How to Edit Google Docs: The Best Tips You Need to Know

Google Docs Edit Featured

Google Docs gives Microsoft Word tough competition. While it may seem like Docs is the underdog in this battle, exploring Docs uncovers many hidden features. Some of these include the ability to add a signature, compare two documents, and collaborate. Below we provide you with the best tips to edit Google Docs.

1. How to Display the Word Count

Google Docs lets you check the overall word count of the document. It can also be tracked while typing. You can even track changes made to the document. To use both these features, follow the instructions below:

1. Click on the “Tools” option in the menu bar and select “Word count.” You will be shown the number of pages, words, and characters in a pop-up window.

Google Docs Word Count Show

You can also use the Ctrl + Shift + C (Windows) and Command + Shift + C (macOS) keyboard shortcuts in Google Docs to view the word count.

2. Enable the box next to “Display word count while typing” and hit the OK button to see the live word count.

Google Docs Word Count While Typing

Meanwhile, if you like the speech-to-text feature, you can use voice typing in Google Docs.

Note: you will need to enable the word count individually for each document.  

2. How to Add a Hanging Indent

If you are writing a research paper for school or work, you may be asked to add hanging indents to references pages, a bibliography, etc. A hanging indent basically moves the second and subsequent lines of a paragraph to the right while keeping the first line to the left. To add a hanging indent to your document, follow the steps below:

1. Select the required paragraph. You can also select multiple paragraphs.

2. Go to “Format -> Align & Indent -> Indentation Options.”

Google Docs Hanging Indent Add

3. Click on the box under “Special indent” and select “Hanging.”

Google Docs Hanging Indent Options

4. Enter the required indentation in the boxes and hit the “Apply” button.

To undo the hanging indent, repeat the steps and choose “None” in the “Special indent” box.

3. How to Add Strikethrough to Text

You can add a line through your text without completely hiding it by adding a strikethrough. To do a so, follow the instructions below:

1. Select the text you wish to have a strikethrough to and click on “Format” in the menu bar.

Google Docs Strikethrough Add

2. Go to “Text -> Strikethrough.”

To undo strikethrough, repeat these steps. You can also select the text and go to “Format -> Clear formatting.” Find out how to add subscript and superscript to Google Docs.

4. How to Highlight Text

When you edit your Google Docs and decide you want to make a section of text stand out in your document, you can highlight it. Highlighting will mark the text in a different color than the regular font color. Yellow is often used. To highlight text, Follow the instructions below.

1. Select the desired text.

2. Click on the Highlighter pen in the formatting toolbar.

Google Docs Hightlight Text

3. Choose the highlight color.

To remove the highlight, click on the “None” option under the Highlighter pen.

5. How to Change Document Margins

Google Docs offers an easy way to change margins for document pages. Follow the instructions below:

1. Click on “File” in the menu bar and go to “Page setup.”

Google Docs Margin Page Setup

2. Add the margin dimensions in the available boxes and hit the Ok button.

Google Docs Margin Add

You can also change margins using the ruler guidelines.

6. How to Find and Replace Text

At times when you edit your Google docs, you will need to replace some of the text in your document. Instead of manually searching for the text, you can use the Find and replace feature. See how to do this below:

1. Click on the “Edit” option in the menu bar and select “Find and replace.”

Google Docs Find And Replace

2. Enter the term that you want to replace in the “Find” box followed by the new text in the “Replace with” box.

Google Docs Find And Replace Text

3. If the document contains multiple instances of the text, select “Replace all” and select “Replace” if you want to replace the text only once.

7. How to Convert Google Docs to PDF

Google Docs offers a built-in functionality to download the document as a PDF file. To do this, follow the instructions below:

1. Just click on “File -> Download -> PDF.”

Google Docs Download As Pdf

Similarly, you can download the doc in other formats, such as HTML, RTF, etc. Find out how to convert Google Docs to Word.

8. How to Delete a Page

When you edit in Google Docs, you might accidentally add a blank page or want to completely remove a page. Fortunately, Google Docs offers an easy way to remove a page. Follow the instructions below.

1. Select all the content on the page and hit the Delete button on your keyboard.

2. If the page isn’t deleted yet, hit the Backspace key to delete the page. You can delete multiple pages as well.

9. How to Add Titles and Headings

You can format the text by adding various pre-built styles, such as title, headings, and subtitle. To add them to your text, follow the instructions below.

