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6 Hacks That Make Google Drive the Best Tool for Writers in 2018

The working life of a freelance writer can be tough. The pros of working from home go hand-in-hand contrast with the long hours and a lack of resources...

6 Hacks That Make Google Drive the Best Tool for Writers in 2018

Anything to make freelance life easier is a blessing. That’s why Google Docs is becoming the go-to tool for writers, thanks to a growing number of extra features.

Add-ons and in-built tools are making short work of painstaking chores. These 6 Google Doc hacks for every freelance writer are some of our favorites. Introduce them to your working life and you could find life is much easier.

1. Color Coding

Freelance writers are in complete control of their lives. It’s one of the many benefits of flying solo. But there’s so much to keep track of.

You’ve got the content you created on Docs. The hours worked on Sheets. And a pitch or two on Slides. Most freelancers don’t have a personal assistant to organize their files for them.

But Google Drive is there to help.

Use the color coding tool to mark your content using one of the 24 options available.

Here’s how:

  1. Go to your Google Drive, then to My Drive

  2. If you haven’t already, create new folders and organize your files

  3. Next, right click on the folder you want to mark

  4. Then select Change Color and choose your marker

Now your files are in order, you can get back to what you do best: creating.

2. Conference calls with UberConference

One of the major benefits of Google Docs is the opportunity to collaborate. Two people can type on the same sheet, one in Australia, one in the States. The ramifications are enormous.

The world’s greatest scientists can work on the same thesis at the same time but from separate labs. Students can put together group projects with consummate ease.

Freelance writers can collaborate with publications all over the world in real-time. But what if you want to take that teamwork one step further?

UberConference provides free conference calls from within a doc.

Sounds great, right?

To add UberConference:

  1. Open the doc you want to work on

  2. Click Add-ons, then Get add-ons

  3. Search for UberConference and click the plus sign.

  4. Allow the app to access your account

  5. Finally, to launch UberConference, select the add-ons menu and click UberConference/Launch Sidebar

The free model allows you to invite up to ten people per call but you need a PIN to access the call. If you need more people, buy a business version for $15 per month. Your collaborators will not need a PIN with the paid version.

3. Templating

Successful freelance writers are always busy. They spend their whole day crafting perfect copy for demanding clients. The last thing they want to do is waste time formatting documents.

Google Docs has a large range of templates available for many different occasions. There are letters, project proposals, resumes, sales docs and more.

To use a template:

  1. Head to

  2. Choose the formatted document that works for you

  3. Start writing

It is as simple as that, and could save you hours.

4. Add Your Signature With PandaDoc

The joy of being able to work anywhere is what many freelance writers love about the job. If you want to pop into a coffee shop to work that’s fine. Heck, if you can work from your bed that’s fine too. But there are times when not working in an office can be a pain.

Adding your signature to a document — say a contract for a new job — can be difficult.

You need to print it out, sign it, scan it and email it back. But with Google Docs you don’t need to put yourself through that. The PandaDoc add-on comes with an eSignature tool, making document signing a breeze.

To add PandaDoc:

  1. Open a Google Doc and click Add-ons then Get add-ons

  2. Search for PandaDoc and install the free PandaDoc app

  3. Once installed, open the doc you want to sign.

  4. Go to add-ons, then PandaDoc, click Send via PandaDoc.

  5. You will then have the option to add your own signature. You can also add other signers or recipients.

  6. Once the document is ready to go, click the green Send button

5. Voice-controlled typing

Slogging away at a keyboard can be a chore for even the most seasoned writer. Why not mix things up with Google Docs’ Voice Typing feature?

The convenient tool converts your spoken word to text. You can add in punctuation by giving commands such as “comma” or “question mark”.

To use the Voice Typing feature:

  1. Go to Tools

  2. Select Voice typing

  3. Click the microphone and start speaking

Voice typing is also available on the Google Docs Mobile App. Create notes or even articles while traveling from meeting to meeting — a real bonus for a busy writer.

Warning: The tool doesn’t translate your spoken word to text perfectly at the moment. Make sure you double check everything you dictate.

6. Send a Fax with HelloFax

Companies still need to use fax machines (despite the proliferation of email). That’s bad news for the stay-at-home writer, because — let’s be honest — who has a spare fax machine lying about? Google Docs comes to the rescue again.

The HelloFax add-on is a simple way to send a fax from your Google Doc:

  1. Click Add-ons, then Get add-ons

  2. Search for and install HelloFax

  3. Next, open the document you want to send and open HelloFax

  4. Enter the fax number and click send

Users can also receive faxes straight to their computers. Documents come through as a PDF, which you can edit if needed (unlike traditional faxes).

There is a free version of the tool which lets you send five pages — it’s more of a trial.

The Home Office version costs $9.99 per month and allows you to send 300 pages per month. Annual pricing is available which will save you money in the long run.

Use this, and the other five hacks, to save time and money. With more hours to concentrate on your copy, you will see an improvement in your work/life balance.

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