We know, we know….you’ve been using Microsoft Word your entire life to meet all your word processing needs. Microsoft Word has long been considered the heavyweight and undisputed champion of word processing. But now your team is on Google Apps and with that you have access to Google Docs for improved collaboration. While Google Docs may not be considered to be in the same class as Word yet, there is a lot more functionality under the hood of GDocs than most users suspect.
Below are four secret weapons hiding within Google Docs that you might be unaware of (until now!).
1. Use templates to build professional-grade Google Docs
There are literally hundreds of prebuilt Google Docs templates available—for free—that can give your document a professional format and layout in a matter of mere seconds. Given that Google Docs goes out of its way to hide many of its powerful formatting features (so they don’t impede your actual work of writing), pre-built templates can save you the time otherwise wasted hunting down font, size and text format options. With GDocs templates, you can almost instantly spiff up your invoices, resumes, and newsletters in efficient fashion, which keeps your document management fast and simple.
2. Auto-build table of contents in your Google Docs
As our Google Apps for Education readers already know, Google Docs makes it crazy easy to automatically generate a Table of Contents for your long-form documents. So long as you’ve employed the aforementioned heading styles to mark out the major sections of your document, Google Docs will programmatically generate a ToC—and you can automatically update that table of contents after every document revision. There’s no bigger time-saver for large Google Documents.
3. Instantly translate your Google Docs
Many Google fans are aware of Google Translate, which automatically converts text from one language into another. This same functionality is available within Google Docs, allowing you to translate your entire Google Doc into any of 64 languages. While the translation may get a bit rough around the edges (sometimes comically so), autotranslated GDocs are generally readable and extremely convenient.
4. Make academically acceptable Google Docs with the research pane’s automatic citation
Most of us are aware that you can open a new browser tab to do a Google search without closing your Google Docs tab, so the built in Google Docs Research Pane seems a bit superfluous. That all changes if you need to properly cite your sources in your Google Doc, because the Research Pane will directly cite any included link, quote or image with a footnote formatted in MLA, APA or Chicago Manual style. Moreover, if you need to make doubly sure that any included material is available via a free-for-use license, you can restrict your research result to that threshold of usage rights. If your document must conform to the strict rigors of academic publication, the Google Docs Research Pane may just be your new best friend.
Want a few more helpful hacks for Google Docs? Download the eBook “6 Secret Hacks for Google Docs” and grab a few word processing tips and tricks!