Google Docs introduction

Docs is the word processor that is part of Google’s office site. It can be accessed through a Web browser, and there are versions available for Android devices, Chromebooks, iPhone, and iPad.

This section of the OS-College Website will focus on the version that can be accessed through a Web browser on any operating system. Users can use just about any Web browser, but there are a few more features available to the user when they are using Google Chrome or Chromium.

The user interface consists of a toolbar and eight menus. There are also buttons to view comments and Share the document in the toolbar.

Several items that are in the menus and toolbar are also in context menus that appear when the user right clicks on paragraphs or objects, like images. The items in the menu are based upon what is clicked. The menu that appears when a paragraph is clicked is different from the one that appears when an image is clicked.

Page contents:

  • Menus
  • Toolbar


Here are the eight menu items. The Add-on menu is only seen in a GDOC formatted document. The item will not be there when a DOCX document or a document in another format is open.

The menu items are as follows:


The File menu contains items to create new documents, open other documents, publish the document to the Web, print it, and make it available offline. The items in this menu give users access to the document and control over where it is stored.

Make available offline is only available in documents open in Chrome or Chromium.


The Edit menu gives the user control over the content in the document. Content can be cut, copied, and pasted from this menu. There also is a link to a dialog for finding and replacing text in the document.

The cut and copy items in the menu don’t work in Firefox. Firefox users need to press the keystrokes to perform these tasks.


  • Windows and Linux distros: Ctrl + C
  • Mac: Cmd + C


  • Windows and Linux distros: Ctrl + X
  • Mac: Cmd + X


This has items for showing or hiding different layouts and tools for a document. Show ruler and Show document outline are items in this menu. There are seven items in it, all together.


Through this menu, users can insert images, drawings, charts, and tables. Users also visit this menu to insert horizontal lines, page and line breaks, and page numbers.


This menu has style settings that can be applied to individual words and characters and to paragraphs. These include normal paragraphs and lists.

The types of settings include alignment, paragraph spacing, and the number of columns in a paragraph. Tables also can be modified through this menu.


Tools is the menu where spelling and grammar checking is made available. It also allows users to insert citations and access a dictionary.

If the document is open in Google Chrome and Chromium, users can take advantage of voice typing. Words they say into the computer’s microphone will be typed into the document. The feature is not available when documents are not open in other Web browsers.


Google Docs’ capabilities can be extended through add-ons. Add-ons can only be applied to Google-formatted documents. They cannot be used in Microsoft Word and other document types that Docs can open.

The Add-ons can be added and managed through this menu.


This menu has items for Terms of Service and information about how to use Docs. It also has an item that opens a dialog that lists keyboard shortcuts.


The toolbar located below the menus has standard items, regardless of what is selected. When an image or drawing is selected, the menu items change.