Google Docs gets a big formatting upgrade

Google Docs gets an absolutely lovely feature that could save a lot of work when it comes to formatting your document properly: the ability to select multiple sections of text at once. If you have two sentences separated by a title or want to apply the same effect to three different words in a paragraph, you can now do so by simply selecting the text in one go and applying your changes.

Selecting multiple sections of text is extremely simple: select the first piece of text as you normally would, then press the Command (⌘) or Control key, depending on whether you’re using a Mac or Windows computer. Hold it down and select the other pieces of text you want. Once you have everything selected, you can let go and change the formatting bits you want using the toolbar.


This is what peak productivity looks like.
GIF: Google

It’s a small thing, but if you have a lot of text to format, using this feature will definitely be easier than, say, using the formatting tool that lets you highlight one piece of text and copy its formatting to another. While this tool saves you from having to set each parameter alone, it may still require many more clicks depending on how many pieces of text you are trying to edit.

The feature can also be used for things other than formatting – say you want to cut a few paragraphs and move them around, or want to add a relevant comment for several sentences. Multiple selection makes things easier.

There are a few situations where using the feature won’t be the best option. For example, if you’re trying to change every header in your document, you’re probably better off just changing the style, instead of trying to select every header manually. To do this, you can format a header however you want, then go back up to the style section, select the header level and click “Update [style] match.”

Gif showing how to use the style update feature built into Google Docs.

With a single click, I can make all text formatted as Heading 1 look like garbage.

Although multiple selection is not the perfect tool for all situation, it’s really great that Google added it as an option – especially since there are desktop app word processors that don’t seem to have this feature (if you know how to remove that in Apple Pages , let me know). In an announcement post, Google says the feature will be gradually rolling out to everyone’s accounts over the next 15 days, so if you don’t have it yet, you shouldn’t wait too long.

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