6 fast fixes for common Google Docs problems

    Once upon a time, a phrase processor was little greater than a clean canvas to your finger-transmitted musings: You’d open up this system, sort no matter you needed — and, nicely, that was just about it.These days, coping with paperwork has virtually develop into an artwork. And despite the fact that Google Docs is among the many extra approachable choices on the market (paging Microsoft Office Ribbon…), the service has grown surprisingly multilayered as of late.For probably the most half, that is a superb factor. Docs continues to be usually fairly simple to make use of, and it packs greater than sufficient punch for commonest phrase processing functions. But typically, the layers of complexity can result in cloud-sized complications which might be something however gentle and fluffy.Today, we’ll assume via among the commonest Docs challenges and the quickest methods to repair ’em. Whether you are accountable for solely your individual Docs utilization otherwise you act because the go-to troubleshooter to your workplace, pal group, or household (be it on an official foundation or in a kind of beautiful unpaid “tech support” positions), that is the reference it is advisable to resolve no matter woes could come your manner.(Note that a lot of the points described listed below are particular to the Docs net interface for desktop browsers, which is much extra totally featured and sophisticated than the service’s cell app equivalents.)Google Docs downside No. 1: Edit regretDocuments usually symbolize hours upon hours of valuable work — and as soon as they’re gone, concepts aren’t all the time simple to get again. So what occurs a member of your workforce (who could or is probably not, erm, you) makes a change to a Google Docs doc that you simply later come to understand was a mistake?Sure, there’s the common Undo command — Ctrl-Z (or ⌘-Z, on a Mac), which may also be present in Docs’ Edit menu — however that works provided that you are the one who made the edit in query and in case you simply did it. If another person is responsible, in case you’ve navigated away from the doc because the change bought made, or in case you’ve made a bunch of different adjustments since then that you simply do need to preserve, Undo is not gonna do you a lick of fine.So this is the repair: Remember to depend on Docs’ sturdy Version History system. You can discover it within the File menu or by utilizing 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 may be zapped instantly again over as full replacements for the present model of your doc.The complicating difficulty, although, is that these variations are saved solely sporadically, which implies it’s possible you’ll or could not discover one from the exact level you want to revive. The greatest manner round that’s to manually pressure Docs to avoid wasting a model anytime you attain a milestone otherwise you’re anticipating main adjustments to be made. That manner, you all the time know you’ve a fast ‘n’ simple strategy to get again to the way in which 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 avoid wasting a model of your doc, open the File menu, click on “Version history,” then choose “Name current version.” Give the model any title you need — I’m a fan of Clancy, myself, however be at liberty to make use of one thing extra descriptive — after which that precise state of your doc will all the time be obtainable and simply identifiable inside the principle Version History menu. JR Raphael/IDG
    Relying on Google Docs’ Version History characteristic generally is a actual lifesaver, particularly in case you keep in mind to manually save and title variations earlier than main edits are made. (Click picture to enlarge it.)
    Google Docs downside No. 2: Case crazinessHave you ever pasted over textual content from an electronic mail, an internet web page, or another supply after which realized elements of it had been in a wacky ALL CAPS format? Or possibly you are engaged on modifying a doc and wish all of the headings to exist in title case with a view to look appropriate. Whatever the, ahem, case could also be, save your self the trouble of manually remodeling all that textual content and let Docs do the heavy lifting.Just spotlight the textual content in query, click on the Format menu on the prime of the display, then click on “Text” adopted by “Capitalization.” There, deep within the Docs menu construction, you will discover a one-click instrument 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. 3: Auto-format frustrationBy default, Google Docs performs some formatting magic that is meant to be useful however can usually be annoying. For occasion, the service will mechanically capitalize the primary phrase of each sentence you sort, it will change all of the citation marks you enter from the usual straight-quote fashion into the controversial curly-quote fashion, and it will add a hyperlink onto any net handle you enter right into a doc.Docs additionally adjustments 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 adjustments sure abbreviations (like c/o) into their single-character Unicode image equivalents (like ℅).For sure functions, these adjustments is likely to be nice — however simply as usually, they’re obnoxious. Fear not, although, for you’ll be able to disable each a kind of behaviors and inform Docs to go away your authentic textual content alone.The secret resides in an simply ignored two-part preferences menu. To get there, click on the Tools menu on the prime 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. JR Raphael/IDG
    You can disable primary textual content substitution patterns within the Docs “Preferences” menu. (Click picture to enlarge it.)
