Using Google Docs for Word Processing

November 8, 2010, By Christian Cawley

Using Google Docs as an alternative to popular office applications like Microsoft Excel (Google Spreadsheet) and Microsoft PowerPoint (Google Presentation) is becoming increasingly common – but what about using these free browser-based tools for word processing?

Unsurprisingly, Google Docs has a word processing tool, called Google Document. Using this tool, you can perform standard word processing tasks, such inserting images and tables, spell checking and much more.

If you’ve already taken a look at using Google Spreadsheet and Google Presentation, then Google Documents is the logical next step. Let’s take a look at using some of the basic features.

Courtesy of pesut

Start Using Google Docs Document

To start using the Google Docs Document app, you first need to browse to  If you already have a Google account, login with this, otherwise select the Create an account now link.

When logged in, go to the Create new drop-down menu on the left and select Document; if you already have a file you wish to upload and edit, choose the Upload… button.

At first glance, your new document will appear to closely resemble a Microsoft Word file, but the key difference, of course, is that this tool is being viewed in your browser. You will notice a virtual page in the browser for you to begin typing into, as well as several toolbar and menu options. Before you start, however, delete the text at the top of the window that says Untitled document and give the document its own title.

Next, you should go to File > Page Setup to decide on your paper Orientation, Paper Size and Margins; you can also set a Page Color in this screen.

Save the document via File > Save Now – and remember to do this regularly!

Styling Text in Google Docs Document

As you’ll no doubt notice, as you start typing away and writing your document, article, poem, book or report, the text will need formatting, possibly with some sort of justification or alignment, or with some text styling.

Like a desktop word processing app, Google Docs Document will allow you to alter the look and feel of your text. You might start by applying a heading type to your various section titles, and this can be done via the drop down menu under the Insert menu item; by default it will show you style you currently have selected, and when you’re beginning Normal text will be displayed. Use the drop-down arrow to choose Heading 1, Heading 2 etc.

Text Formatting with Google Docs Document

Meanwhile you can access all of the familiar word processing styles like italics, bold and underline by choosing the regular icons on the toolbar (B for bold, I for italics and U for underlined), and bear in mind that the traditional keyboard CTRL + B, CTRL + I  and CTRL + U are available!

You can also change the font size and type by selecting text and choosing the required drop-down menu options, justify text to the right, left or center with the appropriate buttons (again corresponding with what you might expect to find in Microsoft Word) and insert numbered and bullet lists.

Various insert commands are also available, as are some options for advanced formatting…

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