August 28, 2014, 10:10 AM — Google Drive apps are loved for their simplicity and ease of use, but don't let that fool you. There's a whole lot of power locked up in these web apps. And while we'd never put the suite on a par with Microsoft Office, there are some impressive features in Docs, Sheets, and Slides that you've likely overlooked.
We've highlighted some of the newest features and hidden gems that can help save you time and anguish and create documents that are sure to impress your professors, colleagues, and most importantly, your boss.
Docs has research power
In our mostly paperless world text is interactive, and readers often expect links to connect to related articles. Citing your sources correctly in an article or academic paper is imperative to provide a research trail and give credit to the authors whose work you reference. Google Docs has a couple of tools to simplify this otherwise cumbersome task.
The Research Tool adds a quick citation system on top of Google's search prowess. To launch the Research tool, click Tools > Research. You can also use keyboard shortcuts: Ctrl--Shift-l on a Mac and Ctrl-Alt-Shift-I on a PC.
The tool is blank when first opened, but it will begin to auto-suggest research topics based on what you write.
The tool has seven search options: Everything (which conducts a Google search), Images, Scholar (which filters by academic resources), Quotes, Dictionary, Personal, and Tables.
To search, click inside the box, select your search option and start typing. When you hover over a selection, you'll see three choices: preview, cite, and link. The cite feature can make inserting MLA, APA, or Chicago style reference citations a walk in the park. Select the style of citation and Docs will insert a superscript numeral and add the note to the bottom of the page. (You'll get the most accurate preview if you do this in Print layout.)
This feature doesn't replace a proper "Works Cited" section required of most papers, but it will give you the content in the right format and make the in-text citation process significantly smoother.
Power Linking is even faster than using the Research Tool if you need to add a lot of links to an article or other document. To use it, highlight the target text and click Control-K or -K. The search menu will then auto-suggest a link. If one of the suggestions is what you are looking for, just click it, select Insert and you're done. If your initial search doesn't yield what you need, change the text in the search box to more specifically match your target.
Conquer surveys and data with Sheets