Google Docs now supports handwritten edits on Android — here's how it works

Google Docs logo on an Android smartphone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Collaborating or editing work in Google Docs is already powerful but simple to do. But sometimes you need to give feedback that simple typed comments can't express. Fortunately, Google's latest update lets you make handwritten annotations in Docs from Android devices.

You can do this with your finger, or with a stylus if you've got a phone like the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. The tools include regular pen and highlighter modes, with options for color and line thickness, plus the all-important eraser. 

Handwritten annotations in Google Docs for Android

(Image credit: Google)

And if it gets too busy, then there's also a Hide button that will show you the document all cleaned up.

This works on both phones and tablets too. While being able to do this on a phone will certainly prove convenient, being able to do this on the larger canvas of a Google Pixel Tablet or Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 will as close to editing a real paper document as you can get with Docs.

A GIF showing the handwritten annotation menu and options being used in Google Docs on an Android tablet

(Image credit: Google)

According to an update published on Google's The Keyword, the edits can be viewed on any device running Google Docs, but only made on Android devices running the latest version of the app. So while users on other platforms won't be able to interact with the edits, they can at least see them.

More Android upgrades incoming

Google's new package of features also contains on-device public transport directions in Google Maps for Wear OS smartwatches for easier navigation without your phone, and improved screen reader support for the main Google Maps app, using your phone's camera and AI trickery to read out key details about your current location or nearby businesses.

Gemini, Google's AI chatbot, is also part of the upgrades, with it now being available in beta in Google Messages. You can interact with the chatbot and its various functions just by texting it like a regular contact.

Android, as well as Google itself, has a big presence at MWC 2024 as usual, alongside other cutting-edge companies large and small. We're on the ground in Barcelona for the conference so make sure to check back with us for news of further announcements for Android devices and your other favorite tech products.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.