Google Docs is an extremely powerful tool for many tasks, although it is sorely misunderstood and underhyped. Google Docs is free and works on Android, Chromebooks, iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and Windows. Google Docs works in the cloud, but supports offline use with select browsers, including Chrome. In my ebook Chromebooks for Bilingual Writers (now available in Castilian, English and French), I explain how to use Google Docs for book manuscripts, including many hidden and unpublished features. Today, in this short article accompanied by two videos, I’m going to demonstrate how great Google Docs is for creating articles – complete with tables/comparison tables – to paste into WordPress posts or pages. As I’ll expand on later, Google Docs is extremely powerful whether or not you have access to the now-standard Gutenberg block editor (added to WordPress in 2018)… or if your circumstances limit you to using the editor. Classic WordPress. The classic editor is less powerful than Gutenberg when pasting from Google Docs (but still quite interesting), as I’ll demonstrate ahead of time in a comparison chart (table) created in (you have it guessed) Google Docs and in two short accompanying videos.
In this article
- Recent discovery
- Unique features in Google Docs
- Behavior after pasting a full table or article from Google Docs into WordPress
- Video 1, after pasting in the classic editor
- Video 2, after pasting in Gutenberg block editor
- Admins can provide optional Gutenberg access to writers with a single click
- The moral of the story
Before I found out how well tables (comparison tables) stick in WordPress (even with the classic editor), I used to create comparison tables in another tool, convert them to an image, then import this image into WordPress as if it were photos. I knew it was bad for SEO and not ideal for mobile readers, but it was the only way I knew to get comparison tables in my WordPress posts (without additional plugins), until recently. Now, since several articles that I have published here in ProVideo Coalition, I created almost the entire piece in Google Docs, except for inserting images and audio files. (Automatic insertion of images would require access to the Gutenberg block editor.) By creating the text, links, and even tables (comparison tables) in Google Docs, I save time and the tables are now SEO-friendly.
Unique features in Google Docs
- Google Docs runs in the cloud, so you always have the latest version on all your computers, tablets and smartphones, wherever you go. Therefore, you can continue working on an article on all your devices, wherever you are, without even thinking about having to move the file between devices.
- Unlike the more limited Microsoft Word in the browserGoogle Docs indeed supports offline mode with some browsers (including Chrome) and syncs automatically later once you get an internet connection.
- Google Docs is the king of collaboration, to get other people’s input or approval, without 80,008 different versions of Word documents filling up everyone’s hard drive for no reason, wasting space, bandwidth and cause confusion. You can give collaborators full editing access (great for co-authored projects), commenting access (my favorite for most projects authored by me), or read-only access.
- The auto-authoring and clickable outline feature on the left side of the screen (shown above, left) makes Google Docs much more than a word processor: Google Docs is truly a studio for writers , almost as powerful as Odysseus. (Ulysses is wonderful, but currently limited to macOS, iPadOS, and iOS. Also, the Ulysses WordPress integration requires special permission in the WordPress install at first, so it might not be an option if you are not the administrator. On the other hand, using Google Docs (the copy-paste method described in this article does not require any special permissions or the addition of plugins in WordPress).
- WordPress works great with the free and open source Chrome extension called read aloud, which lets you audibly proofread using text-to-speech technology with voices for different languages. The free Read Aloud extension is also available for Microsoft Edge and for firefoxalthough I have not tested these versions.
- The wonderful new pageless layout (added in 2022) makes Google Docs even better at writing something that won’t immediately (or maybe never) get printed on paper – and even better at creating posts to paste into WordPress than never before.
Behavior after pasting a full table or article from Google Docs into WordPress
|Preserves formatted text, i.e. numbered lists, ordered lists, bold, italics||Yes||Yes|
|Keep headers as expected (i.e. H1, H2, H3)||Yes||Yes|
|Maintain human ties||Yes||Yes|
|Keep comparison charts/tables (like this one)||Yes,
but you have to apply any centering manually.
but you have to apply any centering manually.
|Automatically and alternately changes the background color of each row of comparative tables/graphs to make them more attractive and readable.||Unfortunately no.
That’s why you see this one with consistent background color
In each row is this full table/comparison chart. It’s still very good, but not ideal.
Requires manual download or each after pasting the rest of the article.
Requires clicking on each image (see video) after pasting
Upload external image
automatically migrate each image to the blog server
|Requires removing extra blank lines (between paragraphs) after pasting||Unfortunately,
Above you see how a table/comparison table created in Google Docs appears in a blog post in WordPress using the classic editor. In the first video below, you’ll see the extra steps needed after pasting in the classic editor.
If you Click hereyou will see how a table from Google Docs can appear in a whole page created using the Gutenburg block editor, in the table I have on my TecnoTur site that compares three accommodation options. You will see that when pasted into the Gutenberg block editor, it automatically and alternately changes the background color of each row of tables/comparison tables to make them more attractive and readable.
Video 1, after pasting in the classic editor
Although it lacks the three benefits of the Gutenberg block editor, at least with the classic editor, I can get the article text (including bold, italics, and links) and tables/ Comparison tables as SEO-optimized text, not as a chart. After pasting, I need to remove the extra spaces between paragraphs, which were added by the classic editor.
Video 2, after pasting in Gutenberg block editor
The video above demonstrates two of the three benefits of pasting the Google Docs article into the Gutenburg block editor (if available):
- The images are already visible. I just had to click the button where the help text says Upload external image. WordPress then imports the image from Google Docs to the blog’s own server and automatically links it to the post.
- There are no extra blank lines to remove between paragraphs.
I did not publish the article on this site. I only pasted it there as a draft in order to make this video. I then deleted the post without posting it.
The other advantage – that the Gutenberg block editor automatically and alternately changes the background color of each row of comparison tables/graphs to make them more attractive and readable – is visible here.
Admins can provide optional Gutenberg access to writers with a single click
The classic editor isn’t even included in WordPress anymore, but can still be added using a free plugin called Classic Editor, as is currently the case in ProVideo Coalition and in some of my own and client podcast websites, including CapicuaFM, Beyond the Podcast and speak spanish. As long as the Classic Editor plugin is still supported by WordPress and some people prefer to use the classic editor, it’s good that it exists – and even coexists – with the Gutenberg block editor.
By clicking a single checkbox in the Classic Editor plugin settings as shown in the screenshot below, the WordPress admin can allow editors to use That is the classic editor Where the Gutenberg block editor, for each post. Notice the green arrow in the image below.
After selecting Yes there, users then have the choice between the block editor or the classic editor. Of course, enabling this option does not affect posts that have been posted previously.
The moral of the story
If you are a contributor on a website where you are not the admin and currently have access to the classic WordPress editor onlykindly ask your administrator:
Please click Yes in the plugin settings of the classic editor for Allow users to switch publishers. Thank you in advance.
(Re-)Subscribe to upcoming articles, reviews, radio shows, books, and seminars/webinars
Get ready for upcoming articles, reviews, books and courses by subscribing to my newsletters.
Most of my current books can be found at books.AllanTepper.com, as well as AllanTepper.com and radio.AllanTepper.com.
There is no business relationship between Google or Automattic (creator of WordPress) and Allan Tepper or TecnoTur LLC, except that Allan Tepper and TecnoTur LLC are a paying customer of Google and have paid Automattic for certain premium services , namely VimeoPress. So far, none of the companies listed above are/sponsor the TecnoTur, Beyond the Podcast, CapicuaFM Where TuSaludSecreta programs, although they are invited to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Certain third-party links listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC through affiliate programs. Allan Tepper’s opinions are his own. Allan Tepper is not responsible for the misuse or misunderstanding of the information he shares.