Google Docs finally gets custom styles

New! Custom styles

I opened Google Docs this morning to work on a client specification and I was delighted to see that they’ve finally implemented custom heading styles.

It’s relatively simple to use. You can style selected text in the way you like, and then go to the heading style you want to change, click the fly out arrow and select “Update heading x to match selection”.

There’s some more information on Google Docs help.

Here’s a sample screen shot showing some custom headings I’ve applied to a basic document.

You can also, via the options fly out menu, save your current settings as the default style on all your Google Docs documents.

This is a really important update as the lack of styles definition was one of the reasons I wouldn’t use Google Docs to create work documents – it’s so important to have consistent styling across your work files, and I wasn’t going to settle with redefining heading styles every time I worked on a document.

That said, it’s not perfect though – we’re still missing style rules for lists, and there’s only 3 heading rules available (although I guess you could say that ‘Title” and “Subtitle” make up for this and really give you 5 heading styles). Also, the choice of available fonts is still somewhat limited, but the real-time collaborative editing functionality makes up for this in many ways.

I would be interested to see how these headings translate into PDF bookmarks for proper document structuring.