Android Intelligence Advice

2 useful Google Docs features you probably aren't using

Ready to turn your efficiency up a notch? These clever Docs features can save you time and frustration, no matter what type of device you're working on.

Google Docs Features
Credit: Google

Google Docs may be known as the "lightweight" word processor, but that doesn't mean it's lacking in advanced productivity features.

Even with the once-touted add-ons for Android program apparently in limbo, Google Docs has some handy and easily overlooked options for making your mobile or desktop-based document work a little bit easier.

Two such examples I myself forgot about up until recently and then was delighted to rediscover:

1. Explore: Intelligent in-document multitasking

Ever find yourself editing a document on your phone and needing to get more info about a particular subject? Google Docs' Explore is just the thing you want.

On Android, tap the three-dot menu button in the upper-right corner of Docs' editing screen, then select—yup, you guessed it—"Explore." An overlay window will appear with suggested subjects based on the text in your document. You can tap on any term to drill into it further or scroll down for general related research.

Google Docs Features: Explore (1) jr

(The experience is pretty similar with Google Docs on the desktop, but the option is found in the "Tools" menu—or via a floating button in the lower-right corner of the screen—and the overlay appears at the right of the screen.)

Once you select a specific subject, Google Docs will allow you to see web and image results related to it along with results from your own personal Drive storage.

Google Docs Features: Explore (2) jr

And when you tap on any specific page or image, Google Docs will provide simple on-screen commands for inserting excerpts, graphics or links from those results directly into your document.

Google Docs Features: Explore (3) jr

One particularly useful and out-of-sight element of Explore is its ability to provide definitions and context related to specific words or terms within your document. All you gotta do is first highlight some text in your document and then activate the Explore option—and ta-da:

Google Docs Features: Explore (4) jr

It's a handy on-demand research assistant, and it doesn't require any app-toggling or window-splitting to work.

2. Outline: Automatic document organization

We've all been there: You're working on a sprawling document with thousands of words and loads of headers. Jumping around and finding the section you need at any given moment can be a real hassle, especially on a mobile device.

Google Docs' Outline feature can help. On Android, tap the three-dot menu icon while editing a document, and select "Document Outline." The app will automatically create a dynamic table of contents from your headers and give you a simple way to hop around to whatever section you want.

Google Docs Features: Outline jr

(On desktop, again, it's similar—only the option is located in the "Tools" menu and the info appears on the left side of the screen.)

Just tap any header in the list to instantly transport yourself to it—no searching or scrolling required.

Ahh. That, my friends, is the feeling of efficiency.

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