Ok, so you’ve got your workflow down. You’ve got a grasp on the main productivity apps you need to get the job done and you use them well. Still, you feel yourself hitting hiccups when you write up those digital piles of documents, so crucial for your day to day. Things would go so much faster if you didn’t waste all those precious seconds for all the formatting and functionality quirks that take you out of your zone.
If you’re using Google Docs, we’ve got you covered with a compilation of the most powerful tips to speed up your workflow and help you avoid dropping out of your zone.
1. Browse the Net Within Docs
If opening up a new window, or splitting your screen bothers you, then search the net with the built-in functions within your Google Doc. Hit Tools > Explore and you’ll be good to go. You can even share your footnotes by just clicking on the quotation marks in the top right corner. Even better, you can select parts of your text and research them in much the same way.
2. Adding Link Inserts
By pressing CTR+K in Windows, or CMD+K on Mac, you skip the tedious task of copying and pasting links and jump straight to searching for URLs within your Google Doc!
3. Creating a Table of Contents
Letting users navigate to the major sections of your document can be as easy as hitting Insert > Table of Contents making any document much more user friendly and easy to decipher.
4. Avoid Red Underlines – Add Words to your Dictionary
Within any specific industry there are plenty of words which haven’t made it into the dictionary of your processor. Add words you use frequently by hitting Tools > Personal Dictionary, and you’ll be seeing a ton less unnecessary red underline!
5. Format Using Templates
Not sure about where to start with a document? Stop slowing down to think it over and open up Google’s Template Gallery. You’ll find anything from invoices to business letters and schedules. If you have something you and your team use frequently, you can even create your own template for later use.
6. Use Keyboard Shortcuts
Perhaps one of the number one time savers you should have in your arsenal are keyboard shortcuts. It’ll take you some time to learn them, but it’ll be well worthwhile when you do. To see all the shortcuts in Google Docs, you can go to the Help dropdown menu, or use the shortcut CTR+/ on Windows, or CMD+/ on Mac.
7. Add Unique Fonts to your Library
Many companies use typefaces which are specific to their brand’s endeavors, but aren’t built into the quick dropdown menu of Google Docs. To add those fonts to the dropdown menu, hit the Font menu and select More Fonts, where you can search for the typeface of your choice.
8. Lock Images to One Position
You know the annoyances of working with images on word processors. You think you’ve got it, where you want it, but every few words, the image shifts and reformats the style of your page. Avoid this frustrating bit by clicking the image after positioning it and hitting Fixed at the bottom. This way, the image will stay put, while you write around it.
9. Edit Words and Phrases in Bulk
If you need to change a word or phrase that you’ve repeated throughout the entire document, it’s easiest to click Edit > Find and Replace. This will go through all the instances of the word or phrase and change them to whatever your new musings may be.
10. Navigate Lengthy Documents with Bookmarks
Writing up something obscenely long, or maybe it’s just late at night and your memory’s skipping? Quickly move between sections of your writing by using bookmarks.
To insert a bookmark, select the heading of the section you wish to mark. Hit Insert at the top menu, and then Bookmark. You’ll then need to create a link for that bookmark either in your table of contents, under your main title, or anywhere else that’s convenient.
You can create the link by placing your cursor where you want it to be, then hitting Insert > Link, or by hitting the Link icon in the toolbar.
11. Create Custom Shortcuts
If you use specific symbols more frequently, or don’t find standard shortcuts fitting to your workflow, you can always go to Tools > Preferences to manage your shortcuts and fit them to your style.
12. Talk Your Doc Out
Tired of typing everything up? Want to make your childhood dream of talking to your computer a reality? Go ahead and activate voice typing in Tools, or by hitting CTR+SHIFT+S on Windows, or CMD+SHIFT+S on Mac.
There are commands for everything, from using a period, to starting a new paragraph. It may take some getting used to, but if you’re working in a private environment, it could just be the most productive thing you’ve done! Futuristic, too!
13. Get Ahead with Headers
When working on a document, it can be cumbersome to search for main ideas, unless you make use of the heading formatting. After titling the sections of your work, you can go to the Styles menu and choose the settings for Heading 1 and all the subheadings after it. This will allow you to hit View > Show Document Outline, later, which opens a list of your sections in the left-hand sidebar. Voila!
14. Check up on Changes
If you want to quickly scroll through changes a document’s endured, you can hit the All Changes Saved in Drive link at the end of the Menu bar. This will open up a list you can scan on the move.
15. Keep Access to Docs Offline
This option is only available through the Chrome browser, but, if you know you’ll be going somewhere with spotty, or no connection to the net, you can turn on the Offline Sync option by going to the Google Drive Home Settings Menu.
16. Collaboration Notifications
One of the most specific functions of online apps vs offline ones is the ability to collaborate easily with your team. If you use comments on the documents you are creating and need to make sure others don’t space on seeing them, add a “+” and their e-mail address in the command bubble. Your compadres will receive an e-mail, making sure they don’t space on your input.
17. Real-Time Collaborator Locating
Another perk of online collaboration through Docs, is the ability to edit documents alongside your remote partners in real time. If doing so, you can always check what part of the document they’re working on by clicking their avatar, or photo in the top right corner section.
18. Check the Editor
Particularly impressed by an edit, or notice something that requires attention, but don’t know who to contact about the added the content? You can identify who’s made the modification by checking the Version History. There, all of the collaborators are assigned a color which will correspond to the revisions listed, making it a synch to keep track of who’s done what to your collaborative documents. By clicking on a particular collaborator, you can even place a filter on the edits, so only those of particular users will appear on your screen.
19. Sign your Docs
Wondering how to make that final professional touch on your finished document? Add your signature by hitting Insert > Drawing and selecting Scribble Line. You’ll be able to draw your signature, or a crude semblance of it, which can later serve you for multiple documents. Microsoft Paint, anyone?
20. Adding Links the Quick Way
Depending on your workflow, you may postpone adding links in your file until the very end, or you may have omitted some, even though you’ve been meticulous throughout the writing process. Either way, you can easily add hyperlinks by selecting the words and phrases you wish to link, and hitting CTR+K on Windows, or CMD+K on Mac. You’ll be prompted by a popup window with suggested links, which you can either use, or opt out of by searching for more appropriate ones.
21. Find your Files the Quick Way
Let’s face it. You’re busy and being productive means, you’ve likely accumulated nearly unmanageable digital piles of documents in your Google Drive.
Search through them easily by hitting the down arrow, on the right side of the search bar. You can filter your search by a number of parameters like type of file, date modified and others. If you use certain docs frequently, you can star them, which will give you quick access through the Starred Folder, every time you get into your Drive.
22. Quick Translation Between Languages
This one’s a bit of a bonus, and quirky, to say the least, but, working in the era of globalization, it’s inevitable that sometimes you’ll need to jump between languages you may or may not be too familiar with. To easily use Google Translate for a full translation of a document, hit Tools > Translate Document. You’ll need to enter a new name for the translation file, and you’re set! Of course, be somewhat weary, as we all know Translate isn’t perfect and can often make some comical mistakes. Still, it does the job, for when you need something immediately.