12 Google Docs tips for iOS users

A short collection of slightly harder to find Google Docs tools for iOS users

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Some SME’s still use Google Docs on their ultra-secure iPads and iPhones, so I thought these quick tips might be useful.

The case for Google Docs

Google Docs began life as a web application and is now also available as apps for most mobile platforms.

Alternatives include Office 365, the constantly improving iOS-compatible iOS apps, and built-in simple tools inside some online storage services. While most of these tools are popular, they aren’t always supported under enterprise security policy. However, if you use Google Docs, this short collection may help you get more from using it. 

Take (and edit) a document offline

You can read and edit documents offline in Google Docs, just tap the three-dot menu item underneath the document name while browsing your document list. Then tap ‘Make Available Offline’.

Works well with others

Google Docs collaboration tools are quite useful, if perhaps a little too accessible and available for enterprise users wishing to maintain document security.

To add people to a document you are working on, tap the three dots (you tap this a lot) at the top right and then choose Share and Export, then tap Share and insert the email address of the person you wish to collaborate with.

Use Suggest Changes

You can suggest changes when working in a Google Docs document.

Select the item(s) you want to change and tap the three dots to the top right of the interface and then choose Select Changes.

Now you can select items (or place your cursor) and set your changes – the person who you are collaborating on a document with can then accept or reject them.

Accept and reject

You can also review, accept and reject edits suggested by someone else. All you need to do is tap the highlighted area and then choose the appropriate response.

Use the built-in search tool

Google Docs offers built in search tools. While these use Google search, this is still a speedy way to add items to a document you are working on.

Tap the three buttons at the top right of the Edit window and then choose Explore. Now you can search for websites and images containing a search term you define.

Dictation matters

The great thing about iOS is it lets you dictate. You can even do this in Google Docs, which understands commands such as “full stop”, “new paragraph”, and more. This makes it way easier to type on an iPhone.

Use templates

Blink and you may have missed it, but Google Docs offers a range of useful templates you can use when building documents, letters, reports and other documents on your iPad or iPhone.

You get to these from the main document browser screen, where you should tap the Plus button on the lower right to open a brand-new document – when you tap, you’ll see the Choose template and New document items appear. Choose the first and you’ll find 38 different templates you can use.

Create a Table of Contents

I really like the ease of this feature.

When writing a long document that contains multiple subsections Google is applying its search tech to make it easy to create a Table of Contents for what you are working on. Just tap the Plus button at the top of the Edit menu while in the document and then choose Table of Contents. You can choose to create one with blue links (good for online documents) or page numbers (for print).

How to create a Header

To give your document a little header, just tap right at the top of one of your pages (above the slim grey line) and begin typing. Once you’ve written this you can edit the font sizes and choose a font and style and the header will be repeated at the top of each of your pages. Decided not to use the header? Select and delete it and then tap in the main body of the page and it will be gone.

How to clear formatting

Pasted something into your document and want to get rid of its formatting? Just select the offending copy, tap the A (text editing) tool at the top and then select Clear formatting from the bottom of the menu that appears.

How to Find & Replace

You use this in Word, so you’ll need it in Docs. To find and change something specific in your document just open it and tap the three dots (top right) and choose Find and Replace. The Find search item appears at the top of the display, while the replacement tool will be visible just above the keyboard.

Using a keyboard?

If you are using an external keyboard with your iPhone or IPad, Google Docs has a plethora of keyboard shortcuts that are supported on iOS.

Please let me know if you have spotted any hidden features in Google Docs on iOS.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

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