How to Create a Drop Cap in Google Docs in Few Minutes

889372 How to Create a Drop Cap in Google Docs in Few Minutes

A drop cap is a decorative typography technique used to highlight the beginning of a section of text. It involves enlarging the initial letter of the paragraph so it occupies multiple lines, usually two to four lines. The enlarged letter is also called a lettrine.

Drop caps serve both aesthetic and functional purposes:

  • They add visual interest to draw the reader’s attention to the start of an important passage. This helps guide the reader through the content.
  • They can denote the beginning of a new chapter or section, providing clear structure.
  • When used sparingly, a drop cap’s decorative style creates a classic, elegant look.

While Google Docs doesn’t have a built-in drop cap feature like Microsoft Word, you can easily create one in just a few minutes using the drawing tools.

Follow these simple steps to make a drop cap in Google Docs:

1. Place Cursor at the Start of Paragraph

Put your cursor at the beginning of the paragraph you want to add the drop cap to.

Make sure there is enough space above this paragraph for the enlarged letter. Add an extra line break above if needed.

2. Open Drawing Tools

Click Insert > Drawing > New in the toolbar.

The drawing canvas will open.

3. Select Word Art

Click the down arrow next to Actions and choose Word Art.

Select Word Art in drawing tools

4. Type Drop Cap Letter

In the text box that appears, type the first letter of your paragraph. Use a capital letter.

For example, if your paragraph starts with “The quick brown fox…”, you would type “T”.

Type drop cap letter T

5. Resize the Letter

Drag the sizing handles on the bounding box around the letter to enlarge it.

Stretch the letter vertically to occupy 2 to 4 lines.

Resize letter to fill lines

6. Customize Formatting

Use the toolbar below the letter to customize the drop cap:

  • Font: Change to a decorative font like a serif or script if desired.
  • Size: Adjust so letter remains 2-4 lines tall.
  • Color: Pick something that contrasts well.
  • Border: Add border if you want the letter to stand out more.
  • Wrap text: Choose this so text flows around the letter.

7. Save and Close

When done formatting, click Save and Close to add the drop cap to the document.

8. Type Remaining Text

With your drop cap in place, type the rest of the paragraph text.

It will automatically wrap around the enlarged letter.

And that’s it! You’ve created an elegant drop cap in Google Docs to highlight the start of an important passage.

Finished drop cap example

Customizing Your Google Docs Drop Cap

The benefit of using Google Docs to make a drop cap rather than a static image is you can fully customize it.

Here are some tips for styling your drop cap:

Pick a high-contrast color scheme: Go for maximum impact by using contrasting colors for the drop cap fill and text. Dark letter with light background text works best.

Add a background shape: Boxes, circles, and ovals can frame a drop cap nicely. Just layer the shape behind.

Try different borders: Borders outline the letter, making it bolder. Experiment with border color, width, and style.

Overlap text for drama: Resize your drop cap so the bounding box overlaps the body text slightly. This pushes text to wrap tightly around the letter for a dramatic effect.

Use a decorative font: Serif and script fonts have lots of flair. Mix and match fonts for letter and surrounding text.

Make it descend: Enable this setting to have the drop cap take up the full space between lines, including descending below the baseline. It can create a bolder look when done right.

Create shadow effects: Long shadows behind the drop cap mimic old-style printed books. Just duplicate the letter, offset it, lower the opacity, and color it black.

With some creative tweaking, you can craft a customized drop cap that aligns perfectly with your document’s tone and style.

Using Drop Caps for Visual Hierarchy

Drop caps instantly dress up body text, but did you know they also help content creators establish visual hierarchy?

Hierarchy guides readers through information, highlighting what’s important. Drop caps denote content of significance.

Here are some key benefits of using drop caps for visual hierarchy:

Lead the reader: That enlarged letter is a focal point that draws the reader’s gaze to the start of major sections.

Provide structure: Use sparingly to indicate new chapters. Drop caps make divisions more distinct.

Add emphasis: Call out key passages by applying drop caps to initial paragraphs you want to spotlight.

Improve scannability: Drop caps break up dense text, giving readers visual resting points to scan and re-enter passages.

Establish hierarchy: Multiple levels of drop caps (varying size, color, style) can further classify levels of information.

Enhance aesthetics: Drop caps inject artistry into your document, making it more visually inviting to read.

So utilize drop caps strategically to guide your readers, not just decorate text. Place them purposefully to augment the natural hierarchy in your content.

Alternatives to Drop Caps

While drop caps have graced fine publications for centuries, they aren’t the only option for elegant text styling. Here are a few alternatives if you want something a bit different:

Initial Caps

This simpler approach enlarges just the first letter without having it occupy multiple lines. It calls attention to the start of passage without as much disruption.

Sunken Caps

Similar to a drop cap but the enlarged letter sinks below the first baseline instead of rising above it. This creates an inverted letter shape embedded into paragraphs.

Raised Caps

The opposite of sunken caps. Raise the first letter up above the normal line height for a floating capital letter hovering above the passage start.

Outlined Caps

Rather than filling the first letter with color, just outline it leaving the interior hollow. White letter forms stand out cleanly from body text.

Illustrated Caps

Take customization up a notch by filling the first letter space with a thematic illustration or icon. Useful for more creative and playful documents.


Adding a drop cap in Google Docs only takes minutes but delivers a maximum visual impact. Transform boring body text into beautiful, inviting passages to read with this dramatic typography detail.

Use drop caps strategically to establish hierarchy, guide readers, emphasize key points, and boost aesthetic appeal.

So give your Google Docs an elegant makeover with a custom drop cap at the start of major sections. Dress up your documents with this artistic touch!

About The Author