6 fast fixes for common Google Docs problems

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, kind no matter you wished — and, properly, that was just about it.

Today, coping with paperwork has virtually turn 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 remains to be typically fairly straightforward to make use of, and it packs greater than sufficient punch for most typical phrase processing functions. However typically, the layers of complexity can result in cloud-sized complications which might be something however gentle and fluffy.

Right now, we’ll assume by a few of the most typical Docs challenges and the quickest methods to repair ’em. Whether or not you are liable for solely your personal 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 kind of pretty unpaid “tech assist” positions), that is the reference it is advisable resolve no matter woes might come your approach.

(Notice that many of the points described listed below are particular to the Docs internet interface for desktop browsers, which is way extra absolutely featured and complicated than the service’s cell app equivalents.)

Google Docs downside No. 1: Edit remorse

Paperwork usually signify hours upon hours of treasured work — and as soon as they’re gone, concepts aren’t at all times straightforward to get again. So what occurs a member of your staff (who might or might not be, erm, you) makes a change to a Google Docs doc that you just later come to appreciate was a mistake?

Certain, 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 for those who simply did it. If another person is accountable, for those who’ve navigated away from the doc for the reason that change obtained made, or for those who’ve made a bunch of different modifications since then that you just do wish to maintain, Undo is not gonna do you a lick of fine.

So this is the repair: Keep in mind to depend on Docs’ strong Model Historical past system. Yow will discover it within the File menu or through the use of the Ctrl-Alt-Shift-H (or ⌘-Alt-Shift-H) keyboard shortcut.

There, you will discover variations of your doc that had 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 concern, although, is that these variations are saved solely sporadically, which suggests it’s possible you’ll or might not discover one from the exact level you would like 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 approach, you at all times know you will have a fast ‘n’ straightforward approach to get again to the best way issues had been earlier than — or on the very least to view your pre-shakeup model as some extent 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 keen on Clancy, myself, however be happy to make use of one thing extra descriptive — after which that actual state of your doc will at all times be obtainable and simply identifiable inside the primary Model Historical past menu.

01 google docs fixes version history JR Raphael/IDG

Counting on Google Docs’ Model Historical past characteristic generally is a actual lifesaver, particularly for those who bear in mind to manually save and title variations earlier than main edits are made. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)

Google Docs downside 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 had 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 as a way to look appropriate. Regardless of the, ahem, case could also be, save your self the effort 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 high of the display screen, then click on “Textual content” adopted by “Capitalization.” There, deep within the Docs menu construction, you will 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 downside No. three: 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 kind, 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 internet deal with you enter right into a doc.

Docs additionally modifications normal 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 may be nice — however simply as usually, they’re obnoxious. Worry not, although, for you may disable each a kind of behaviors and inform Docs to depart your authentic textual content alone.

The key resides in an simply missed two-part preferences menu. To get there, click on the Instruments menu on the high of the Docs desktop interface, then choose “Preferences” from the record of choices that comes up. There, you will see a listing of choices for a few of Docs’ extra primary textual content substitution habits.

03a google docs fixes text substitution JR Raphael/IDG

You may disable primary textual content substitution patterns within the Docs “Preferences” menu. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)

That space means that you can 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 will have to click on on the “Substitutions” header on the high of that very same window to seek out ’em — after which uncheck the field subsequent to any substitutions you wish to blast away.

03b google docs fixes text substitution JR Raphael/IDG

The “Substitutions” part of that menu helps you to take complete management over how Docs messes along with your textual content. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)

Ahh…the glass is abruptly wanting 1/2 full as an alternative of ½ empty, is not it?

Google Docs downside No. four: Grammar police overreach

Docs likes to inform you whenever you’ve obtained one thing fallacious along with your grammar, which may actually be helpful at instances. However it will also be extremely irritating — if, say, you intentionally bend the principles for sure causes or depend on extremely stylized approaches and end up distracted by all of the squiggly purple underlines mentioning issues that are not really issues. (Been there, carried out that.)

If that frustration sounds acquainted, give your self a break by disabling Docs’ grammar ideas — whether or not completely or simply for a short while, on an as-needed foundation. Yow will discover the command to take action within the Instruments menu, below “Spelling and grammar”; simply click on the road labeled “Present grammar ideas” to uncheck and deactivate it.

It’s also possible to flip computerized spelling ideas off in that very same place, in case you have a model title that makes use of an unusual spelling and consistently will get corrected. Alternatively, you should utilize the “Private dictionary” choice inside that very same menu so as to add particular phrases into Docs’ vocabulary and maintain it from pondering they’re errors.

Google Docs downside No. 5: Bullet level blues

Who does not love lists? Docs makes it straightforward 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 essential 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 in all probability will not embody the image you need.

However wait! Docs additionally means that you can insert nearly any image possible as your bullet record indicator. You’d simply by no means understand it, as the choice to take action solely seems after you have created a listing. (Go determine.)

So do that: Create a bulleted record inside a doc, both by wanting within the menu we simply talked about or through the use of the Ctrl-Shift-Eight (or ⌘-Shift-Eight) shortcut. Then, along with your cursor on that record, open up the Format menu and look below “Bullets & numbering” once more. This time, it’s best to be capable of choose the “Checklist choices” merchandise — and when you do, you may choose “Extra bullets” to pick from a sprawling vary of bullet image kinds.

05 google docs fixes bullet point styles JR Raphael/IDG

You’ve got obtained all kinds of bullet level choices inside Docs — if you know the way to seek out and activate them. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)

That very same menu may even let you modify the numbering on a numbered record, in case you ever want a listing to revolve round one thing apart from numbers alone (like “Merchandise No. 1,” for example) or have to have a listing begin on a quantity apart from 1.

Google Docs downside No. 6: The envelope enigma

For as succesful as Docs has gotten through the years, 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. For those who want both operate in your work, you will want to show to a third-party Google Docs add-on to get it.

On the envelope entrance, a easy add-on referred to as Page Sizer is the best choice obtainable. Add it onto your account (or ask your admin to do it for you, for those who’re on an organization account with out direct add-on entry) after which look within the Add-ons menu on the high of any doc to seek out and activate it.

When you do, you may simply enter within the actual dimensions of your envelope — and, ta-da:

06 google docs fixes envelope formatting JR Raphael/IDG

Envelope formatting in Google Docs does not need to be troublesome. You simply need to have the precise add-on in place. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)

With labels, the aptly named Create & Print Labels Google Docs add-on will do every thing 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 instantaneous web page formatting for quite a lot of frequent 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 normal label codecs (which can in all probability be lots for many informal functions). For entry to all obtainable codecs and options, the add-on runs 30 bucks a year or 80 for a lifetime license.

Bonus Google Docs downside: Phrase weirdness

There’s only one extra Docs-related repair to deal with, and it is associated to the best way the service interacts with Microsoft Phrase recordsdata. To discover that concern and get into another related experience-improving ideas, head over to the earlier chapter in my “quick fixes” sequence: “6 quick fixes for frequent Google Drive issues.”

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