The top Google Docs tips and tricks to try today – Android Police

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With working from home and side hustles being as popular as ever, it's more important than ever to know how to deliver professional, presentable work, whether that be in the form of physical products or services. Sooner or later, you'll have to use a text editor to create some form of document for a client or employer.
While Google Docs is about as powerful a text editor as one could ask for, it's only going to be as good as its operator. That being the case, why not brush up on some of our favorite Google Docs tips and tricks to get you up to speed on Google's replacement for Word?
One of the best ways to create a consistent aesthetic in a text document is to use a template. You can create a document using one of the available online templates and be done with it. Still, it's also a good idea to customize the document formatting so that it doesn't look too generic. The best way to do this is to use the Styles pane in Docs.
When you format a document using styles—adding headings where necessary and using a defined style for body text—it's easy to adjust text styles after the fact and apply those changes to all the text that conforms to the style.
To adjust a style, highlight your example text and make the necessary changes to formatting. With the text highlighted, click the Styles drop-down menu, hover over the style you want to adjust, then click Update 'style name' to match. All the text with the applied style automatically adjusts to the new style.
If you need to include content from another Google suite app, like Sheets, in your text document, you can easily insert that info with a URL—no more blurry screenshots. Although, there are limitations as to what you can include. For example, you can only include charts and tables containing up to 400 cells from Sheets.
To insert a linked object from another Google program (a chart from Sheets in this example), follow these steps:
The chart you imported is linked to the original spreadsheet it came from, so any changes on either end will reflect on the other as well. You can unlink the chart by clicking on the chart and clicking Unlink in the drop-down in the upper-right corner of the chart.
Extensions and add-ons are a valuable part of almost all of Google's office suite, and they can provide value to the end user—from adding fonts to creating wireframes, building highly customizable charts, or simplifying the process of typing odd characters.
You can view and add extensions and add-ons by clicking Extensions in the top toolbar. Selecting Add-ons > Get Add-ons takes you to the add-ons store, where you can browse a vast library of add-ons from the community and developers, large and small.
Not all add-ons can be trusted, and some may not be entirely stable, so caveat emptor.
Creating an outline in a document can help you keep things organized and get a good overview when navigating through it, especially for thousand-page-long training manuals. The document overview starts with good formatting. If you have a heading, apply the correct heading style using the drop-down menu or by pressing Alt+Shift+(1/2/3), with the number in brackets dictating the type of heading you want. Docs keeps track of which headings are where and automatically builds an overview and table of contents in the background.
To view the document outline:
Later, when you're buttoning down a document, you can use those same headings and formatting to create a table of contents by clicking Insert > Table of contents.
Suggestion mode is a method of editing that doesn't immediately apply your changes to a document. Instead, Docs tracks your changes and puts a comment next to any changes with a prompt to save or disregard the changes. Suggestion mode is particularly useful when more than one person is working on a document at a time.
By default, Docs opens documents in edit mode. To activate suggestion mode, click the button with the word Editing and a small pencil symbol inside it. You'll see a pop-up containing the Suggesting and Viewing options. Click Suggesting to go into suggestion mode. Any changes you make will not automatically apply without revision and manual approval.
Speaking of easy-of-use features, Docs has a built-in voice recognition function that you can use to create and edit documents. Dictation is particularly helpful if you're doing research and need to make short notes on the side while you read a document. As long as your computer has a microphone connected to it, you can activate and use voice typing from the tools menu or by pressing Ctrl+Shift+S. When you activate voice typing, you'll see a large microphone pop-up appear in the Docs browser window. Click the microphone to start and stop voice typing.
Voice typing lets you enter more than just words, allowing you to dictate punctuation, formatting, and insertions like page breaks.
If you're someone that frequently gets words mixed up—English isn't the simplest language, after all—the Docs built-in dictionary is bound to come in handy, especially when you're tired and pulling an all-nighter to get that report done.
To use the built-in dictionary, highlight the word you want to define, then press Ctrl+Shift+Y to open the dictionary side panel with the definition of your highlighted word.
Citations can be tricky, especially if you're new to the idea or recently switched from one referencing system to another. Fortunately, you can add in-text citations step by step in Docs. You can also create a bibliography or references section when you're done adding all your citations. Docs only supports APA, Chicago, and MLA formats, so if you need to use another system, you'll have to do it manually or use an extension.
If you're tired of opening up the character map or remembering Alt codes for those weird symbols you need to use all the time, use Docs to build those symbols from other characters. You could take this one step further and use the substitution to build your own shorthand for note-taking or transcription.
To automatic substitution in Docs, follow these steps:
Google Docs is a perfectly serviceable text editor, especially if you want to share and collaborate. Although, the Docs app for Android certainly needs some work to make it competitive, especially considering how great the best Android tablets are getting. Fortunately, if you insist on taking your writing tasks on the run, there are plenty of viable Docs alternatives floating about.
Julian is a staunch advocate for open source software, leading to the natural conclusion of being a lifelong Android user. While he only started his writing career in January 2022—at the ripe old age of 26—his passion for tech and how we interact with it fortuitously led to him writing news, how-tos, and features for multiple publications. Despite mostly focusing on Android, Julian also writes about computer hardware, software, and gaming over at Notebookcheck. Julian spent his formative years disassembling, reassembling, breaking, and sometimes fixing his and his family's technology, ultimately leading him to become an undergraduate industrial design student. He uses his formal education to inform his opinions on user interface design, ergonomics, and usability, as well as communicate how best to use the tech we have at our disposal.


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