What Is Google Doc Used For – If you’ve used Google Docs in school or to write blog posts, you know it’s flexible, fun, and free.
So while it may be the first word processing tool you think of when writing books, there are many reasons why it should be one of your top three.
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This guide will take you from a blank page (or blog post) to a finished book, showing you what to do with step-by-step instructions and screenshots.
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If you’re wondering, “Why use Google Docs when there’s Microsoft Word, Scrivener, etc?” consider the following features of using Google’s cloud-based word processing system:
As you will see in the following steps, Google Docs has all the tools you need to create, format and edit your text. From there, just download the form you need for professional editing, interior design and publishing.
It takes more time than writing a blog post; mainly because it involves a lot of typing and some tricks you might not know about. We’ll start with an outline of your book title in a Google Doc (using a numbered list) and work from there.
To insert a page break, place the cursor where you want the break and go to the “Insert” menu and select “Break” then “Page Break” or press Ctrl+Enter.
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Continue breaking up your outline with page breaks until you have one page for each chapter and the title of your book (ie your title page).
Knowing how to use page breaks will come in handy when adding more pages to the front and back of the book.
Now that you have the basics of the book template, it’s time to set the styles for the book title, chapters, and body text.
Start on the Chapter 1 page, select a title, and select the “Topic 1” style from the style menu. After applying the H1 style, you can change the text to make it look the way you want.
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Next, choose your fonts, font size, and line spacing for the Heading 1 (H1) style, which you’ll use for the chapter headings and other page headings in the book.
Once your header looks the way you want it, select the text and return to the style menu to update header style 1 with the new format.
Do the same for each of your subtitles, this time using the 2nd or 3rd subtitle style. Once you’ve set the font, size, and spacing, go back to the style menu and update the selected header style.
Choose left, right, center, or justified alignment for text and headings by selecting the text, going to the top ribbon menu, and selecting the alignment you want.
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If the chosen alignment is not the default body text, you can go to the style menu and update the “Normal Text” style (or change it to your preferred heading style).
As for the margins (top, bottom, left, and right), Google Docs sets them at one inch (1″) around, but you can change that in Page Settings (File menu).
If you don’t have one of the given measurements for your book, choose the one that comes closest. You can always change the page size (in Word) after downloading your book as a Word document.
Now that you have your subheadings in place and properly formatted (with fonts, sizes, and line spacing), you have writing instructions on each page to get your brain working and your words going.
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This step will take a lot of time if you already have your content ready to copy (say from your blog posts) and paste it into the document.
The first thing you want to do is place the cursor where you want your visual appearance. Then go to the “Insert” menu, select “Image” and then “Insert to Computer” if you have an image saved on your disk, or find your image by searching the Internet or accessing Google Drive or Google Photos. You can use your device’s camera.
Note: Only images marked for commercial reuse and modification will appear in image search results.
Once you’ve installed your chosen view, you can use the image tools to resize each one. The alignment of each view depends on the cursor position, but you can change this by selecting it and using the alignment tool.
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The first page of your document should contain the title of your book. Add your subtitle (if you have one) and your author’s name in the middle, and adjust the fonts, font size, and spacing to create your title page.
Next comes your copyright page, which will use a smaller version of your regular body text – centered and near the bottom of the page.
Add an Introduction (typical of a nonfiction book) by placing the cursor at the beginning of the Chapter 1 title, pressing Ctrl-Insert (or going to the “Insert” menu and then “Break → Page Break”) to add a page. before.
Go to the top of this new page and add the word “Introduction”. Then select and apply the subtitle style 1, so its formatting matches the chapter headings.
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Go to the end of your book and add a new page by inserting a page break. Then title the new page with “Conclusion,” “When You’re Done… (or “Thank You”),” “About the Author,” etc.
Once you’ve written the body of your book – with your chapter headings and subheadings and all the other pages set – it’s time to create a Table of Contents (TOC).
Between your copyright page and the first page of Chapter One, insert a new page break with the words “Contents” (or “Contents”), styled above in Chapter 1.
Once the page title is set, go back to the “Insert” menu and scroll down to find the “Table of Contents.” From there, you’ll choose the second of two options: an integrated, unnumbered TOC (for an eBook).
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Easily share the finished book with the editor using the “Share” function and send it to their email address, if they prefer to work with Word documents, you can download your book in Word format.
You can also download the finished book as a PDF to share with beta readers or upload it to your publisher’s website. Simply select the PDF from the download options and click download to open it in your browser.
Go to the “File” menu and “Make a copy” of your document. Name this new copy “Print Print”.
Make a copy of the completed eBook and rename it as a “Print” copy. You can now add page numbers and edit your Table of Contents to include them.
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Be sure to set your first page number to zero (0) if you are skipping the first page (title page) and want the first page number to appear to be one (1).
To make your page numbers appear on opposite sides of a two-page spread, go to Header and Footers under the “Format” menu and make sure there’s a check mark under “Odd and Odd” (and “Odd First Page.”).
You should add page numbers to “Bottom Page” and “No Bottom Page”, making sure to keep the first page (title page) unnumbered and the first number to zero (0).
Wherever your cursor is in your document, Google Docs will set the page numbers for the entire book, so “different first page” is always the title.
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Note: At the time of writing this list, the page numbering feature only supports Arabic numerals for page numbering. If you want Roman numerals on the pages between the title page and the first page of Chapter 1, you will need to download your book as a Word document and change the page numbers there.
Once you have page numbers in place, you can delete the hyperlink table and insert one with page numbers (
At least now you know how to create your own Google Docs book template. From there, it’s just a matter of changing the placeholder text for your content.
You decide what to do with it — give it away as a gift, download it for free on your website, or publish it on an online bookseller. Google Suite makes me feel that way every day. Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash
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(I’m skipping the opening paragraph here, where I complain that Google Docs is far better than Microsoft Word 6.0 as a web app and is the worst tool you can choose for a collaboration product in 2021).
Make sure you’re signed in to the Google account you want to save the styles to, and then open and make a copy of this document. In the downloaded document, go to Format > Paragraph Styles >