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.

Google Docs Tools menu highlighted.

When you click on “Tools”, a drop-down menu will appear. In this menu, click on the line that reads “Explore”.

Tools Explore drop down menu item highlighted in Google Docs.

The Explore pane will open on the right-hand side of the page and look something like this.

The Explore pane highlighted in Google Docs.

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.

The search bar highlighted in the Explore pane.

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!

The results tabs highlighted in the Explore pane.

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 add icon highlighted for adding a search image from the Explore pane to a Google doc.

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.

Explore pane search results for vitamin c.

Next, I highlight the word in my document that I want to link the citation to.

The words vitamin c highlighted in a Google doc.

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 add quotation icon highlighted in the Explore pane in Google Docs.

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.

Highlighted details of a citation added from the Explore pane to a Google doc.

All done in just one click!

Dictionary Search

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)

The highlighted word fastidious in a Google doc.

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.

Dictionary search results for the word fastidious in the Explore pane.

Again, simple to use, really useful and you don’t have to go outside your Google Document to use it.

8 Simple steps to working safely and smartly at home!

8 Simple steps to working safely and smartly at home!

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