Get More Out Of Google Docs: GOOGLE DRIVE SECRETS
It’s fair to say that we are fans of Google’s online productivity tools.
This feature was written in Google Docs, and much of the copy that appears in print has been shared using Google Drive.
So over the years, we’ve gathered more than our fair share of tips for getting the most out of the online office suite: here, we shares the best of them.
Get More Out Of Google Docs
Google Docs is a word processor, and that means typing – right? Well, not necessarily.
If you have an Android phone or a Google Home device you’ll be familiar with Google’s impressive voice-recognition capabilities;
what you may not realise is that they’re also built into Google Docs.
Voice input is accurate, fast – and free, so you’ve nothing to lose by trying it out.
The only requirement is that you’ll need to be working in Chrome.
To enable voice input, simply position your cursor anywhere in your document and pick “Voice Typing…” from the Tools menu – or press Ctrl+Shift+S.
Click the microphone icon on the floating dialog that pops up and allow Chrome to access your microphone.
You can now dictate text and have your words entered directly into your document.
Click the mic a second time when you’ve finished. If you can, it’s best to use a dedicated microphone, but we’ve had good results with built-in microphones on laptops and all-in-one desktop PCs.
Google voice typing isn’t as full-featured as commercial alternatives such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking.
For one thing, it doesn’t let you make corrections using your voice, so the quickest way to amend mistakes is to manually move the cursor and make your edits by hand.
What’s more, while voice typing can recognise over 100 languages and dialects, punctuation is only available in six as follows:
English, German, French, Spanish, Russian and Italian – and it’s limited to full stop (“period”), comma, exclamation mark (“exclamation point”), question mark, new line and new paragraph.
Still, that covers the vast majority of what you might want to say, and it’s a small price to pay considering that the feature is completely free.
Publish and be damned
Have you ever wanted to publish your own ebook?
But if you’re putting together a small document for personal or corporate use, you can rely on the tools built in to Google Docs.
At its simplest, Docs lets you output your document in EPUB format, which is compatible with Google Play Books, Apple Books, Kobo and many third-party ebook readers.
to do this, just pick “EPUB publication (.epub)” from the “Download As…” sub-section of the File menu.
For best results, be assiduous in your use Of paragraph styles.
If you format your document using Docs’ built-in heading styles (Heading 1, Heading 2 and so on), and use the “Normal text” style for body text, your EPUB will include an automatically generated table of contents.
Lower-ranking headings will be organised as sub-sections within their higher-ranking neighbours, allowing readers to quickly and easily find the section they need.
The only important limitation to note is that EPUB files can’t be natively read on Amazon Kindle devices,
you’ll have to use the free Calibre tool (calibre-ebook.com) to convert them to a supported format.
Put on a brave face
Tired of writing everything in Arial? The font menu in Google Docs contains a good set of alternatives – and there are hundreds more to choose from.
You’ll find them by selecting “More fonts…” from the top of the font menu.
Note that these fonts aren’t downloaded to your computer, but referenced from Google’s online library –
which means you can share the document with others and have absolute confidence that it will look the same for them as it does for you.
Style it out
If you regularly turn to the same set of fonts and paragraph settings, you can set these as your default text styles.
To redefine your body text, select a paragraph and tweak the font settings, spacing, indents and so on until you have it looking just right.
Then, click the Styles menu from the toolbar, hover over “Normal text”, click the arrow that appears to the right of its name and pick “Update Normal text to match” from the flyout; this will now be the default style for body text.
Repeat the process by reformatting your text and redefining other styles in the same way.
At first, these redefined styles will apply only to the current document – but you can make them the default for every new document you create.
Just open the styles menu and pick “Save as my default styles” from the flyout that appears when you hover over “Options…”.
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Harness the power of Google’s online translation engine directly by creating a foreign-language edition of your current document from within Docs itself.
Simply select “Translate document…” from the Tools menu, provide a new filename for the translated result and pick the language into which you want to convert it.
Headers and footers
In Word, you can double-click the top or bottom of the page to create and edit a header or footer.
In Google Docs, you do this from the Insert menu. What’s less obvious is how you resize the areas set aside for them: to find these controls, pick “Headers & Footers…” from the Format menu.
Note that this is separate from the page margin controls, which you can amend by picking “Page setup…” from the File menu.
A helping hand
Pick Explore from the Tools menu to open a useful research tool that monitors what you’re writing and suggests resources.
For example, we mentioned Scrivener above, so it appears in our sidebar.
Clicking this opens web links with text previews – and if we copy and paste any of the contents, we can click the quote mark icon that next to the relevant entry, and a footnote will automatically be created.
There’s also a useful search box at the top of the Explore bar, allowing us to do a direct Google search
for anything that Docs hasn’t automatically picked up.
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