As soon as upon a time, a phrase processor was little greater than a clean canvas in your finger-transmitted musings: You’d open up this system, sort no matter you needed — and, properly, that was just about it.
Lately, coping with paperwork has virtually develop into an artwork. And regardless that Google Docs is among the many extra approachable choices on the market (paging Microsoft Workplace Ribbon…), the service has grown surprisingly multilayered as of late.
For essentially the most half, that is an excellent factor. Docs continues to be usually fairly simple to make use of, and it packs greater than sufficient punch for most typical phrase processing functions. However generally, the layers of complexity can result in cloud-sized complications which might be something however mild and fluffy.
Immediately, we’ll suppose by way of a few of the most typical Docs challenges and the quickest methods to repair ’em. Whether or not you are answerable for solely your individual Docs utilization otherwise you act because the go-to troubleshooter in your workplace, pal group, or household (be it on an official foundation or in a type of pretty unpaid “tech help” positions), that is the reference it’s worthwhile to resolve no matter woes might come your means.
(Observe that a lot of the points described listed here are particular to the Docs net interface for desktop browsers, which is way extra totally featured and sophisticated than the service’s cell app equivalents.)
Google Docs drawback No. 1: Edit remorse
Paperwork usually symbolize hours upon hours of valuable work — and as soon as they’re gone, concepts aren’t all the time simple to get again. So what occurs when a member of your workforce (who might or is probably not, erm, you) makes a change to a Google Docs doc that you just later come to understand was a mistake?
Positive, there’s the common Undo command — Ctrl-Z (or ⌘-Z, on a Mac), which will also be present in Docs’ Edit menu — however that works provided that you are the one who made the edit in query and in the event you simply did it. If another person is guilty, in the event you’ve navigated away from the doc because the change bought made, or in the event you’ve made a bunch of different modifications since then that you just do need to preserve, Undo is not gonna do you a lick of excellent.
So here is the repair: Keep in mind to depend on Docs’ strong Model Historical past system. You could find it within the File menu or through the use of the Ctrl-Alt-Shift-H (or ⌘-Alt-Shift-H) keyboard shortcut.
There, you may discover variations of your doc that have been autosaved at completely different factors and could be zapped straight again over as full replacements for the present model of your doc.
The complicating challenge, although, is that these variations are saved solely sporadically, which implies it’s possible you’ll or might not discover one from the exact level you want to revive. The easiest way round that’s to manually pressure Docs to save lots of a model anytime you attain a milestone otherwise you’re anticipating main modifications to be made. That means, you all the time know you might have a fast ‘n’ simple approach to get again to the best way issues have been earlier than — or on the very least to view your pre-shakeup model as a degree of reference.
To manually pressure Docs to save lots of a model of your doc, open the File menu, click on “Model historical past,” then choose “Title present model.” Give the model any title you need — I am a fan of Clancy, myself, however be at liberty to make use of one thing extra descriptive — after which that precise state of your doc will all the time be accessible and simply identifiable inside the primary Model Historical past menu.
Google Docs drawback No. 2: Case craziness
Have you ever ever pasted over textual content from an e-mail, an online web page, or another supply after which realized components of it have been in a wacky ALL CAPS format? Or perhaps you are engaged on modifying a doc and wish all of the headings to exist in title case with the intention to look right. Regardless of the, ahem, case could also be, save your self the trouble of manually reworking all that textual content and let Docs do the heavy lifting.
Simply spotlight the textual content in query, click on the Format menu on the prime of the display, then click on “Textual content” adopted by “Capitalization.” There, deep within the Docs menu construction, you may discover a one-click device for altering no matter textual content you chose into all lowercase, all uppercase, or title case — with no time wasted and solely minimal effort required.
Google Docs drawback No. 3: Auto-format frustration
By default, Google Docs performs some formatting magic that is meant to be useful however can usually be annoying. As an illustration, the service will mechanically capitalize the primary phrase of each sentence you sort, it will change all of the citation marks you enter from the usual straight-quote model into the controversial curly-quote model, and it will add a hyperlink onto any net deal with you enter right into a doc.
Docs additionally modifications commonplace three-character ellipses (…) into single-character ellipses (…), utilizing a Unicode image for that piece of punctuation. It adjusts regular numerical fractions (like 1/2) into single-character symbols (like ½), too, and it modifications sure abbreviations (like c/o) into their single-character Unicode image equivalents (like ℅).