1. Select the text and click on the drop-down box next to the font selection box.

Google Docs Heading Add

2. Choose the required option from the list.

10. How to Insert a Text Box

Typically, wherever you put a cursor in Google Docs, you can start at that point. But if you want to add text in a confined area in Google Docs, use the Drawing feature to insert a textbox. Follow the instructions below.

1. On your Google Doc, click on “Insert” in the menu at the top.

2. Select “Drawing -> New” and the drawing window will open.

Google Docs Insert Text Box

3. Click on the Text box icon.

4. Using your mouse, draw a text box on the canvas, then start typing the data in the box.

5. Use the formatting tools to format the text to your needs.

6. Click on “Save” and close it to insert the text box in your Doc.

Google Docs Add Text Using Text Box

7. Double-click on the text box in the document to edit the text and format it.

11. How to Add Graphs

1. Click on the Insert option and select Graph.

Google Docs lets you both create and import graphs in the documents. You can have bar graph, pie graph, and more. To add graphs, follow the instructions below:

2. Choose the graph type.

Google Docs Graphs And Charts

3. If you want to import data from Google Sheets, select the Google Sheets option.

12. How to Add Flowcharts

Google Docs doesn’t offer a native way to make flowcharts. However, you can create flowcharts in Google Docs using Google Drawings. Follow the directions below:

1. Open the Docs document and click “Insert -> Drawing -> New.”

2. Click on the Shape icon at the top and add the desired shapes to the canvas.

Google Docs Add Flowchart

3. Click on the Text box icon to add text as described in the above section.

4. Modify the flowchart to your needs.

13. How to Add New Fonts

Apart from the existing fonts present in Google Docs, you can add and install more of them. Follow the instructions below:

1. Click on the Font drop-down in the formatting toolbar and select “More fonts.”

Google Docs Add Fonts

2. Click on the fonts that you want to add. If you want to install external fonts, you will have to use the Extensis fonts add-on.

Google Docs Add Fonts Custom

14. How to Add a Custom Background

Looking to make your Google doc a bit different? Try using custom backgrounds. To do so, follow the instructions below:

1. Add a background image by clicking “Insert -> Image.”

2. Select the location of where you would like to add the background image.

Google Docs Add Custom Background

3. You can look for backgrounds by choosing the “Search on web” option.

4. Click on the image once it is added.

5. From the Image alignment options, click on “Behind text.”

6. Increase the size of the image to fill the background.

15. How to Add a Border

Sadly, Google Docs doesn’t offer a dedicated option to add borders to your pages. However, you can use tables to add a border. You will need to add a 1*1 table on your document. To do so, follow the instructions below:

1. Open the document and click on “Insert -> Table -> 1*1.”

2. Increase the size of the table to fit your document edge to edge.

Google Docs Add Border

3. You can customize the table using the available options in the menu bar.

Another way to add the border is to insert a shape using Google Drawings.

Besides linking to external links, you can link to a paragraph within the same document. To do so, follow the instructions below.

1. Select the text you want to and right-click on it.

2. Choose “Link” from the menu.

3. On the Link window, click on “Headings and bookmarks.”

Google Docs Link Within Document

4. Choose the paragraph you want to link from.

17. How to Add Watermarks

You can add a watermark to Google Docs in multiple ways by following the instructions below:

1. Add a text box using Drawings as shown earlier.

2. Insert text or an image that you want to use as a watermark.

3. To insert the watermark image in your document, click on the “Behind text” alignment option.

If the final result doesn’t look as expected, choose the “In front of the text” alignment option and adjust the transparency of the image under “Image” options.

Google Docs Add Watermark

More Customization Tips for Google Docs

Apart from above-mentioned tips, to further edit Google Docs, you can add a table of contents, alphabetize your documents, and use Docs offline. You can even customize Google Docs to suit your requirements. For instance, you can use Google Docs in dark mode and make things easier for yourself by using Google Docs templates and add-ons.

Mehvish Mushtaq Mehvish Mushtaq

Mehvish is a technology enthusiast from Kashmir, India. A computer engineer by degree, she's always been keen to help when someone finds technology challenging. Her favorite verticals include how-to guides, explainers, tips and tricks for Android, iOS/iPadOS, Windows, social media, and web apps.

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