Top Google Docs Automation Hacks [September 2021]
Google Docs is not directly related to marketing automation, but as an important web-based tool that supports a significant number of marketers in their daily work, some of its actions might and should be automated to improve its use.
The most powerful automation possibilities are provided by Scripts, which are used in all Google Editors. As a more complex issue, it will be described in another article.
If you want to know how to:
- automate and fasten transcription
- speed up working with Google Docs
- use the most common shortcuts
- prepare your own paragraph styles and templates
and ensure yourself fast and efficient work, take into account the following improvements.
Voice typing is an unbelievable improvement in text typing. Transcribing works in 119 different languages and accents and also offers text edition and even punctuation adding – it works only in German, English, Spanish (without punctuation at the beginning of the sentence), French, Italian, and Russian. Moreover, voice commands enable editing the text you have written.
To turn on (and off) voice typing on Docs menu bar click Tools -> Voice typing or use the following shortcut:
Mac: Cmd + Shift + S
PC: Ctrl + Shift + S
Voice typing commands
After turning Voice Typing with the method written above, say any of the following bulleted commands.
Voice typing punctuation commands
- Exclamation point
- Question mark
- New paragraph
- Apply heading [1–6]
- Apply normal text
- Apply subtitle
- Apply title
- Italicize / Italics
Text color and highlighting
- Text color [red, red berry, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue, cornflower blue, purple, magenta, black, white, gray]
- Highlight [red, red berry, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue, cornflower blue, purple, magenta, black, white, gray]
- Background color [red, red berry, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue, cornflower blue, purple, magenta, black, white, gray]
- Remove highlight
- Remove background color
- Align center
- Align justified
- Align left
- Align right
- Create bulleted list
- Create numbered list
- Insert bullet
- Insert number
Google is constantly improving its voice-to-text tool, but even though the work on voice search started in 2011 the contemporary state of AI capabilities doesn’t allow this option to work correctly in 100%. Be aware of that. Anyway, having your own and free assistant is still awesome!
In Google Docs commonly used keyboard shortcuts are mainly for formatting text and paragraphs, but it’s also available for comments and navigation. To open handy shortcut list press:
Mac: Cmd + /
PC: Ctrl + /
The most useful shortcuts are presented below. You can find the whole list at Docs Editors Help.
|Find and replace||⌘ + Shift + h||Ctrl + Shift + h|
|Apply normal text style||⌘ + Option + 0||Ctrl + Alt + 0|
|Apply heading style [1-6]||⌘ + Option + [1-6]||Ctrl + Alt + [1-6]|
|Numbered list||⌘ + Shift + 7||Ctrl + Shift + 7|
|Bulleted list||⌘ + Shift + 8||Ctrl + Shift + 8|
|Insert comment||⌘ + Option + m||Ctrl + Alt + m|
|Word count||⌘ + Shift + c||Ctrl + Shift + c|
Customize paragraph styles
While working on longer texts or identical documents to ensure the same formatting and save a lot of time you should define paragraph styles.
In the beginning, create your own font list by selecting fonts you will use. Choose More fonts while selecting the currently used font from the menu bar.
Secondly, create customized font styles in paragraphs. Choose font, size and color manually. Then update the corresponding paragraph style (for example: Normal text) by selecting:
Format -> Paragraph styles -> Normal text -> Update ‘Normal text’ to match
Use the same trick for Title, Subtitle and Headers. Then only mark a specific text with a suitable paragraph style.
Hint: Use the shortcuts listed above.
If you use the same paragraph styles in all documents, you can set up your styles.
Format -> Paragraph Styles -> Options -> Save as my default styles
Custom Templates (available only in G Suite)
Templates are immensely effective in working on similar types of documents. There are some predefined templates, but to create a custom docs template you have to be a G Suite user.
The templates can have already set headers, footers and paragraph styles. You can gain the same effect by copying the document with arbitrally set values.
Submit a template
Create a document that will be a base for your template. Then on Google Docs click Template Gallery -> Submit Template. Select the previously created document and add a template category and confirm.
Use a template
To use a template open Google Drive and select New -> Google Docs -> From a template.
These tips and tricks about Google Docs Automation Hacks concern improving content creation. The second part of the article – Google Docs Automation Hacks for Advanced (in production) cover Docs Add-ons, browsers extensions and integrations topics.