3 Easy Ways to Work Faster in Google Docs

For me, there is a certain irony in creating content for a living, but absolutely dreading the look of a blank word processing document.

As a writer, the less time I spend inside a word processor, the better. So I’ll take every opportunity I can to minimize typing and formatting. These three features of Google Docs speed up my process exponentially. Best of all, they’re really easy to use.

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Voice input

If you can talk, you can type, and much faster than actually typing.

Google Docs has a great built-in dictation feature that you can access by clicking Tools in the menu bar and turning off the “Voice Typing” option.

You can add punctuation manually if you want by specifying “period” or “comma”, but the feature is actually quite good at recognizing natural breaks and inserting punctuation automatically.

It’s not perfect, of course, but it’s a great way to get a quick first draft without too much typing on the keyboard.

Automatic text substitutions

An absolute boon for anyone who has to retype the same phrases over and over again, Google Docs’ text substitution feature is a must-have for almost anyone’s productivity arsenal.

Click Tools > Preferences, then select the Overrides tab in the box that appears. Now enter an acronym in the Replace column and the full phrase in the With column.

Going forward, whenever you type the acronym in a document and press the spacebar, its respective full phrase will appear in its place.

Type the acronym in lowercase so that the entire phase appears in lowercase, or, if you’re considering a sentence, capitalize the first letter of the acronym so that the first letter of the phrase is capitalized.

Multiple text selections

The multiple text selections feature allows short work of large-scale edits.

Suppose you are working on a long document and you forgot to bold every paragraph title or italicize every book title. Simply select the first item you need to edit, release the CTRL key on Windows or Command on Mac, and then select the next thing you need to edit.

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Keep doing this until you’ve selected everything that should be bold, for example, multiple times, then click the bold button to change everything at once. Repeat for italics, and so on.

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