Google Docs provides numerous keyboard shortcuts that you can use to save keystrokes and time when creating and editing documents. If you have used Microsoft Word keyboard shortcuts, many will be familiar. However, there are some differences.
Here are several keyboard shortcuts for commonly used tasks when working with Google Docs on Windows computers.
Deleting, Copying, and Pasting Items
If you regularly use Google Docs to create reports and other business documents, you likely have deleted, copied, and pasted items (e.g., text, images) in them. Instead of using the “Cut”, “Copy” and “Paste” options on the “Edit” menu to perform these routine tasks, you can use the following keyboard shortcuts to save time:
- To delete an item, press Ctrl+X (press the Ctrl and X keys at the same time).
- To copy an item, use Ctrl+C.
- To paste an item you copied, press Ctrl+V.
Another useful keyboard shortcut is Ctrl+Shift+V. When you are copying and pasting text, it lets you paste the text without the formatting (e.g., italics, boldface) applied in the copied text.
Undoing and Redoing Actions
No matter what word processing software you use, you likely have had an “Oh no, I didn’t want to do that” moment. When this happens in Google Docs, all you need to do is press Ctrl+Z to undo your last action. For example, if you accidentally deleted a sentence, you just need to use Ctrl+Z to get it back.
If you decide that you want to delete the sentence after all, you can press Ctrl+Shift+Z. This keyboard shortcut redoes the action that was just undone with Ctrl+Z.
You can press Ctrl+Z multiple times to keep undoing your actions. Ctrl+Shift+Z can be pressed multiple times as well. For example, if you used Ctrl+Z three times in succession, you can press Ctrl+Shift+Z up to three times to redo the actions. If you press Ctrl+Shift+Z a fourth time, nothing will happen.
Finding and Replacing Text
When you need to find all the instances of a specific word, number, or character in a file, you can press Ctrl+F to bring up Google Docs’ find functionality. After specifying the text you want to find, Google Docs will highlight all the instances of it. To navigate through them, use Ctrl+G to go to the next instance and Ctrl+Shift+G to go back to the previous one.
Google Docs also has a feature that lets you quickly find and replace instances of a word, number, or character. Pressing Ctrl+H brings up this time-saving tool.
Boldfacing, Italicizing, and Underlining Text
Common ways to emphasize text in documents is to boldface, italicize, or underline it. With these keyboard shortcuts, you can apply these formats with minimal effort:
- Ctrl+B — boldfaces the highlighted text
- Ctrl+I — italicizes the highlighted text
- Ctrl+U — underlines the highlighted text
Applying and Clearing Multiple Text Formats at Once
Google Docs lets you quickly apply or clear multiple text formats at once. This comes in handy when you want to copy the formatting you already applied to some text, but not the text itself. For example, suppose each section in your sales report includes important selling tips. You can format the first tip the way you want (e.g., change the text’s font, size, and color), copy that formatting, and apply it to the tips in the other sections.
To copy the formatting, you just need to highlight the text and press Ctrl+Alt+C. To paste the formatting, highlight the text to which you want to apply it and press Ctrl+Alt+V. The Ctrl+Space keyboard shortcut allows you to clear all the formatting used on text that is highlighted.
Displaying the Keyboard Shortcuts
Ctrl+/ is perhaps the most important keyboard shortcut to remember. When you press it, Google Docs displays the full list of available keyboard shortcuts. They are categorized by function, and the list is even searchable. This comes in handy if you forget a keyboard shortcut or want to see if there is one for a task that you commonly perform.