Google announced a few new features for Docs this week over on its Workspace Updates blog. These tie directly into its Smart Canvas initiative, allowing you to make better use of the data you place in a body of text either for personal or collaborative reasons.
While we’ve already gotten many things like the ability to add emoji reactions to comments, and more, I’m hopeful that these new updates will better align Docs to be competitive with Microsoft Loop once it launches. In my opinion, Docs in conjunction with Google Chat paint a closer picture to this, but we’ll have to wait and see what the tech giant’s vision is for the entire setup.
Okay, on to the updates! First, Docs will soon allow you to create custom building blocks to help you speed up your workflow for data that you often repeat. Anyone familiar with the Gutenberg editor in WordPress will know exactly how this works, but essentially, you just drag to select a handful of Smart Canvas data and then right click, choose “Save as custom building block” and you’re off to the races!
To insert the custom building block in a document, type “@” and the name of your block > hit enter or scroll down to “building blocks” > select the name of your building block.
Next up, Smart Canvas for Docs will soon let you expand and collapse information, putting the service more in line with things like Notion than before. It’s still a far cry from Notion, but I hope you get the point. Having more dynamic content interactions are all about placing things out of sight and out of mind when necessary and having it nearby when needed.
According to Google, this feature has been highly requested, and I can see why! Once it rolls out, you can set the default state of a header to be expanded or collapsed, and an arrow will appear for users in your organization who are collaborating with you to toggle that state.
Both of these new tools are coming to Rapid Release domains first over the next two weeks, and some of you may have already seen it begin to appear over the past few days. Anyone with a Scheduled Release domain will have to wait until May 30th for the expanding and collapsing feature (all users) and June 5th for the custom building blocks tool (only Google Workspace Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Plus, Nonprofit).