Home Google Tips and Tricks 12 Google Docs Features to Infuse Style, Efficiency, and Fun

12 Google Docs Features to Infuse Style, Efficiency, and Fun

by Cari Orts
12 Google Docs Features to Try Blog Header

These quick and breezy Google Docs features are destined to provoke delightful “wow” reactions from both you and your fellow document adventurers! Your documents will captivate even the most hesitant learners and astonish your colleagues as well.

1. Customize a Watermark

Personalize your documents by adding images or text with adjustable size, layout, and transparency. This Google Docs feature is particularly useful for indicating due dates, displaying the grading weight of assignments, or adding a unique touch to your document. You can even create personalized stationery for your classroom.

2 Google docs examples with a text watermark reading "Test Grade" and an image watermark of a pink flamingo.

2. Make Docs Pageless

If you frequently incorporate tables into your documents and want to avoid awkward page breaks, Google docs offers a “pageless” feature. This setting ensures a seamless flow of information and is especially beneficial for documents that include both text and graphs or charts, making it ideal for data discussions. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. In your doc, click File.
  2. Select Page Setup in the menu.
  3. Choose between Pages or Pageless.

Watch those page breaks disappear!

3. Type Meeting Notes for Calendar Events

Easily connect a Google Doc to an existing calendar event using the convenient “@” menu feature. Simply type the “@” symbol anywhere in your document. When the drop-down menu appears, select Meeting Notes.

Google Docs @ menu showing Meeting Notes in the dropdown.
The @ menu in Google Docs

As a bonus, once you’ve typed your notes, the document will prompt you to share them with all the participants in the calendar event. This feature is particularly handy for keeping meetings productive and setting goals for future meetings through the inclusion of “action items.”

Example Google Doc with meeting notes.
Example of meeting notes in Docs shared with meeting attendees.

4. Insert Emoji Text in Docs

🙂 Emojis are beloved by students and teachers alike, but inserting them as images into a document can be tricky. No worries! You can easily add emojis to your Google Docs from the insert menu. Once inserted, emojis behave like text and can be resized to match the size and formatting of your original text.🦩 Here’s how:

  1. In your doc, click Insert.
  2. Select Emoji in the menu.
  3. Choose the Emoji you’d like to insert!

5. Get Advanced Comment Notifications

Take control of your documents with “any edits to the doc” notifications. This Google Docs feature is particularly useful for teachers and students to keep track of who’s working on the document and prevent major changes. You can customize your notification preferences in the Tools menu under Notification Settings.

6. Add Emoji Comment Reactions

Sometimes, pictures convey messages better than words. Instead of using text for feedback or comments on students’ documents, consider using emojis. Emojis serve as a universal language and help bridge the communication gap between English Language Learners (ELL) and younger students.

Where to find the emoji reaction menu in Google Docs.

7. Simplify Advanced Citations

Let’s face it, citations can be challenging. But this Google Docs feature makes the process a breeze. It offers nine modern source types to choose from, allows you to specify the source location, and provides a step-by-step guide to assist with even the most complex citations. This is a game-changing tool for middle and high school students and teachers. And yes, it will assist you in citing your favorite TV series! 

Tools menu showing Citations features in Google Docs.
Where to find the Citations tool in the Tools menu.

8. Elevate Your Google Docs Fonts

I have a favorite add-on that lets you transform your fonts in exciting ways. You can choose from features like smooth highlight colors, rainbow letters, wobbly text, and even text that appears upside down and backward (ndsᴉpǝ poʍu ʇǝxt), just to name a few! With Fun Text, you can apply multiple effects to the same text, taking your document customization to the next level.

Fun Text Google Extension icon
Screenshot by the author: Google Workplace Marketplace, Fun Text

Say goodbye to messy hyperlinks! You can now use the convenient @ toolbar to create professional-looking clickable hyperlinks that display the linked file’s icon. As an extra benefit, when you hover over the link, a document preview appears, saving you the trouble of opening the file to preview its contents. This preview also provides information on the last time edits were made and allows you to copy the file link with ease. Here’s how:

  1. Type “@” where you’d like to insert your hyperlink.
  2. Scroll down in the menu to Files.
  3. Choose the file you’d like to hyperlink.
A Google Doc showing example hyperlinks and file previews.
A Google Doc showing example hyperlinks and file previews.

10. Customize Dropdown Menus

Take your to-do list to the next level with custom dropdown menus inside your doc. Click the @ sign anywhere in your document and then choose dropdown. Customize the menu to your preferences by choosing your preferred color and text, and then you can start creating your list. These dropdown menus make it incredibly easy to change the status of each item on your list with a simple click. The potential uses for this feature are limitless, making it an excellent tool for keeping student groups on track during extended group assignments.

  1. Type “@” where you’d like to insert your dropdown.
  2. Scroll down in the menu to Dropdowns.
  3. Choose the dropdown you’d like to insert or create a new dropdown.
Dropdown menu examples in Google Docs.
Example dropdown options in Google Docs.

11. Connect Charts from Forms or Sheets to Google Docs

Including a chart in your document is a great way to enrich data discussions. What’s even more valuable is the ability to “link” charts from Google Forms or Google Sheets to your document. This linking feature ensures that the chart stays updated whenever the underlying data changes. You can preload charts into your document and then effortlessly update them with a simple click of the “update” button.

12. Add Paragraph Line Numbers

If you need to conduct a running record with a student using an existing document, hop over to the Tools menu and then click on Line Numbers. This feature allows you to count the lines in specific paragraphs or measure the entire document quickly. It’s also a useful tool for referencing specific parts of the text and ensuring you meet line requirements, especially for essays or similar assignments.

Example Google Doc with numbered lines.

Ready to supercharge your Google Docs experience? Get set to unlock a treasure trove of fantastic features that will take your documents to the next level. But don’t keep these tricks to yourself – spread the word among your co-workers and let’s all boost our productivity and fun together!

Cari Orts will be presenting three sessions at TCEA’s Convention & Exposition in Austin, Texas!

Don’t miss the chance to gather up ideas and resources, collect time-saving tips and tricks, and learn from other educators, like Cari. Early bird registration ends November 3, so register soon to get the best price!

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