Small caps can make your documents more readable by adding visual hierarchy. Though Google Docs doesn’t have native small caps support, this guide will show you workarounds to effectively use small caps.
What are Small Caps?
Small caps are uppercase letters that are the same height and weight as lowercase letters. They provide a middle ground between all-caps and lowercase.
This is LOWERCASE text.
THIS IS ALL CAPS TEXT.
This is SMALL CAPS text.
The key benefit of small caps is improved readability, especially for headings and acronyms. They stand out more than lowercase but aren’t as overbearing as all-caps.
Why Use Small Caps in Google Docs
There are several reasons to use small caps in your Google Docs:
1. Enhance Scannability
Small caps make it easier for readers to scan documents and spot key terms. This improves comprehension and retention.
2. Add Visual Interest
Sprinkling in small caps breaks up dense text, making it less intimidating to read. This refreshing change engages readers.
3. Boost Accessibility
All-caps text can be difficult to read for some. Small caps provide emphasis while remaining accessible for all readers.
4. Differentiate Document Elements
Using small caps for headings and abbreviations distinguishes them from body text. This organization aids reading flow.
Workarounds for Small Caps in Google Docs
Since Google Docs doesn’t natively support small caps, you’ll need to fake them. Here are three effective workarounds:
1. Scale Down All-Caps Text
Highlight text and format it as all-caps. Then reduce the font size slightly (e.g. 2 pts) to shrink it to small caps size.
2. Use a Small Caps Font
Download a font with real small caps, like Open Sans. Apply it only to the text you want in small caps.
3. Install a Small Caps Add-On
Add-ons like Small Caps Creator do the work for you. Just highlight and click to small cap.
Best Practices for Using Small Caps
Follow these tips to effectively utilize small caps in Google Docs:
- Use sparingly for maximum impact
- Keep small caps brief, like headings and abbreviations
- Be consistent with small caps formatting
- Avoid long passages of all small caps text
- Ensure enough contrast between small caps and body text
Examples of Using Small Caps
Here are just a few ways to use small caps to enhance Google Docs:
Emphasize Section Headings
Apply small caps to chapter and section headings in long-form documents like books and reports.
Highlight Key Terms
Introduce important vocabulary or acronyms with small caps on first reference.
Identify Authors in Citations
Use small caps for author names when citing sources in academic papers.
Offset Figures and Captions
Format captions and other text accompanying figures in small caps to distinguish them.
Mark Table Column Headers
Small cap column headers to help readers navigate data-rich tables.
Though Google Docs lacks native small caps support, these creative workarounds enable you to use this handy formatting technique. Integrating small caps improves scannability, accessibility, and visual appeal.
Carefully chosen small caps guide the reader’s eye to critical information. Use them to emphasize headings, acronyms, citations, figures, table data, and key terms. But be consistent and use small caps sparingly for maximum legibility.
With these simple tricks, you can enjoy enhanced readability with small caps in Google Docs. Your documents will stand out with improved organization and clearer visual hierarchy.