Four Tricks to Work Faster in Google Docs

By David Nield on at

If you use Google Docs, you probably work on a lot of documents with other people. However, there are some smaller and lesser-known options you might not know about that can take your productivity to the next level. Here are four easy tricks you can use to be more productive in Google Docs.

1) Copy multiple items with the web clipboard

4 Tricks to Work Faster in Google Docs

Docs includes a web clipboard, which sends anything you cut or copy to a clipboard stored in the cloud rather than one on your local machine. As a result, you can store multiple items and take the same clipboard with you when you switch between computers. There’s also the option to paste text as plain text or HTML as needed.

To use it, highlight a block of text or an image, then rather than hitting Ctrl+C (or Cmd+C) go to Edit, Web clipboard and pick Copy selection to web clipboard. When you’re ready to paste something, select Edit and Web clipboard again and a list of items recently copied to the cloud clipboard appears.

2) Write words by speaking to your computer

4 Tricks to Work Faster in Google Docs

How fast is your typing? As fast as speaking something? Docs has a rather impressive voice dictation facility included which you can activate by choosing Tools and then Voice typing from the menu. Alternatively you can activate it with a keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+Shift+S (Windows) or Cmd+Shift+S (macOS machines).

It may seem a little odd talking to your computer but you’ll soon get used to it and might find your word count going up as a result. There are a host of special voice commands you need to know about, but Google has listed them all — you can select and format text, move around the document, and even add in tables.

3) Create automatic text shortcuts

4 Tricks to Work Faster in Google Docs

Google Docs is a simple enough web program and doesn’t need much in the way of configuration, so you might not have noticed the automatic text shortcut feature hidden away behind the Preferences option under Tools. Some example shortcuts are already included, like turning “(c)“ into the copyright symbol.

These shortcuts can save you a lot of typing if, for example, you replace “1/4" with a proper fraction symbol, complete with superscript and subscript formatting. There are no restrictions on how you can use these substitutions or how many you can have, so feel free to adapt the feature to suit your own needs.

4) Jump to your typos quickly

4 Tricks to Work Faster in Google Docs

No matter how carefully you try to avoid them, typos can slip into your work every now and again, but Google Docs makes it easier to jump between them with a couple of keyboard shortcuts: use Ctrl+’ or Ctrl+; (switch Ctrl for Cmd on a Mac) to jump to the next or the previous misspelled word in your document.

It takes the cursor to the words underlined in red, so unfortunately it might not catch everything if you’ve got something that’s spelled correctly but in the wrong order, say. Keyboard shortcuts in general can be great productivity aids of course — there’s a full list of them up on the Google Docs help pages.