Google is now rolling out an update to Google Docs to incorporate a new formating sidebar and fixed image positioning. That's according to reports citing a recent announcement from the search giant. The latter of those Google Docs features is likely going to be the more impactful change, rather than the addition of a sidebar. In effect, the feature will allow users to 'fix' any image to its position on the page, whether that's aligned to the left, right, or center.
As things currently stand, images placed in Google Docs can be positioned along an alignment. But text and other page elements can actually alter the placement as those are added. That tedium makes it difficult for users to edit more complex documents without disruption.
With the new option and UI in place, users will be able to set the position using the menu bar below a selected image. More directly, they'll be able to access the three-dot menu and then select "All image options" to open the sidebar. Under the "Position," the options to "Move the text" or "Fix position on page."
The new Google Docs image editing sidebar
Now, the new image sidebar brings several other new options too, particularly for day-to-day Google Docs users, who have generally lagged behind on new G Suite features.
That's because it delivers other image editing options that aren't available in the toolbar right now. For example, it allows users to not only set text wrapping characteristics. Users can also set margins for text to better follow expectations with regard to the use of white space and general spacing. That's spacing relative to a given image.
Beyond those image positioning alteration options, the new Google Docs sidebar will let users adjust images more easily in other ways. Google lists adjustments that can be made there explicitly. The new sidebar includes adjustments that can be made in terms of size and rotation. And it also includes brightness and contrast settings for images.
The changes found in the sidebar will bring Google's dedicated cloud document editor more in line with traditional word processors. One discrepancy is that Google has not provided any details about whether or not the features will be found on mobile too. If the features do arrive on Android and iOS, that will likely require a separate app update.
When is this going to land for everybody?
The new image editing sidebar is going to be available for all G Suite customers but also to everyday users with personal Google accounts. And it's already begun rolling out for some G Suite users. Specifically, Google says that Rapid Release domains should see the rollout starting March 9. That's a gradual rollout that will take up to 15 days to hit users on those domains. It should be rolled out by March 24.
Scheduled Release domains, Google says, will see the feature later, starting from March 30. That rollout should include day-to-day users with personal Google accounts and will take up to 15 days as well.
Users won't need to do anything to get the update either since it's happening on the server-side.