If you've opened a Google Doc recently, you may have noticed a few changes. While we were all (hopefully) enjoying a relaxing summer break, the folks at Google were busy adding some new features to Google Docs. Here is a brief summary of some of our favorites!
For years, Google Sheets has had a nifty feature that automatically sends you an email when anyone edits a shared Sheet. Now Google Docs has this same capability! Under the Tools menu, select "Notification settings." You can configure an automatic notification to be sent to you whenever anyone edits the Doc. By default this feature is turned off, and you'll need to turn it on separately for each individual Doc.
Who doesn't love emojis? Whether you want to decorate your text with cute graphics or giving your students a space to share their emotions, emojis are amazingly versatile! To add an emoji to your text, go to the Insert menu and select "Emoji." Or, if you'd like to add an emoji as a comment, highlight some text and click the yellow popup on the right to "Add emoji reaction." This might be a great way to send quick feedback on student work, or send a quick message to a colleague on a shared document. Many emojis also have a small arrow you can click in order to modify the skin tone.
Smart Canvas Summary
You may have noticed your Google Docs now have a friendly automated outline on the left margin. While you may not use this for a simple assignment, it can be a very useful tool for long documents like unit plans or reports. If you use titles, subtitles, and headings in your Doc, they are automatically added to the Smart Canvas, which creates a simplified Table of Contents. Google recently added a new feature that allows you to add custom text to this Smart Canvas. Simply click the "plus" button to type text that can help guide your reader.
Google also added some new features to Docs earlier this year. One of our favorites is the Drop-Down Chips, which allow you to add colorful dropdown menu options right in the middle of a Doc. For more details check out our blog post from May 2022.
What other new features have you noticed in Google Docs? We'd love to hear your ideas!