How to Edit Google Docs: A Comprehensive Guide

231737 How to Edit Google Docs: A Comprehensive Guide

Google Docs is a free web-based word processor that is part of Google’s web-based software suite G Suite. It allows users to create, edit, collaborate on, store, and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more from any device with an internet connection.

With Google Docs you can edit documents right in your web browser without needing to install any additional software. This guide will walk you through all the key features and functionalities of the Google Docs word processor to help you edit documents efficiently.

Getting Started with Editing

To get started with editing in Google Docs, simply open up an existing document or create a new blank document. Here are some tips:

  • To open a document, find it under “Recent” on the left side panel or search for it by name
  • To create a new blank document, click the “+” icon and select “Document”

Once the document is open, you can start typing and editing just like you would in a desktop word processor.

Editing Text

Editing text in Google Docs works very similarly to a desktop word processors:

  • Click anywhere in the document text to start typing
  • Select text to edit by clicking and dragging your mouse over it
  • Cut, copy, paste text using keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl/Cmd + X, C, V)
  • Use the backspace key to delete text
  • Undo and redo actions with Ctrl/Cmd + Z or Y

You have full formatting capabilities while editing text including:

  • Changing fonts, sizes, styles
  • Applying formatting like bold, italics, underline
  • Aligning text left, center, or right
  • Changing text color
  • Applying numbering or bullets

Inserting and Editing Objects

In addition to text, you can insert and edit various objects in Google Docs:

  • Images: Click “Insert” > “Image” to upload or insert an image from your device or the web. You can resize, reposition, and format images added.
  • Tables: Click “Insert” > “Table” to insert a table where you specify rows and columns. You can edit cell alignments, merge and split cells, resize columns and rows, add borders, and more.
  • Charts: Click “Insert” > “Chart” to choose from different chart types like line, bar, pie. Edit the chart data and design.
  • Drawings: Use the “Insert” > “Drawing” menu to add shapes, arrows, text boxes, and callouts. Customize fills, outlines, alignments, and more.
  • Links: Highlight text and click the link icon to insert a hyperlink. Edit or remove links when needed.
  • Comments: Click “Insert” > “Comment” to leave comments in the margins, highlight text, and reply in threads.
  • Footnotes: Choose “Insert” > “Footnote” to insert references and footnotes.

The editing capabilities make adding rich visuals and references simple in Google Docs.

Advanced Editing Tips

Google Docs has some more advanced features to aid with editing:

Keyboard Shortcuts

Learn keyboard shortcuts to edit documents more efficiently:

  • Basic shortcuts – Ctrl/Cmd + B (bold), I (italics), U (underline)
  • Select and edit – Ctrl/Cmd + A (select all), X (cut), C (copy), V (paste)
  • Undo and redo – Ctrl/Cmd + Z, Y
  • Find and replace – Ctrl/Cmd + H

Refer to the full list under “Help” > “Keyboard shortcuts”.

Voice Typing

You can use voice commands to dictate text. Go to “Tools” > “Voice typing” and allow microphone access to get started. Voice typing can help you capture ideas hands-free.

Version History

Google Docs saves an archived history of all edits made to the document. Click “File” > “Version history” to view or restore past versions. This allows you to revert unwanted changes.

Suggesting Mode

With suggesting mode you can leave edit suggestions rather than directly editing text. Go to “Suggesting” mode under the “Editing” menu to get started. Other collaborators can then review and accept or reject suggestions.

Research and Citations

Take advantage of the integrated research and citation tools. Use “Tools” > “Explore” to insert relevant quotes, images, and video to enhance your document without leaving Google Docs.

Easily create bibliographies and cite webpages or documents with auto-generated citations under the “Tools” > “Citations” menu. Choose from MLA, APA, Chicago, and other popular styles.

Collaborating While Editing

Google Docs excels not just at editing but also real-time collaboration. Multiple people can edit a document simultaneously with changes appearing live for everyone.

Here are some tips for collaborating on edits:

  • Click the “Share” button in the top right to invite other users to edit by entering their email addresses
  • View who else is currently editing when you open the document
  • See edits and suggestions made by others in different colors
  • Reply to discussions and resolve comments in the sidebar
  • Use version history to view collaborator changes
  • Designate specific sections for certain users to edit if needed

With robust collaboration capabilities, Google Docs makes it simple to coordinate edits from multiple people.

Best Practices for Editing

Follow these best practices when editing in Google Docs:

  • Save early and often – Auto-save prevents losing work but manually save important milestones too
  • Use headings and styles – Break up sections with headings. Define and apply styles for consistency
  • Leave comments – Use comments rather than direct edits when reviewing collaborator changes
  • Track changes – Turn on suggestions mode or use version history to track edits by individuals
  • Export PDF to proofread – Export as PDF to catch formatting issues and proofread before sharing final

Adopting these practices will help you get the most out of Google Docs whether you’re editing solo or with a team.


With its user-friendly interface, robust editing capabilities, and real-time collaboration features, Google Docs makes editing documents simple and efficient. Follow this comprehensive guide to learn the ins and outs of editing text, visual elements, tables, and more in Google Docs.

Use the advanced tools like voice typing, version history, and research integration to boost your productivity as you create, review, and finalize documents. And seamlessly coordinate edits with teammates through built-in collaboration.

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