No, it’s not just Microsoft Office in life. If you are looking for free word processing software, free solutions exist online. For example, you can choose to turn to Office Online for free access to a simplified version of Word and other tools from Microsoft’s office suite.
However, if you are a loyal user of Google tools, it is probably better for you to use the office tools integrated into the Google Workspace suite. For word processing, Google Docs will do the trick as a Word replacement. You can also use Google Sheets or Google Slide, two credible alternatives to Excel and PowerPoint.
In addition, adopting Google’s office tools will allow you to constantly keep an up-to-date copy of your documents. They are, in fact, automatically saved on Google Drive. You can therefore access it from any computer, but also from your smartphone. Note, however, that it is advisable to use Google Chromethe home web browser, to be sure to take advantage of all the features offered by Google Docs.
Either way, don’t be fooled by the apparent simplicity of Google Docs. Google’s word processor is full of resources and includes a number of largely underestimated features. You will discover in the following lines a dozen tips that will allow you to master Google Docs like a pro.
1. Enable offline use
You may not know it, but Google Docs includes an Offline mode. Google indeed offers an option which, when activated, allows you to use its tools without an Internet connection. Documents created or edited offline are saved locally on your machine and are automatically synchronized whenever a web connection is available.
First start by downloading and installing the extension Offline Google Drive for Google Chrome.
Then go to Google Drivethen click on the cogwheel icon at the top right, and access the Settings.
In the tab Generalslocate the section offline mode, and check the associated box. You can thus Create, open, and edit your recent Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides files on this device, while offline.
Finally click on OK to save your changes.
2. Dictate your text
If you’re more of a rush type and feel comfortable enough, you can dictate your text directly rather than trudging on the keyboard.
For this, in Google Docsclick on the menu Toolsthen choose Voice input.
A new button featuring a microphone should then appear to the left of your document. Click on the microphone and start dictating your text. Click it again to stop dictating. On first use, you may need to To allow Google Docs at Use your microphone by clicking on the appropriate button.
You can add punctuation directly to your text by saying ” comma », « point “, or ” at the line “. Google Docs will automatically understand these commands and run immediately.
3. Insert images from the web
With Google Docs, you no longer need to save your images locally and then insert them into your documents. It is indeed possible to search for an image online directly from the document being edited.
To do this, click on the menu Insertionthen in Imagechoose Search the web.
A section Google Images should then open to the right of the document. Simply enter your keywords in the search field, select the image of your choice and click the button Insert.
4. Add a watermark to your documents
Are you about to distribute a long document written by you? To avoid having your work stolen, you can mark all the pages of your document by inserting a watermark. Also called Watermark in English, it is a text or an image appearing in transparency in the background of your pages.
To insert a watermark in your document Google Docsclick on the menu Insert then choose the option Watermark.
In the pane Watermark that opens on the right of the screen, choose between Image Where Textand insert the content you want to appear in the background of your document.
Then click on To end to confirm your changes.
5. Embed a document on the canvas
If you happen to publish articles on the web, know that it is quite possible to integrate a Google Docs document into your publications. By doing so, people viewing its content won’t need to navigate directly to the document in Google Docs.
To get the “embed” code, click on the menu Filethen in To shareselect Publish to the web.
Then go to the tab To integrate and click on Publish. You will then obtain the integration code for your document that you will only have to insert into your online publishing tool.
6. Install extensions
One of the great advantages of Google Docs is that it is possible to improve it by installing extensions, like on Chrome. To do this, click on the menu Extensionsthen in the menu Additional modulesselect Download add-ons.
You should then arrive at the Google Workspace Marketplace, the extension store dedicated to Google Docs. After searching and choosing an extension, click on the button Install to add it to Google Docs.
A good way, for example, to supplement the native spell checker of Google Docs with the excellent spelling and grammar checker LanguageTool.
7. Download a local copy of your documents
The documents you create on Google Docs aren’t just meant to be stored on Google Drive. As with any other office suite, you can save a local copy of your documents in various formats.
To download a local copy of the document being edited, click on the menu Filethen in To downloadselect the file format in which you want to get a copy of your document.
You can thus very easily generate the document you have just created in a file in .doc format (compatible with Office), or in PDF format, which is practical if you have to send it to a third party.
8. Compare two documents
Have you just created two fairly similar documents and you can’t find the differences? Do not panic, Google Docs includes a dedicated tool for this.
From one of the documents to compare, click on the menu Tools then choose Compare documents.
In the pop-up that appears, click in the field Select the document to use for the comparison and choose the document to compare with the document being edited. Then click on the button Compare.
Once Google Docs has done its job, a pop-up Comparison completed should open. Click on the button Open to view the differences that have been found.
The comparison page between the two documents is displayed. All elements different from the initial document are displayed in color. In addition, boxes displayed on the right of the screen indicate all the modifications that have been found.
9. Configure auto-replace options
Do you need to use certain special characters frequently? Rather than having to constantly search for them on the menu Insert > Special Characters, you can create replacement shortcuts to make typing them easier. First start by copying the special character you want to be able to type easily to the clipboard.
Then click on the menu Tools and meet in the Preferences.
In the window that appears, select the tab Substitutions. You just have to fill in the shortcut to use in the field Replacethen paste the sign that must replace it in the field By. In our case, we want Google Docs to automatically show the exponent 2 when we type ^2 on the keyboard.
Now, each time you enter the configured shortcut, Google Docs will automatically replace it with the text you gave it.
10. Master the keyboard shortcuts
You will not escape keyboard shortcuts. Like any good self-respecting tool, Google Docs supports a lot of keyboard shortcuts. Google has published the very long list of them on its support pages for Windows, macOS and ChromeOS.
If it seems difficult to remember them all, sort through the shortcuts that seem most useful for your daily tasks and write them down somewhere to help you remember them. Regardless of the tool used, a good knowledge of the supported keyboard shortcuts is essential. By learning them, you will work much faster, reduce repetitive tasks and save valuable time.