Improving your efficiency is a great feeling. Typing the same thing over and over again? Not such a good feeling. To add some efficiency, avoid repeatedly typing the same thing and save a few seconds, I’d like to show you how to add some AutoText or AutoComplete automation in Google Docs.
I love using the Chrome Extension “Auto Text Expander,” but it doesn’t work in Google Docs. So, here’s the solution. First – a GIF and second – the step-by-step.
- Open a Google Doc.
- Go to Tools > Preferences.
- In the table, put the shortcut you’d like to type under “Replace.”
- Put the corresponding expanded text under “With.”
- Click OK. It will now work in all of your Google Docs on this account.
- Choose shortcuts that you’ll never type. You wouldn’t want to use cheese as a shortcut for cheeseburger, because sometimes you just need to type cheese! Starting shortcuts with a rarely used symbol like a ~ or ^ is a good way to do this.
- Capital letters won’t work. I’m not sure why, but if your expanded text is long enough, the hassle of going back to capitalize a few letters is worth it.
- Note that the options need to be check-marked in the preferences window to work. This can be convenient if you have shortcuts that you only use sometimes – turn them on when you need them and off when you don’t.
This post is about a useful feature that most people don’t notice in Google Docs: Suggesting Mode. This is fantastic for students doing peer revisions or even teachers collaborating on projects. It allows you to show people what you think should be changed, without actually changing it. The choice is ultimately theirs.
I recommend this when students do any peer revisions in class: if you’re suggesting a specific grammatical, punctuation or word change, use Suggested Edits. However, if you’re giving more general feedback or suggesting a change be made, but not identifying what to change to, use a Comment.
Anyhow, here’s how it works: Up in the top right corner you’ll see the word or icon for Editing, Commenting or Viewing. Click on that and switch to Suggesting. Now, act as though you’re actually editing the document (type, backspace, etc.), but your “edits” will show as “suggested edits.” Awesome!
One of the earliest edtech tools that I recommended to the teachers involved in the Writing Ourselves project, which I am the Technology Director for, was the DraftBack Extension. Once enabled, the extension allows you to playback your writing process for any doc that you are an editor on. Obviously, the best use case for this would be to have students do this.
What a powerful way for students to reflect on their writing process and for educators to assess (and offer feedback on) the way that they go about the writing craft. Awesome sauce.
A great tool for creating rough drafts or brainstorming for writing is voice typing. Encourage your writers to use this tool to get their thoughts “down on paper” while their creative juices are flowing.
One of the complaints from Day 1 with Google Docs was the inability to add columns. Not too long ago, Google added this functionality, but it’s still sorely lacking in customizability. So, here’s a workaround:
- Insert a Table
- Enter your text and images
- Make the table’s border 0 point (a.k.a., invisible)
- Find a microphone
- Drop it
Wait, what page are you on?
I’m confused. What slide are you referring to?
Ugh, what cell are you in!?
GSuite’s tools make collaboration–both between adults and between students–a piece of cake, but it can still be tough to keep up with one another, especially in lengthy Docs, Sheets or Slide decks. Did you know that if you click on their icon it will jump you right to their location? You’re welcome.
Check out the two GIFs below . . .
Years ago, I heard plenty of complaints about how Google Docs just didn’t measure up to Microsoft Word. My response always centered around the ways that Google Docs could change the way we worked and students learned. Most people have bought in, but I still occasionally hear complaints about missing features. One of them is adding captions to pictures – a major informational text skill in the English Language Arts standards.
Check out the GIF below to see how to use the “Insert > Drawing” tool to perform this task.
I should note, as has been pointed out that me on Twitter, that this process will reduce the quality of the image. I think that, for a student’s project it’s still okay. Just, you know, maybe not for your doctoral research paper or school yearbook.
Efficiency is intelligent laziness.
This pretty well summarizes my approach to use of technology. If I can find a way to trim seconds or minutes off tasks without sacrificing quality, I’m all for it.
In recent posts about Google Docs, I shared how to boost font formatting efficiency with the Paint Format Tool and the Select Matching Text option. This post’s topic fits well with those 2.
Most people type in Google Docs and change fonts as needed without ever noticing the Text Styles dropdown. They live in “Normal Text” mode, but change their fonts regularly. But they are missing out! There is hidden functionality in that dropdown . . .
- It allows you to change your default font styles. Are you an elementary school teacher who always types in size 16 font? Change your default! Are you a professional basketball team owner who always types in Comic Sans? Change your default! Do you believe that Helvetica is the world’s best font? Double-space all of the time? Prefer blue font? Like size 13? Always typing in italics? Change your default!
- Using titles & headings adds other functionalities to your Doc. Do you have a 100-page Google Doc for your lesson plans and hate trying to navigate it to find the correct snippet? Use Headings & Document Outline view! Here’s how . . .
The quote at the top is often credited to David Dunham, though it appears that he’s not the originator of the quote).
I love anything that saves me time and makes me more efficient. The Paint Format Tool? It’s one of those things. I ❤️ the Paint Format Tool (which I often call the Paint Roller Tool). Here’s why: