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How to Format Your Essay in Google Docs

When you write your first essay, there are a lot of technical questions. How to format a content page? Where can I see the number of pages in a document? How to format quotes? Should chapter titles be dotted?

We have prepared for students (and anyone who wants to understand the intricacies of working with text editors) a set of technical tips on writing and formatting an essay in Google Docs. The rules for writing an essay for different study programs may differ, so we advise you to check with the teacher for details.

If you don’t want to spend your time writing and formatting your essay, it is better to get help. You can pay for an essay online on a writing service. A professional writer will write and format it according to your requirements. 


How to format a title page?

Your text begins with the title page. Someone draws it up at the very end when writing a work “on a clean copy,” someone – at the very beginning, in order to overcome the fear of a blank page. 

The title page is always formatted in the same style as the rest of the work, so make sure you have Times New Roman set, 1.5 line spacing, and 12 pt. Pay attention to the number of spaces. The name of the institution (top of the sheet) and the city (bottom of the sheet) are written in capital letters. All text on the first half of the sheet is in bold. For selection, it is convenient to use the keyboard shortcut ctrl/cmd+B.

If you are writing an essay in Google Docs in draft form, do not spend a lot of time formatting and aligning indents between lines – you will most likely have to format it again after converting the document to Word. The title page should occupy only one first page of the document.

Do not align with spaces; use the “center alignment” or “right alignment” functions.

Styles. What to do at the very beginning of work?

Uniform styling is both a necessity and just a good habit for the future. Any text should be formatted in a single style so that the reader is not distracted from the content of the work by its form. In addition, a well-formatted copy shows basic respect for others and your work—you’ve taken the time to clean up the look of the text.

How to make the style uniform? The most important thing is correct and uniform formatting. To do this, you need the “Styles” section. In it, you need to configure “Heading 1” and “Normal.” If the structure of your work requires separate subparagraphs, you can issue a “Heading 2.”

All document elements in all academic papers are in Times New Roman.

To format “Heading 1,” click on edit style. The default Word settings are 16 pt, bold, and left alignment. In Google Docs, a 20-point size is automatically set, and you can manually select a smaller one.

Note that all title text must be black. The font size can be 14 or 16; the main thing is that the title should be larger than the regular text.

To format the “Normal” style, that is, the style of the text of your work, not the headings, you also need to go into the editing mode and set up the basic things: 12-point size and justified alignment.

Everything is easy with styles in Google Docs. You can write a piece of text in the correct format, select it, and in the styles section, click “Plain Text” → “Update Plain Text to Match Selection.” All text written in this style will be changed automatically.

Why work with styles and change them? This helps to navigate the document. In Google Docs, you can set up the structure in the panel on the left and quickly move between chapters. In addition, styles are needed to automatically create a table of contents.

Life hack

There is a function to help align the formatting. It is necessary to select a fragment of text that is a reference in format and press a button with a roller “Copy formatting.” After that, select the part of the text that you want to format, and it will take on the form of a sample.

How to format a content page?

In Google Docs, a table of contents is created using the Insert → (bottom) Table of Contents option. When working with a document, you can hold down Ctrl/Cmd and click on any of the chapters in the table of contents, immediately jumping to the desired page.

As you write your work, update the table of contents so that the pages match the actual state of the document. It is especially important before submitting an essay to check that the pages in the table of contents correspond to the location of the sections.

How to number pages?

So that the reader of your work can use the table of contents, it is important not to forget about pagination. It should be everywhere except the title page.

In Google Doc: Insert → Page Numbers. 

Each paper has the following:

  1. Title page,
  2. Table of contents,
  3. Introduction,
  4. 2-3 chapters,
  5. Conclusion,
  6. Bibliography.

After the words “Introduction,” “Conclusion,” and “Bibliography,” dots are not needed, but after the number of the chapter and its title, dots should be put. Example:


Chapter 1. Compulsory structure.


What are the most common format errors, and how to fix them?

Many errors can be corrected at once in the entire document. For example, it can be a double space, a hyphen instead of a dash, different types of quotation marks, or incorrect transliteration of some term in the essay.

To fix the error all at once:

Click Home → Editing → Replace

or highlight the desired word and press Ctrl+H.

In Google Docs, various quotes are found and replaced quickly and without problems. If a word that occurs many times has a different spelling and needs to be replaced everywhere, press “Find” or Ctrl/Cmd+F. In this case, you will have to manually correct the word throughout the document.

Always carefully check the work, and look closely at the little things – they can affect the assessment and give the impression that you are a careless person. The essay is important not only to write but also to edit. Do not forget to allocate time for proofreading your text.



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