How to use Google Docs – A Complete Guide

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- Written by Puneet

What is Google Docs?

Google Docs is a web-based (online) word processor application (free to use with a Google Account) developed and provided by Google. It allows you to collaborate on creating, editing, and storing documents in various formats, such as .doc, .pdf, .odt, .txt, and more.

Create a New Document in Google Docs

There are three ways to create a new document in Google Docs.

1. Google Docs Home Page

  • Enter docs.google.com in your web browser’s address bar to the Google Docs home page. You must be signed in to your Google account.
  • Once on the Google Docs home page, you can start a new document by clicking on the + (blank document) icon, often in the top left corner of the page under the “Start a new document” section.

Note – You can also click on the Template gallery to select a pre-designed template as the basis for your new document.

2. From Google Drive

  1. Navigate to Google Drive by entering drive.google.com in your browser’s address bar.
  2. Click on the + New button on the left side of the page.
  3. From the dropdown menu that appears, select Google Docs > Blank document or choose from available templates under From a template.

3. From Google Chrome Extension

You can add the Google Docs Quick Create extension to your Chrome browser if you frequently create new documents.

This extension allows you to create new documents (as well as Sheets, Slides, Forms, etc.) directly from the Chrome toolbar.

Name or Rename a Google Docs

There are three ways to rename a Google Docs file:

1. Directly in the Document

Open the document you want to rename. Its current name is at the top of the document.

Click on it, and the title will become an editable field. Type in your new desired name for the document and press Enter.

2. Within the Google Drive

Navigate to Google Drive (drive.google.com) and find the document you want to rename. Right-click on the document and click “Rename” from there.

Now, type in the new name for your document and press Enter or click the “OK” to apply.

3. Form Google Docs Home Page

And you can also rename a document from the Google Docs home page. When you open the Google Docs home page (https://docs.google.com/document/).

You can click on the (three dots) to open the menu and then click on the “Rename” option to open the rename dialog box.

Menu bar in Google Docs

The menu bar in Google Docs is located at the very top of the Doc and contains several drop-down menus:

  1. The “File” menu allows you to create new documents, open existing ones, make a copy of the current document, or download your document in various formats.
  2. The “Edit” menu provides basic editing functions, such as undo, redo, cut, copy, paste, and find and replace.
  3. The “View” menu lets you control the document’s display and interface elements, including the mode (Editing, Suggesting, or Viewing) and zoom level.
  4. The “Insert” menu offers options to insert images, links, tables, charts, footnotes, special characters, headers and footers, and page numbers.
  5. The “Format” menu gives you control over text and paragraph formatting. It includes options to adjust text styles, line spacing, and indents.
  6. The “Tools” menu provides various options, including a spelling and grammar check, word count, voice typing, and the Explore function.
  7. The “Add-ons” menu connects you to the Google Workspace Marketplace, where you can find and install various add-ons.

Copy and Paste in Google Docs

Copying and pasting text into Google Docs is similar to how it’s done in other applications.

1. From the Edit Menu

If you prefer using the Google Docs menu to copy and paste, you can follow these steps:

  1. Select the text you want to copy, go to the menu bar at the top of the screen, click Edit, and then select Copy.
  2. Place your cursor where you want to paste the copied text. Then, go to the menu bar, click Edit, and choose Paste.

2. Paste Without Formatting

Google Docs also has pasting options to better integrate the copied content into your document.

To Paste without formatting  – Windows/Linux: Press Ctrl + Shift + V and Mac: Press Command (⌘) + Shift + V

3. Copying and Pasting Between Different Applications

The process for copying and pasting text from other programs (like a web browser or another word processor) into Google Docs is the same.

However, the formatting might not always transfer perfectly, and you may need to clear the formatting after pasting.

Find and Replace in Google Docs

Finding and replacing text in Google Docs allows you to quickly edit your document by searching for specific words or phrases and replacing them with new ones.

Here’s how to use the Find and Replace option in Google Docs:

  • Open Find and Replace: Click Edit in the menu bar at the top of your Google Docs, then select Find and Replace. You can also quickly open the Find and Replace dialog box with a keyboard shortcut: Ctrl + H or ⌘ + Shift + H.
  • Enter Value to Find: Enter the word or phrase you want to find in the Find field. If you want to replace it with something else, enter the new text in the Replace with field.
  • Replace or Replace All: To replace one word, click Replace. It will replace the current highlighted occurrence. To replace every instance of the word in your document with the new term, click Replace all.

Key Features of Google Docs

  • User Collaboration: Multiple users can work on a document simultaneously. Changes are reflected in real-time, and each participant’s cursor is labeled with their name.
  • Multiple Formats: It supports various file formats, including DOCX, PDF, RTF, HTML, and TXT, allowing users to import and export documents in the format of their choice.
  • Templates: Various templates are available to quickly start creating documents based on pre-designed formats for resumes, reports, and other document types.
Last Updated: April 14, 2024