Happy birthday, Google Docs! Check out the app's 15 best features

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As Google Docs officially turns 15 years old, we look astatine immoderate of the app's astir absorbing features.

Screenshot of Google Doc with a ample  "15" highlighted (number successful  Lexend font)

Google Docs turns 15 years aged this month, since the app officially launched successful October 2006, built connected concepts initially implemented by the squad down Writely, which Google acquired. At the time, the existent innovation of the app was multi-person papers editing successful a browser that worked. Years later, collaboration remains a halfway spot of Google Docs.

Over the years, the branding astir Google Docs has changed. It's been portion of Google Apps for your Domain, Google Apps for Work and later, Google Apps (minus the modifiers). For a portion it was portion of G Suite. As of precocious 2021, Google Docs serves alongside different collaborative editors, specified arsenic Google Sheets and Google Slides, arsenic a halfway constituent of Google Workspace.

To admit the 15-year longevity of Google Docs, I'm highlighting 15 cardinal aspects of the app. Many of these you whitethorn know, but I anticipation you find a fewer new-to-you features, arsenic well.

SEE: How to go a Google Docs powerfulness idiosyncratic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

1. Create a caller Doc quickly 

In your browser, benignant doc.new past property Enter to make a caller Google Doc. That eight-key series moves you from browsing to editing rapidly.

2. Talk to benignant

Select Tools | Voice Typing to activate code detection (Figure A) that turns words you talk into substance typed successful your Doc erstwhile you usage the Chrome browser. Pronounce punctuation (e.g., accidental "comma" to adhd the , awesome oregon "question mark" to adhd a ?), adhd paragraphs (e.g., accidental "new paragraph"), prime substance (e.g., "select paragraph") and adhd formatting (e.g., accidental "bold").

Figure A

 A reddish  microphone icon to the near  of the Google Doc, with "Voice typing lets you participate  substance   by speaking." successful  the document.

Select Tools | Voice Typing to entree features that person your code to text.

3. Discuss and edit

Select immoderate text, take Insert | Comment, past adhd your input. The remark strategy provides a mode to sermon papers substance without changes. Alternatively, if you person due permission, power to Suggesting mode to participate projected changes, oregon usage Editing mode to marque updates. 

4. Access papers past

View changes to your Google Doc implicit time. Use File | Version History | Name Current Version to sphere a named mentation of your papers astatine the existent infinitesimal successful time. Or entree some named and automatically saved versions of your papers (as shown successful Figure B) with File | Version History | See Version History.

Figure B

Screenshot of my article, showing my archetypal   database  of 15 features, with edits made to items 3 (Comments modified to Comments and Suggestions) and 4 (Suggestions deleted and replaced by Microsoft Word record  format editing).

Review edits to your Google Doc with mentation history.

5. Edit Microsoft Word files

Early editions of Google Docs converted files from Microsoft Word into the Google Docs editor, which besides enabled collaborative editing. Now, you tin unfastened a Microsoft Word record (e.g., .docx) successful Google Docs and edit it directly, with nary conversion needed. All of the collaborative features of Docs stay disposable erstwhile you edit a .docx record successful its autochthonal format.

SEE: How to adhd citations successful a Google Doc (TechRepublic)

6. Select highly legible fonts 

Since Google Docs lets you prime from a agelong database of fonts, you whitethorn take options different than the default size 11 Arial font. For legibility and readability, I promote you to see either Atkinson Hyperlegible oregon 1 of the respective supported Lexend fonts. These fonts question to marque substance much legible and readable for everyone.

7. Type @ to adhd astute chips

Type the @ cardinal successful a Google Doc to bring up a dynamic database of people, places, files, dates oregon groups. Select immoderate of the items displayed to make what Google calls a astute chip. Each astute spot injects a spot of web-connected magic into your Doc: Additional accusation astir a person, oregon a unrecorded nexus to a Drive record oregon Calendar event. More interestingly, a caller @Meeting notes template (Figure C) adds formatting to your papers and inserts astute chips for each Google Calendar invitee on with a astute spot linked to the Calendar event.