    That space lets you flip off the auto-capitalization, allegedly “smart” quote transformation, and automated hyperlink formatting, amongst different issues. As for the fractions and different extra superior types of textual content substitutions, you will must click on on the “Substitutions” header on the prime of that very same window to search out ’em — after which uncheck the field subsequent to any substitutions you need to blast away. JR Raphael/IDG
    The “Substitutions” part of that menu enables you to take whole management over how Docs messes together with your textual content. (Click picture to enlarge it.)
    Ahh…the glass is all of the sudden trying 1/2 full as an alternative of ½ empty, is not it?Google Docs downside No. 4: Grammar police overreachDocs likes to inform you if you’ve bought one thing unsuitable together with your grammar, which might definitely be helpful at occasions. But it may 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 crimson underlines declaring issues that are not truly issues. (Been there, accomplished 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. You can discover the command to take action within the Tools menu, beneath “Spelling and grammar”; simply click on the road labeled “Show grammar suggestions” to uncheck and deactivate it.You may also flip automated spelling ideas off in that very same place, you probably have a model title that makes use of an unusual spelling and continually will get corrected. Alternatively, you should use the “Personal dictionary” possibility inside that very same menu so as to add particular phrases into Docs’ vocabulary and preserve it from considering they’re errors.Google Docs downside No. 5: Bullet level bluesWho would not love lists? Docs makes it simple so as to add bulleted lists into your paperwork, and it even has a handful of formatting choices inside its Format menu, beneath “Bullets & numbering,” in case the fundamental black dot is not doing the trick for what you want.Those default choices are fairly restricted, although, and you probably have something particular in thoughts, they most likely will not embody the image you need.But wait! Docs additionally lets you insert nearly any image conceivable as your bullet record indicator. You’d simply by no means notice it, as the choice to take action solely seems after you’ve got created a listing. (Go determine.)So do that: Create a bulleted record inside a doc, both by trying within the menu we simply talked about or by utilizing the Ctrl-Shift-8 (or ⌘-Shift-8) shortcut. Then, together with your cursor on that record, open up the Format menu and look beneath “Bullets & numbering” once more. This time, you must be capable to choose the “List options” merchandise — and when you do, you’ll be able to choose “More bullets” to pick from a sprawling vary of bullet image types. JR Raphael/IDG
    You’ve bought all types of bullet level choices inside Docs — if you know the way to search out and activate them. (Click picture to enlarge it.)
    That similar menu will even assist you to modify the numbering on a numbered record, in case you ever want a listing to revolve round one thing apart from numbers alone (like “Item No. 1,” for example) or must have a listing begin on a quantity apart from 1.Google Docs downside No. 6: The envelope enigmaFor as succesful as Docs has gotten over time, 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. If you want both operate to 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 possibility obtainable. Add it onto your account (or ask your admin to do it for you, in case you’re on an organization account with out direct add-on entry) after which look within the Add-ons menu on the prime of any doc to search out and activate it.Once you do, you’ll be able to simply enter within the precise dimensions of your envelope — and, ta-da: JR Raphael/IDG
    Envelope formatting in Google Docs would not should be tough. You simply should have the precise add-on in place. (Click picture to enlarge it.)
    With labels, the aptly named Create & Print Labels Google Docs add-on will do every thing you want. It’ll present up in that very same Add-ons menu, as soon as put in, and it will provide you with one-click entry to on the spot web page formatting for quite a lot of frequent label sizes (from Avery and different label suppliers).Page Sizer is free, whereas Create & Print Labels is free to be used with a restricted vary of normal label codecs (which is able to most likely be lots for many informal functions). For entry to all obtainable codecs and options, the add-on runs 30 bucks a yr or $80 for a lifetime license.Bonus Google Docs downside: Word weirdnessThere’s only one extra Docs-related repair to deal with, and it is associated to the way in which the service interacts with Microsoft Word information. To discover that difficulty and get into another related experience-improving ideas, head over to the earlier chapter in my “fast fixes” sequence: “6 fast fixes for common Google Drive problems.”

    Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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