Google Docs Getting a Significant Upgrade to Formatting

Google Docs is getting a charming feature that could cut down a lot of busywork when correctly formatting your document: the capability to select multiple sections of text at once.

So, for example, if you’ve got two sentences divided by a heading or want to involve the same effect in three different words throughout a paragraph, you can now select the text all at once and use your changes.

Selecting multiple text sections is extremely simple: choose the first bit of text however you would usually, then press either the Command (⌘) or Control key, depending on whether you’re using a Mac or Windows machine.

Then, keep holding it down, and select the other bits of text you want. Then, after you’ve set everything, you can let go and change whatever formatting bits you desire using the toolbar.

It’s a petty thing, but if you’ve got a lot of text to format, using this feature will be easier than using the format painter tool that lets you emphasize one bit of text and duplicate its formatting to another.

While that instrument does make it, so you don’t have to specify every parameter on its own, it could still need a lot more tapping depending on how many pieces of text you’re attempting to change.

The feature can also be employed for things other than formatting — say you want to cut a few paragraphs and carry them around or want to add a comment that’s relevant for multiple sentences. Multi-select creates it easy.

There are a few circumstances where using the feature won’t be the best choice. For example, if you’re trying to modify every header in your document, you’d probably be better off just changing the style instead of manually selecting every title. So instead, you can format one header the way you want, go up to the style section, choose the header level, and click “Update [style] to match.”

While multi-select may not be an excellent tool for every situation, it’s great that Google’s added it as an option. It is noteworthy since some desktop app word processors don’t seem to have this component (if you know how to pull this off in Apple Pages, please let me know).

In an announcement post, Google says the feature will gradually roll out to everybody’s accounts over the next 15 days, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long if you don’t have it yet.