10 Updates for Google Docs That Will Change the Way You Work


I bet you didn’t see these coming!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

If you spend a lot of time in Google Workspace, you will know that the California company is well-practiced in the habit of continually updating its products. Google Docs is no stranger to that mantra. So, here are ten updates for Google Docs that you might just have missed.

1. Adding Page Breaks in Docs

Have you ever put together a project and Google Docs and been frustrated at the random page breaks that split your content in the worst possible place? If so, you are not alone.

Thankfully, you can now put page breaks anywhere you want. Go to Insert > Break > Page Break to add one, or hit Ctrl + Enter on your keyboard.

2. Pageless Google Docs

When word processors were first created, we were still in the habit of printing a lot of our documents. Today that is less of a concern. Some documents live online and never need to be printed. If they never need to be printed, then they don’t need pagination.

To convert your Google Doc to one scrolling document, go to File > Page Setup > Pageless. If you like it, you can set pageless Docs to be your default from the same menu.

3. Adding Checklists in Google Docs

Checklists are handy things to have whether you are making an action list on some meeting notes or planning your next vacation. They have been a notable absence in Google Docs for years, but they are finally here!

To create a checklist, go to Format > Bullets & numbering > Checklist or click the Checklist button on the toolbar.

4. Adding Watermarks in Google Docs

One of the reasons people used to prefer Word over Google Docs was the ability to add a watermark. You could kind of hack it in Docs with a background image, but full watermark support has now been added.

To add a watermark, go to Insert > Watermark. The sidebar menu will then prompt you to upload an image you want to use as a watermark. If you don’t have one, you can search the web for a suitable image or type your own text.

To complete the look, adjust the color, transparency, and font for the best contrast on your document.

5. The Universal @ Menu in Docs

Google is pushing the Universal @ Menu pretty hard. It’s the first thing you see when you open a new Google Doc, and it contains all kinds of hidden gems that you can use on a daily basis.

Remember checklists? Try typing @checklist to get one started. For today’s date, type @date and choose a date from the list. Want some meeting notes? No problem. Typing @meeting notes will get you up and running with a quick template in no time at all.

You can use the Universal @ Menu to add links to files and even insert contact cards. It also links to just about every formatting feature in Google Docs. So, if you don’t remember how to add page numbers, you guessed it, just type @page numbers to do just that.

6. Images Behind Text in Docs

This is another one of those features that have been available in Microsoft Word for years but has only recently come to Google Docs. It’s perhaps not something that many of us will use all that often, but it’s always nice to have more layout options when working with images.

To add text in front of an image, insert your picture, select it, and then click the Image Options button on the toolbar. When the sidebar opens, click Text Wrapping and choose Behind Text. Now start typing on your image!

7. Collaborate on Draft Emails in Docs

If you work as part of a team, there are often times when you want to draft an email together. Unfortunately, that means one person has to be the keeper of the draft. Or it did until Google let you draft emails from Google Docs!

When you draft an email in Docs, your whole team can be a collaborator on the document and you can all edit the draft in real-time. When you are done with your edits, you can send the draft straight from Google Docs. Here’s how it works.

To start an email draft, go to Insert > Building Blocks > Email Draft, or type @email draft to bring up the template. Fill out the fields as you would when writing an email, then click the blue Gmail icon in the top left corner to send the message from Docs.

8. Create Calendar Events in Google Docs

It’s not just an email you can create in Docs. You can create calendar events too, and it’s all thanks to our new friend, the Universal @ Menu.

If you type a date like @11/11/22, you will be presented with an option to click on a date with the format Nov 11, 2022. Once inserted into your document, you can click on the date chip to expand it.

Once expanded, you will see a link that says, Book meeting. If you click that link, you will open a new tab that has an event details screen for your Google Calendar. The title of your event will be the same as your Google Doc, and the date for the event will be the one you just typed.

9. Insert Dropdown Menus in Docs

Most people associate dropdown selections with Google Sheets or Excel, but you can also use them in Google Docs. The quickest way to add one is to type @Dropdown, but you can also go to Insert > Dropdown.

If you want, you can choose one of the preset options that Google has created for you, but I like to click New Dropdown to make my own. This option lets you save your creation as a template that you can use again and again.

You can add up to 50 dropdown options (ask me how I know!) and pick a color for each one. Dropdowns can be placed inline with text in a Google Doc, and they give you a lot of flexibility for creating all kinds of interesting things.

10. Table Templates in Google Docs

If you are wondering where you might use dropdowns, table templates could be a great place to start. Google created table templates for a quick and easy way to create a formatted table.

To see what’s available, go to Insert > Building Blocks and choose from the available selection. The templates may or may not be helpful for the work that you do, but they are easy to edit and should save you time in the long run.

BONUS: Markdown Support in Google Docs

Did you know that you can use Markdown in Google Docs? It’s one of those silent updates that slipped under most people’s radars, but if you’re a fan of this lightweight markup language, Google Docs has some options for you.

Find out how to get started by clicking the link below:


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