How to Use Distraction-Free Mode in Google Docs and Google Slides

959345 How to Use Distraction-Free Mode in Google Docs and Google Slides

Focusing on writing in Google Docs or creating presentations in Google Slides can be challenging with all the menus, buttons, and formatting options surrounding your workspace. Fortunately, there is an easy way to minimize distractions – turning on Distraction-Free Mode.

What is Distraction-Free Mode?

Distraction-Free Mode is a feature available through a Google Chrome extension that hides all controls, buttons, and extra elements in Google Docs and Google Slides. This leaves only the document text or slide content visible, creating a clean workspace to focus on writing or designing presentations without disruptions.

The extension goes by the name “Distraction Free Mode – Google Docs & Slides” and is available for free from the Chrome Web Store.

Benefits of Using Distraction-Free Mode

There are several key benefits to using Distraction-Free Mode in Google Docs and Slides:

  • Increased focus and productivity: By removing on-screen clutter, you can concentrate better on writing or creating slides without distractions. This leads to higher efficiency and output.
  • Enhanced creativity: The clean interface provides a blank canvas feeling that can spark more creative thinking and writing.
  • Customizable interface: Change themes for different moods or work environments. Dark mode for night writing, soft sepia tone for a cafe vibe, etc.
  • Works offline: Distraction-Free Mode works even when you don’t have an internet connection, enabling productivity anytime, anywhere.

How to Turn On Distraction-Free Mode

Using Distraction-Free Mode is simple. Follow these steps:

  1. Install the Chrome extension
    Go to the Distraction Free Mode page in the Chrome Web Store and click “Add to Chrome”.
  2. Open a document or presentation
    Launch Google Docs or Google Slides and open an existing file or start a new one.
  3. Click the Distraction-Free Mode icon
    You’ll notice a new icon in the top left corner – click it to toggle Distraction-Free Mode on. The icon is a box with a lower right corner folded over (▣).
  4. Customize the interface (optional)
    While in Distraction-Free Mode, click the icon again to change themes. Pick a soft theme like sepia or dark mode for a more distraction-free feel. You can also use keyboard shortcuts to adjust the zoom level up or down (Ctrl + = or Ctrl + -) to suit your needs.
  5. Exit when ready
    Click the Distraction-Free Mode icon again any time you want to exit back to the normal Docs or Slides interface.

Tips for Using Distraction-Free Mode

Here are some tips to get the most out of Distraction-Free Mode:

  • Combine with the StayFocusd extension to block distracting websites for set periods.
  • Use Google Docs Offline to write without an internet connection. Edits sync when back online.
  • Turn on Do Not Disturb mode on your computer and phone to silence notifications.
  • Set a timer for distraction-free writing sprints, taking short breaks in between.
  • Play ambient background noise or music to mask external sounds.
  • Enter full screen mode in your browser for maximum real estate (F11 in Chrome).


Distraction-Free Mode is an invaluable tool for anyone using Google Docs or Slides regularly. By providing a clean and focused interface, it enables efficiency through minimizing disruptions.

The ability to customize themes and work offline makes it adaptable for any writing or designing scenario. And best of all – it’s completely free!

Give Distraction-Free Mode a try the next time you need to hunker down and power through writing projects or presentation decks. Your productivity will thank you.


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