5 Tips for Rich, Interactive Google Docs

Google Docs have become the go-to tool in education for text editing, sharing, and collaborating: they are simple to use and are peerless in users’ ability to work together in real time.

However, Google Docs can also be used to create rich, interactive, publishable content:

You can also embed the Doc into another web page as I have done on my Wordpress blog.

Below are 5 tips for creating rich, interactive, and publish-able Google Docs:

1: Create Columns on a Google Doc

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Insert a Table. You can just use a 1 row x 3 columns table, or use multiple rows to separate the text.


You can add lines to separate articles/ paragraphs: Insert >

Horizontal line.


You can also add images:

Make the table border invisible by making the table border transparent:  

Click on the table > Table > Table Properties > Table Border > White (or color of your page).

2: Create a Clickable Document Outline

When you use Headings, a clickable document outline is available. Click on Tools > Document Outline, and a panel will appear to the left of the Doc with links to all your Headings. Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 10.45.07 AM.png

It is also possible to create a clickable index for your Doc by highlighting text in your index, choosing the Link button in the toolbar, and then choosing a Heading from the drop down menu below the search space.

3: Add Handwriting and Signatures

Insert a drawing (Insert > Drawing) and then use the line feature to add scribbles/ handwriting to a Doc. Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 10.12.38 AM.png

This works particularly well with touchscreens. Note that Drawings are an excellent tool to create graphics with text boxes, images, arrows and shapes such as the Drawing here.

4: “Force a Copy”

When you would like to provide a copy of your Doc with a colleague/ student, but you don’t want them to edit your Doc, use the “force a copy” function.

To “force a copy” of your Doc, edit the end of the URL (in the omnibar) by substituting “edit#” with “copy” at the end of the URL. Then share this new link. To see what your Doc will look like when it is published as a webpage (see #5 below), substitute “edit” with “preview”.  

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 11.01.08 AM.png

5: Publish your Doc to the Web

This post is a published Google Doc that I have embedded into this webpage.

To publish a Doc, go to File > Publish to the web, then either choose the link or embed options. The link will allow you to share a clean webpage that includes the content of your Doc. The embed functions provides the entire Doc within a ‘host’ webpage (such as my Wordpress blog here).