Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Tips & Tricks: Our favorite shade of beige, the ruler

Here's another sign that Google are improving their Docs product gradually and relentlessly. How long before it matches MS Office feature for feature?

Tips & Tricks: Our favorite shade of beige, the ruler: "Recently, we launched a rebuilt document editor from the ground up. Just like some colors stand out more than others, there are some features in the new editor that are particularly shiny. While features like real-time collaboration, more fonts, and an advanced revision history tool are like neon green, crimson red, and ultramarine, the ruler tends to be viewed more like a beige.

But the ruler, like beige, can certainly have its charms. You can use the ruler to position your text anywhere on the page. And that makes it a powerful tool.

There are a number of blue shapes on the ruler -- these affect the positioning of each paragraph, and are either indents or tab stops.

All paragraphs have three indents: the first line indent,the left indent, and the right indent.

Dragging the first line indent adjusts the left padding of the first line of a paragraph, while the left indent adjusts all subsequent lines of a paragraph. If you drag the left indent along the ruler, the first line indent will follow it. The right indent adjusts how far a paragraph extends toward the right side of the page.

Tab stops

Sometimes you need to control the display of your text with more granularity than what you can accomplish with just indents. That’s where tab stops come in handy.

With tab stops, you can align text relative to a specific spot on the ruler. So that means that a left tab stop will left align text to a position on the ruler, a right tab stop will right align text to a spot on the ruler, while a center tab stop will center-align the text.

To move between tab stops, you can press the tab key, and subsequent text will align with the tab stop. You can add multiple tab stops by clicking on a spot on the ruler and selecting the appropriate tab stop.

You can move the position of a tab stop by dragging it around the ruler. And to remove a tab stop, simply drag it off the ruler.


Tab stops and indents are great for adjusting individual paragraphs, but sometimes you want to change alignment for an entire document. For that, you can use margins.

You can adjust the left and right margins by dragging the gray space on either side of the ruler.

You can also adjust the left and right margins, as well as the top and bottom margins of your document from File -> Page setup.

Once you get going, like with beige, it’s a bit surprising all of the things you can do with the trusty ruler.

Posted by: Luiz Pereira, Software Engineer

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