Google Docs just added a cool free upgrade

And Google Drive finally gets a simple but important feature too

If you use an app a lot, even relatively small changes can make a big difference. That's definitely the case with Google Docs, which has just added a really useful feature that makes a common task faster and simpler. 

The new feature enables you to select multiple blocks of text at once and then apply actions to them – not just formatting, but delete, copy and paste too. If you've ever had to fix the formatting or remove headings from a big document you'll appreciate how much of a time-saver that can be.

The upgrade is in Google Docs now, and the official Google Workspace blog says it's enabled by default so you don't need to do anything to get it. Easy peasy.

It's definitely a case of better late than never here – the same feature is in so many of the word processing and writing apps I use that I'd forgotten Google Docs couldn't do it – but I'm glad to see it. 

Google Docs new features

(Image credit: Google)

A small but useful upgrade to Google Drive

I'm also glad to see a small but useful change to Google Drive too: keyboard shortcuts for cutting, copying and pasting files. You might've through it already existed, but no! It's only been added this week, as Google's announcement explains. Provided you're using Chrome you can use the standard Ctrl/Cmd + C / X / V commands for file operations.

As The Verge reports, Google isn't doing this in a lazy way: the future, which should have rolled out to everybody by the beginning of July, works across different tabs and there's an additional shortcut to open a folder as a new Chrome tab (Ctrl/Cmd + Enter). If you also hold Shift when you paste it'll insert a shortcut rather than the file itself, which is useful if you want to avoid duplication. And if you copy a file and paste it into a Google Doc or Gmail message, it'll automatically include the file title and link. 

I know these updates aren't exactly going to have got crowds dancing in the streets, but they're worthwhile improvements to already very useful apps – and given the huge number of users Google has, the changes are going to make a lot of people's workflow that little bit better. 

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).