For sure functions, these modifications could be nice — however simply as usually, they’re obnoxious. Concern not, although, for you possibly can disable each a type of behaviors and inform Docs to go away your authentic textual content alone.
The key resides in an simply neglected two-part preferences menu. To get there, click on the Instruments menu on the prime of the Docs desktop interface, then choose “Preferences” from the listing of choices that comes up. There, you may see a listing of choices for a few of Docs’ extra primary textual content substitution habits.
That space permits you to flip off the auto-capitalization, allegedly “good” quote transformation, and computerized hyperlink formatting, amongst different issues. As for the fractions and different extra superior types of textual content substitutions, you may must click on on the “Substitutions” header on the prime of that very same window to seek out ’em — after which uncheck the field subsequent to any substitutions you need to blast away.
Ahh…the glass is all of the sudden trying 1/2 full as an alternative of ½ empty, is not it?
Google Docs drawback No. 4: Grammar police overreach
Docs likes to let you know if you’ve bought one thing incorrect along with your grammar, which may definitely be helpful at occasions. But it surely will also be extremely irritating — if, say, you intentionally bend the foundations for sure causes or depend on extremely stylized approaches and end up distracted by all of the squiggly pink underlines stating issues that are not truly issues. (Been there, accomplished that.)
If that frustration sounds acquainted, give your self a break by disabling Docs’ grammar options — whether or not completely or simply for a short while, on an as-needed foundation. You could find the command to take action within the Instruments menu, below “Spelling and grammar”; simply click on the road labeled “Present grammar options” to uncheck and deactivate it.
You can too flip computerized spelling options off in that very same place, in case you have a model title that makes use of an unusual spelling and always will get corrected. Alternatively, you need to use the “Private dictionary” choice inside that very same menu so as to add particular phrases into Docs’ vocabulary and preserve it from pondering they’re errors.
Google Docs drawback No. 5: Bullet level blues
Who does not love lists? Docs makes it simple so as to add bulleted lists into your paperwork, and it even has a handful of formatting choices inside its Format menu, below “Bullets & numbering,” in case the fundamental black dot is not doing the trick for what you want.
These default choices are fairly restricted, although, and in case you have something particular in thoughts, they most likely will not embody the image you need.
However wait! Docs additionally permits you to insert virtually any image conceivable as your bullet listing indicator. You’d simply by no means notice it, as the choice to take action solely seems after you’ve got created a listing. (Go determine.)
So do that: Create a bulleted listing inside a doc, both by trying within the menu we simply talked about or through the use of the Ctrl-Shift-8 (or ⌘-Shift-8) shortcut. Then, along with your cursor on that listing, open up the Format menu and look below “Bullets & numbering” once more. This time, you must have the ability to choose the “Record choices” merchandise — and when you do, you possibly can choose “Extra bullets” to pick from a sprawling vary of bullet image kinds.
That very same menu will even mean you can modify the numbering on a numbered listing, in case you ever want a listing to revolve round one thing aside from numbers alone (like “Merchandise No. 1,” for example) or must have a listing begin on a quantity aside from 1.
Google Docs drawback No. 6: The envelope enigma
For as succesful as Docs has gotten over time, one characteristic it is curiously nonetheless lacking is the power to format a web page as an envelope or as a sheet of labels for correct printing. If you happen to want both perform in your work, you may want to show to a third-party Google Docs add-on to get it.
On the envelope entrance, a easy add-on known as Web page Sizer is the simplest choice accessible. Add it onto your account (or ask your admin to do it for you, in the event you’re on an organization account with out direct add-on entry) after which look within the Add-ons menu on the prime of any doc to seek out and activate it.
When you do, you possibly can simply enter within the precise dimensions of your envelope — and, ta-da:
With labels, the aptly named Create & Print Labels Google Docs add-on will do all the pieces you want. It’s going to present up in that very same Add-ons menu, as soon as put in, and it will provide you with one-click entry to on the spot web page formatting for quite a lot of widespread label sizes (from Avery and different label suppliers).
Web page Sizer is free, whereas Create & Print Labels is free to be used with a restricted vary of ordinary label codecs (which is able to most likely be lots for many informal functions). For entry to all accessible codecs and options, the add-on runs 30 bucks a 12 months or $80 for a lifetime license.
Bonus Google Docs drawback: Phrase weirdness
There’s only one extra Docs-related repair to handle, and it is associated to the best way the service interacts with Microsoft Phrase information. To discover that challenge and get into another related experience-improving options, head over to the earlier chapter in my “quick fixes” collection: “6 quick fixes for widespread Google Drive issues.”