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The Ultimate Guide to Google Docs: 10 Essential Formatting Tricks

Samarpit Nasa
By Samarpit Nasa | Last Updated on April 19th, 2024 10:51 am

Google Docs has become an indispensable tool in our daily work and personal projects, offering a blend of simplicity, accessibility, and powerful features. Beyond its well-known collaborative capabilities, Google Docs when used with workflow automation tools , streamlines document creation and management. This guide will dive into 10 essential Google Docs formatting tricks that will add flair to your documents and enhance your productivity. By mastering these features, you can make your documents more professional, organized, and visually appealing.

  1. Add a Signature in Google Docs

Incorporating a signature into your documents can add a personal touch or formalize agreements. While eSignature apps are ideal for legal documents, Google Docs provides a simple method for adding signatures to less formal documents. Here is how you can add signature in Google Docs:

Step 1: Navigate to the section where you want your signature.

Step 2: Go to Insert > Drawing > New.

Step 3: Select the Line tool, then Scribble from the dropdown.

Step 4: Draw your signature.

Step 5: Click Save and Close.

  1. Utilize Superscript and Subscript

Whether you're drafting a scientific paper or adding footnotes, the superscript and subscript features in Google Docs are essential. This functionality ensures your documents adhere to proper formatting standards, especially for mathematical equations or chemical formulas:

Step 1: Highlight the text you want to format.

Step 2: For superscript, press “Ctrl + .” on Windows or “Cmd + .” on Mac. For subscript, press “Ctrl + ,” on Windows or “Cmd + ,” on Mac.

Alternatively, go to Format > Text and choose either Superscript or Subscript.

  1. Create Borders in Google Docs

Though Google Docs doesn't have a dedicated border feature like Microsoft Word, it offers creative workarounds. These methods provide flexibility in designing documents to your specifications, whether for aesthetic purposes or to highlight information.

Option 1: Draw a Border

Step 1: Insert > Drawing > New.

Step 2: Select the Shape icon, then Rectangle.

Step 3: Draw your rectangle.

Step 4: Adjust colors and border as needed, then Save and Close.

Option 2: Insert a table

Step 1: Insert > Table > choose 1x1.

Step 2: Adjust the table properties for border style and cell padding.

  1. Strikethrough Text Formatting

The strikethrough function in Google Docs is somewhat hidden but incredibly useful for indicating removed or completed items. This formatting option is particularly beneficial for editing drafts or managing task lists within your documents.

Step 1: Highlight the desired text.

Step 2: Format > Text > Strikethrough or use the shortcut “Alt + Shift + 5” on Windows or “Cmd + Shift + X” on Mac.

  1. Generate a Table of Contents

A table of contents (TOC) is crucial for longer documents, providing easy navigation for readers. Google Docs automatically generates a TOC in the side panel, but you can also insert one directly into your document. This feature supports various formats, including plain text, dotted lines, or links, and can be updated to reflect changes in your document structure.

Step 1: Place the cursor where you want the TOC.

Step 2: Insert > Table of contents and select your preferred style.

Step 3: Update the TOC by clicking the refresh icon in the floating toolbar if you make changes.

  1. Change Background Color

Transform the look of your document by changing the page background color. This feature allows for customization to match brand guidelines or to visually differentiate documents. Setting a default color for new documents ensures consistency across your work.

Step 1: File > Page setup.

Step 2: Choose a new page color and, if desired, set as default.

  1. Add Image Borders

Enhance the visual impact of images in your documents by adding borders. Google Docs offers tools to customize the border color, weight, and style, allowing for creative expression and attention to detail in documet design.

Step 1: Click on the image to select it.

Step 2: Use the Border color icon in the toolbar to select a color.

Step 3: Adjust border weight and style as needed.

  1. Add Fonts to Google Docs

The default Arial font in Google Docs might not suit every need. Fortunately, adding new fonts is straightforward, enabling you to align your documents with brand guidelines or personal preferences. The More Fonts option expands your typography choices, instantly updating your document's appearance.

Step 1: Click the font dropdown next to the font size.

Step 2: More fonts > Search and select your desired font > OK.

  1. Adjusting Margins

Customizing margins can significantly affect the layout and readability of your documents. Google Docs provides two methods for adjusting margins. This flexibility allows for precise control over the document's appearance, catering to specific formatting requirements.

Using Page Setup:

Step 1: File > Page setup.

Step 2: Adjust the margins as needed and click OK.

Using the Ruler:

Step 1: Drag the margin markers on the ruler to adjust.

  1. Creating Hanging Indents

For documents requiring specific citation styles, such as MLA, APA, or Chicago, hanging indents are a necessity. Google Docs simplifies the process of creating hanging indents, ensuring that references are correctly formatted. This feature is particularly valuable for academic papers or professional reports.

Step 1: Highlight the text you want to format.

Step 2: Format > Align & indent > Indentation options.

Step 3: Under Special indent, select Hanging.

Step 4: Click Apply.

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Google Docs is more than just a platform for writing and collaboration; it's a powerful tool for document formatting and design. By leveraging these 10 formatting tricks, users can enhance the visual appeal and functionality of their documents, making them more professional and easier to navigate. Whether you're creating a report, drafting a proposal, or organizing research, these tips will help streamline your document creation process and improve your overall productivity. Remember, the key to effective document formatting is not only in knowing these features but in applying them judiciously to meet your specific needs.

Furthermore, you can learn more about how to create google docs template , Google Docs version history and force a copy of a google doc .

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Samarpit Nasa

Content Team Lead at Appy Pie