Update: Google Docs just got a handy spell check boost — here’s how it works.
Google Docs is useful, but sifting through all those menus to find the setting or feature you want is a huge drag. Thankfully, Google has announced that it’s going to simplify the process. At least where hunting for the “most commonly used features” is concerned.
Among the changes Google plans to make are reorganizing menus for “more intuitive feature location," adding new icons to help you recognize key features more quickly and shortening the menus. All of these should combine to make the process of menu navigation much easier than it is right now.
According to Google this redesign “improves findability of key features, making it quicker and easier to use Docs.” Functionality isn’t actually changing, so you won’t experience any changes to how features work, nor will you have to learn any keyboard shortcuts.
One key example is the reorganization of the ‘File’ menu. The Share option has been moved further down the menu, meaning the very first thing you see is the option to open a new document.
The rollout of these changes has already started. The revamped menus are available on my personal Google account, but not my work account. However, a new feature called “Approvals” has appeared on my work account, but not my personal one. So this feature may well be independent of the ongoing Google Docs revamp.
Approvals appears to be a feature that emails access to a third party, with a due date and the option to let them edit the document in question. The approver can then make edits and leave comments. There’s also the option to approve or reject the document, with approval locking the document from further changes unless the owner deliberately unlocks it.
Another change implemented in Google Docs is that the “Add-ons” menu is now called “Extensions." It’s a very minor change, and won’t have any impact on your workflow, but it’s worth bearing in mind if you happen to rely on any extra tools when you’re working.
The change is coming to all Google users, including Google Workspace and personal Google accounts. Rollout has already started, and is expected to be complete by the end of May.
Also, Google Drive just got the copy and paste upgrade that will make your life easier.