In May this year, Google announced a slew of new features for its Workspace productivity suite. Google Docs gained a feature called “smart chips” that let users quickly link files, meetings, people, and more to a document using the @ tag. The feature is a part of the company’s “smart canvas” initiative that promises to improve Workspace tools to “build the future of work”. Much to that promise, Google is now making smart chips on Docs more useful than ever.
As the company says, the @ tag is now a “universal insertion menu” on Google Docs. Meaning you can insert anything from tables and images to different content elements and formats into your work. All without leaving the current tab. That’s even if you’re inserting a file from some other Workspace app such as Google Drive.
Earlier, if you wanted to insert a file from some other app into your document, you needed to navigate to that file, which could require you to switch tabs and/or copy-paste web links. But now, simply typing the @ tag on a text field would bring up all types of recommended content that you may want to add to your document. Google further lets you search for more files as well. If you select a file, Docs will create a link for that file in your current document. Clicking it will redirect you to that file.
Of course, you can also tag people on your document the same way. If you tag people, Docs will ask if you want to share the document with them.
Google Docs is now rolling out the new universal insertion menu
The new universal insertion menu on Google Docs is now gradually rolling out to users across the world. The rollout for users on Rapid Release domains began this Monday, October 18th. Google says users on Scheduled Release domains will start receiving the feature on November 1st. Note that it could take up to 15 days from the initial rollout for the feature to be available to everyone.
This feature will be available to all Google Workspace, G Suite Basic, and Business customers. There is no admin control or end-user setting for it. Once rolled out to your Workspace account, you will be able to use it right away.
According to the company, this universal insertion menu, i.e. the @ tag, makes it easy to “preview and read relevant documents, find associated meetings and stakeholders, add tables and images, and more, directly from Google Docs”. Sure enough, being able to insert objects, files, tables, media, etc. into a document without reaching for the mouse is quite handy.
Add a page break before paragraphs
In addition to the universal insertion menu, Google Docs is also gaining the ability to add a page break before paragraphs. A new “Add page break before” option under Format >> Line and paragraph spacing in the Docs bar will enable you to begin each paragraph of your document on a new page. Docs will retain the format settings if you import a Microsoft Word or other third-party document with “page breaks” applied to paragraphs. It works the other way round as well.
This feature also has no admin control but users will have to manually enable it from the aforementioned path in the Docs bar. It will be available to all Google Workspace, G Suite Basic, and Business customers. The rollout began earlier this week. Google expects to complete the rollout by mid-November.