Google Docs is a powerful tool that enables users to write from anywhere, collaborate in real time, and ensure their work is always saved and backed up.
All for free.
Most users, however, barely scrape the surface of what’s possible with Google Docs. In Get Shift Done, we’ve been revealing little-known tips & tricks for getting the most out of Docs, and in this post we’ll share the 9 stories our readers loved the most.
Often, we need to use the same photo or block of text for multiple Google Docs. No matter what kind of writing we do, we regularly repeat graphic elements, such as a company logo or or oft-cited trend chart. Here’s a time-saving tip: You can make copying and pasting multiple items an easy task with Google Docs’ own Web Clipboard.
In the example below, we are writing a research piece in Google Docs about the monkeys of Nepal. We want to to copy and paste two photos and a snippet of text that talks about the Money Temple in Kathmandu, and we know we will need them for another article about the Monkeys of Asia.
Google Docs is great for getting everyone literally on the same page. But sometimes it can be difficult to turn that feedback and group brainstorming into actionable tasks for people to go away and do.
Thankfully, Google has implemented ‘action items’ to help with this as part of the built-in commenting functionality. Here’s how to get started.
1. In your Google Doc, select the text you want to comment on:
We’ve all been there. You are typing away in your Google Doc and realize you need to do more research on the subject you are writing about. You find yourself opening up another window in your browser, which leads to checking in on Facebook or Twitter. The next thing you know, several minutes have passed, and you haven’t even gone to Google to search for the subject you were writing about. (Though now you do know how to make a pig’s tail straight.)
Google Docs now has a solution to writer’s distractions, called the “Explore” button. It allows you to research a subject and other topics right in your Google Doc without ever leaving. Beyond minimizing distractions, this feature can help you be more efficient at getting your work done.
Simply hover over the icon in the lower right to see the “explore” button appear.
My dog Terri and I were writing a story for the (fictitious) “HumansAreNice.org” website, when she accidentally wiped out half of the text she had written while she was working on her second draft. We (by which I mean I, because I have opposable thumbs) were using Google Docs because of its vaunted collaboration features. And it has auto-save, so even the dumbest puppy can’t forget to save his work.
Auto-save is a great feature most of the time, but when you inadvertently delete half your story with a single pawstroke— suddenly that auto-save feature is not so good.
So, for instance, imagine that the first draft looked something like this.
Do you record your thoughts in voice notes and then have someone transcribe them? Or, do you want to use voice recognition software, but find it too pricey? You can cut the time and money it takes to transcribe your words by using Google Docs’ voice typing tool.
To start, go up to the main menu of your document. Click on Tools.