Checking Document Information
Writing a document in a word processor like Word or Google Docs can become a tedious affair if you have to constantly check facts or find information. That means switching from the document to a browser to do a search again and again and again. It would be great if there was a way to do this from inside the document itself.
Google Docs Explore Pane
Well, in Google Docs you can do just that by using the Explore pane. To see it, open any Google Docs document and click on the “Tools” menu at the top of the page.
When you click on “Tools”, a drop-down menu will appear. In this menu, click on the line that reads “Explore”.
The Explore pane will open on the right-hand side of the page and look something like this.
Explore Pane Functionality
Searching in the Explore Pane
In the pane, you can use the search field to search the internet directly from a document.
No switching required between browser tabs or other applications! When you search for something, the explore pane will show matches for other pages on the internet, any matching images on the internet and even matches for other documents on your own Google Drive!
Adding Images from the Explore Pane
If you click on the images tab and see an image you want to add to your document, move your mouse over the image and click on the “+” icon that appears in the top right-hand corner of the image.
The image will be instantly added to your document. It’s so quick and easy!
If you want to keep any of the search results in your document, you can create a citation and footnote really easily from the Explore pane.
As an example, I have the words “Vitamin C” in a document, and I want to keep a record of the benefits of it for later reference. I have already performed a search in the Explore pane for “vitamin c” and have some useful results.
Next, I highlight the word in my document that I want to link the citation to.
Now, I move my mouse over the web article that I want to use for the citation and click on the quotation icon that appears.
The link will be added as a footnote in the document and a numeric link will be added to the word that I had highlighted.
All done in just one click!
The final bit of clever functionality in the Explore pane is the ability to do a quick dictionary search for a word in a Google Docs document. To do this, highlight a word in your document (in this case the word Fastidious)
And with the word highlighted, press Ctrl+Shift+Y on your keyboard. When you do this, a dictionary search for the highlighted word will be performed in the Explore pane and any results will be displayed.
Again, simple to use, really useful and you don’t have to go outside your Google Document to use it.