenance, one has to wait hours before they can get back online.

Google Docs makes it convenient to access and even edit your documents while offline. All you need is a Chrome browser and be signed into your account on the browser. For Chromebook users, the task is already done and Google Docs will work offline right out of the box.

First and foremost, ensure that you have the Google Docs Offline Chrome Extension. In case it’s already installed without your knowledge, check to see if the link says ‘Install’ or ‘Remove’. Navigate to your Google Drive Settings and check the box next to the option saying ‘Sync Google Docs, Sheets, Slides & Drawings files to this computer so that you can edit offline.’

This allows users to access a file in Google Docs while offline. To edit a file offline, right click on the document and toggle the switch for ‘Available Offline’.

2. Checking Word Counts in Google Docs

When you’re preparing an assignment for schoolwork or writing an article, Google Docs makes it easy to check the word counts once you’re done and even has a feature that shows you the word count as you write.

To check the word count, open the Google Doc you want to check. Click ‘Tools’ at the top of the screen, then ‘Word count’. Alternatively, you can also use a keyboard shortcut: Ctrl + Shift + C.

The pop-up window will display the current page count, word count, character count and character count without spaces. Beneath that, you’ll see a toggle suggesting ‘Display word count while typing.’ Enabling it will bring up a small box in the corner with a constantly updating word count that can be quite useful when following word requirements on your work.

3. Voice-to-Text Typing

Google Docs now has an accurate, built-in voice recognition that enables you to type with your voice. Only available in Chrome browsers, you can type and edit by speaking in Google Docs or in Google Slides speaker notes.

To enable the feature, your computer microphone has to be on and working. Devices and microphones vary, therefore, check your computer manual for instructions. You can find the microphones settings in the Control Panel of your PC.

Start voice typing in a document

  • Check whether the microphone works.
  • Open a document in Google Docs on Chrome browser.
  • Click Tools and then Voice typing. A microphone box appears.
  • When you’re ready to speak, click the microphone.
  • Speak clearly, at a normal volume and pace.
  • When you’re done, click the microphone again.

You can use these phrases to add punctuation to your text: Period, Comma, Exclamation point, Question mark, New line and New paragraph

Start voice typing in Slides speaker notes

  • Check if the microphone works.
  • Open a presentation in Google Slides on Chrome browser.
  • Click Tools and then Voice type speaker notes. The speaker notes open, and a microphone box appears.
  • When you’re ready to speak, click the microphone.
  • Speak clearly, at a normal volume and pace
  • When you’re done, click the microphone again.

Correct mistakes while voice typing

If you make a mistake while you’re typing with your voice, you can move your cursor to the mistake and fix it without turning off the microphone. After you correct the mistake, move the cursor back to where you want to continue.

To see a list of suggestions, right-click words underlined in grey.

4. Version History

Sometimes one makes mistakes while editing a text and reversing them can be easy with other word processors. However, have you been in a situation where you tried clicking ‘undoing’ severally to correct a mistake you made? This tool is usually limited and one can’t go back to the desired point.

With Google Docs, there’s a ‘Version History’ where one can see everything that was changed and also restore these other versions.

To access this tab, go to the page’s top and click on ‘All changes saved in Drive’. You will find a complete activity log, with the user names, times, and the dates when the document was modified. The parts of the text that were changed will be highlighted. This is a great opportunity to track what is being done with the document.

5. Use Research Tools

Did you that there are online research tools you can use when you’re writing? You don’t have to open your browser and copy paste. To improve your workflow and efficiency, one can simply do it straight from the Google Docs page.

To access the tool, click on the ‘Tools’ menu option at the top of your document, then select ‘Explore’ from the drop-down list. This opens up a window on the right-hand side of your document. One can either use the search bar to search the web, browse for images, or search through existing documents on your Google Drive.

Conclusion

If Google Docs is an integral part of your workflow, then implementing these tips will make your work easier.