Figure C

Screenshot of an @Meeting notes document, with a day  spot   (Oct 15, 2021), lawsuit   rubric  spot   (Example event), and Attendee database  (three of the author's accounts, successful  this illustration  case).

Type the @ cardinal to show a dynamic database of astute chips. The @Meeting Note enactment draws from Google Calendar to adhd astute chips that nexus to your event, day and attendees successful a template.

8. Check spelling and grammar

If you haven't already, prime Tools | Spelling And Grammar, past marque definite determination are checks adjacent to some Show Spelling Suggestions and Show Grammar Suggestions. These 2 features item some comparatively elemental errors and much hard to observe concerns.

9. Compare 2 documents

Google Docs tin rapidly item differences betwixt 2 Google Docs. To comparison your existent Doc to different one, take Tools | Compare Documents, prime different Google Doc, set the sanction of the idiosyncratic to property differences to (if needed), past Compare. A punctual to unfastened a third, recently created Doc with the differences highlighted volition display.

10. Expand functionality with add-ons

There's a thriving third-party ecosystem (Figure D) tucked down the Add-ons | Get Add-ons paper option. Insert mathematics equations, each sorts of charts oregon adjacent euphony notation into a Google Doc. Other add-ons assistance you streamline signing, signifier citations, negociate merges and people envelopes and labels.

Figure D

 MathType, Lucidchart Diagrams, Doc To Form, Easy Bib, Turnitin Draft Coach, Hypatia Create, Easy Accents - Docs, and Kaizena.

Explore Add-ons | Get Add-ons to find third-party apps that adhd features to Google Docs.

11. Convert your Doc to antithetic formats

Go to File | Download As… and past take a record format successful which to export your Google Doc. As of October 2021, your Doc tin beryllium downloaded arsenic .docx, .odt, .rtf, .pdf, .txt, .epub oregon a compressed .html file.

12. Publish to the web

You besides tin crook a Google Doc into a published web document, disposable to anyone with net access: File | Publish To The Web. This is antithetic from erstwhile you usage the Share fastener to make a link, adjacent if you set the permissions connected that nexus to guarantee your Doc is disposable to everyone connected the web. The Publish enactment puts your Doc online without immoderate of the Google Docs editing interface, though a "Published utilizing Google Docs" announcement does show astatine the apical of the page.

SEE: <strong>How to alteration .docx instauration successful the Google Docs app</strong> (TechRepublic)

13. Translate to different connection

Need your substance successful different language? Try Tools | Translate Document, past prime a connection from the list. You'll get different Doc with your substance successful the selected language. For standard, noncritical concern communication, the results volition apt enactment good without further review. When dealing with ineligible documents, literate oregon poetic connection oregon delicate subjects, I urge you enactment with a quality translator to reappraisal results.

14. Display papers enactment

In an organization, the Activity dashboard helps you larn if (and when) your colleagues person accessed a Doc (Figure E). That accusation whitethorn power the contented you screen erstwhile you meet—or punctual you to postpone gathering until radical person had clip to entree it.

Figure E

Screenshot of Activity dashboard for a illustration   document, which shows that 3  of 4  radical   person  accessed the Google Doc (on Oct 5, Aug 20, and Aug 6), with 1  idiosyncratic    indicated arsenic  not ever   having viewed it.

In an organization, cheque the Activity dashboard to larn if (and when) colleagues person accessed your Google Doc.

15. Edit anyplace

Finally, portion Google Docs delivers the astir full-featured acquisition successful a desktop-class browser (i.e., Chrome), the mobile apps for Android and iOS (and iPadOS) marque it imaginable to view, edit and collaborate connected Docs from phones and tablets, too. And, whether you enactment successful a browser oregon mobile device, if you hap to spell offline, changes you marque tin sync the adjacent clip you link to the internet.

What 15 aspects of Google Docs bash you value?

Are determination cardinal features of Google Docs you usage that I've missed? What 15 features would you take to highlight? Let maine cognize your thoughts, either successful the comments beneath oregon connected Twitter (@awolber).

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