Google Docs: 7 benefits every writer needs to know

20.01.2021 · By Camilla Allen

As a journalist, it can be hard to decide between the two word processing giants vying for attention, Google Docs and Microsoft Word. Which has the best functionality and tools for article writing? Here are seven advantages that set Google Docs apart.

For decades, Microsoft Word has been the word processor of choice for writers worldwide. As the first ever word-processing tool, generations of writers have grown up with it since the 1980’s. It’s followed them from school, to university, and even right into the newsroom.

But as technology has marched on, more collaborative and freely available online tools have since emerged on the market. Some offer up benefits that Microsoft simply can’t match – namely greater efficiency, flexibility and collaborative features.

Google Docs, for instance, is skyrocketing in popularity. In 2019, G Suite (the home of Google Docs) hit 2 billion active monthly users, according to Google. And this number is only set to grow.

The software is unparalleled in its ability to help journalists collaborate with editors on the same document under tight deadlines. Say goodbye to the time-wasting “back-and-forth” of emailing Word doc edits. You can also take advantage of a host of Google Chrome extensions to further streamline your editorial workflow with plenty of tools for article writing.

Let’s take a closer look at the other powerful benefits Google Docs can bring to the daily work of a journalist. 

What is Google Docs?          

Google Docs is a free word processing tool sat within Google’s online office suite, G Suite, that’s fully compatible with Microsoft Word. Users can create, view, and edit documents online while collaborating with colleagues in real-time – from any device, anywhere.

What are the benefits of Google Docs?

1. It’s fully compatible with Microsoft Word

You can easily open and edit Microsoft Word documents directly in Google Docs with this handy Chrome extension. You can also download your Google doc as a Word document (.docx) and vice versa without risking changes to the file formatting. Find out how to convert a Microsoft Office file into a Google doc here.

2. Add functionality with Google Chrome extensions

You can also add new features to Google Docs by downloading Google Chrome extensions on the Chrome Web Store. This will allow you to tailor your user experience and add additional features and functionality to your document. 

These simple add-on applications can make the life of a journalist much easier. By improving your user experience, these tools for article writing can supercharge your editorial workflow and increase productivity in exactly the way you need to. There are plugins and extensions for just about anything. 

At LOYAL, we’ve created a Google Chrome extension that embeds straight into your Google Doc. It allows you to search the internet as you type. Run our Editorial Research Assistant from inside your document to gather the most relevant sources of information to help you with your piece. 

3. Ease of collaboration

Google Docs allows teams to effortlessly access and edit the same document at the same time so there’s no confusion over which file is the most up-to-date version. Collaborators don’t even need a Google account to view or edit shared Google documents.

Its interactive nature allows you to add and remove collaborators using the Collaborate tab and control exactly who can make changes to your document. You can chat with others directly inside any document or add a comment with “+” their email address and they’ll get a notification. 

Edits can be undone and viewed in time-sensitive order, comments can be accepted or rejected, and this one centralised document is continually and automatically saved throughout the whole process, from start to finish. 

4. Access your work from any device  

With Google Docs, you don’t have to worry about emailing your work to yourself and digging it up later – it’s all stored on the Cloud. You can log into your Google account and access your document from any device at any time. 

This adds a level of flexibility to how you work. You can write and edit on the go. Check over a piece on your phone on the train and finish it off when you get in to your work computer. And, the fact that files aren’t being stored on your computer also saves on memory.  

5. Automatic saving

All changes are automatically synced across devices and saved as you write, so you don’t have to worry about vanishing files ever again. You can also see the ‘revision history’ to view past changes to your document and who they were made by. 

6. It’s packed with helpful features

The program is full of powerful tools for article writing. For instance, voice typing (go to Tools > Voice typing), a clear formatting function to quickly format copy & pasted copy, a range of fonts ready to import from Google Fonts, and bookmarks for less scrolling (go to Insert > Bookmark). These are just some of the tools embedded into Google Docs to help you work best.

Find out what other features Google Docs has to offer here.

7. It’s free!

Unlike other word processing software, such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs is free. All you have to do is set up a Google account by creating an @gmail email to gain access to G Suite. From here, it’s easy to create your first document.

Interested in tools for article writing? Find out more about our journalism tool. It can speed up your editorial workflow and help you find niche sources that often Google ignores. Start your FREE trial of LOYAL today.

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