Drawing attention to key words and phrases in your documents can help emphasize important concepts, terminology, names, or data for your readers. While you can always bold or italicize text, circling words provides a visual highlight that stands out.
Google Docs makes it easy to circle words right within your text, without needing to use a third-party drawing app or insert images into your file. With just a few clicks, you can add customizable circles around selected words to call them out.
In this simple tutorial, we’ll walk through the quick process for circling text in Google Docs. We’ll cover:
- Selecting the word to circle
- Inserting a circle shape around the text
- Customizing the look of your circle
- Using other shapes besides circles
- When to effectively use circled words
Let’s get started adding some circles!
Selecting Words to Circle
The first step is choosing the word or phrase you want to visually highlight with a circle in your document. Here’s how to select text:
- To select an individual word, double click on the word with your mouse. This will highlight just that single word.
- To select a phrase, click and drag your mouse across the multiple words you want to select.
- To select a paragraph, triple click inside the paragraph with your mouse.
Once you’ve selected the desired text, you’re ready to insert a circle around it.
Inserting a Circle Shape
With your word or phrase selected, adding a circle is a breeze:
- Click on the Insert tab at the top of the document
- Select Drawing
- Choose New from the drop-down menu
- Click on the Ellipse icon (the circle icon)
- With your mouse, draw a circle around the selected words
And that’s it! Google Docs will automatically insert a circle shape around your highlighted text.
Tip: If your circle is covering too much or too little text, you can always adjust the size by clicking and dragging the resize handles on the edge and corners of the shape after inserting it.
Customizing Circled Words
While Google Docs inserts a black-lined circle by default, you have options to customize the look:
To change the color of a circle:
- Click on the inserted circle shape to select it
- Click the Color drop down that appears and choose a color
You can select standard colors or custom RGB colors for tons of possibilities.
To adjust the thickness of a circle’s outline:
- Click the circle to select it
- Click the thickness slider icon on the toolbar
- Drag left to make the outline thinner or drag right to thicken
You can also try different line dash types like dots or dashes instead of a solid line.
Besides color and thickness, you can re-size circles by clicking and dragging the round handles on the edge and corners of the selected shape.
Feel free to get creative with circles around different words using unique colors, line types, and sizes!
Using Other Shapes
While basic circles are common for calling out text, you’re not limited to circles in Google Docs when highlighting words. You can insert various shapes like:
- Squares or rounded rectangles
- Arrows pointing to text
- Lightning bolts
- Brackets around words
To switch the shape:
- Follow the same steps to select text and click Insert > Drawing > New
- Instead of choosing the ellipse, click a different icon before drawing
Mixing up shapes is great for color coding topics or indicating types of information.
When to Use Circled Words
Now that you know how to easily circle words in Google Docs, when should you use them?
Emphasize Key Terminology
Circling vocabulary words or key terms is an excellent way to visually call attention to important concepts in a document. Readers can quickly scan for circled text when reviewing a specific topic.
Spotlight Names, Events, and Data
Do you have critical names, dates, statistics, or events you want readers to take note of? Circle them! Calling out this information makes it easy to reference later.
Flag Areas Needing Editing
If you have an editing draft, try circling paragraphs, sentences, or words that need review or revising. This allows editors or co-writers to quickly identify sections requiring work.
Organize Thoughts While Brainstorming
Using colored shapes while brainstorming helps categorize ideas, group related concepts, or designate next step items. It provides a graphic way to organize thoughts.
Recap and Next Steps
And that’s the simplicity of circling words in Google Docs! To quickly recap how it’s done:
- Select the desired text
- Click Insert > Drawing > New
- Choose the ellipse/circle icon
- Draw a circle around the selected words
Remember you can customize the circle’s color, thickness, size, and line type. Don’t be afraid to experiment with other attention-grabbing shapes too like stars, brackets, or arrows!
Use circled words thoughtfully when writing documents to:
- Emphasize important terminology
- Spotlight noteworthy names, data, and events
- Flag areas needing editing
- Organize thoughts in drafts
Circling text is an easy way to draw readers’ eyes to key information.
Now you’re ready to start highlighting words in your own Google Docs! Try circling a variety of terms or phrases and customizing them. Don’t forget you can always adjust or delete circles later as you refine documents.
With this new skill, your academic essays, business reports, editorial drafts, lists, and any other documents are about to get a lot more visually engaging!
Let us know if you have any other questions about working with shapes in Google Docs!